Wellington's Paul Ifill believes restricting the supply to Sydney striker Bruno Cazarine may be the key to taking down the Sky Blues in Friday's elimination final.
Bruno Cazarine may have been the man scoring Sydney's goals against Wellington Phoenix this year but it's the men supplying him that Paul Ifill says his team must stop if they are to progress beyond Friday's night's A-League elimination final.
While Sydney have lost all three matches against the Phoenix this year, Brazilian striker Cazarine has found the target in the two games played at Westpac Stadium. His overall record against the Phoenix is three goals in five matches.
But Ifill believes shutting down the resurgent Nicky Carle and Brett Emerton, who were impressive in the 3-2 win over Newcastle Jets that saw Sydney squeak into the play-offs - will be the most important task on Friday.
"They are two players that you have to stop. You have to stop the supply into Cazarine," said the Englishman.
"He's excellent in the air. He's not going to hurt you in behind with his pace or anything. If you can stop the crosses it stops a lot of their good play."
The Phoenix head into Friday's elimination final on the back of successive losses to Melbourne Victory and Central Coast Mariners.
But with a perfect record against the Sky Blues this year it is understandable Ifill and his team-mates are feeling confident.
"We've played them three times and we've beaten them three times. We've nothing really to fear," he said.
"We know what they are about and they know what we're about. I think the best team on the day will go through."
Ifill has also scored in each of those wins, the latest success a rare header which saw the Phoenix snatch a 1-0 victory against the run of play at Sydney Football Stadium last month.
"Sometimes forwards have those sort of runs against teams," said Ifill. "It might well stop on Friday or it might well continue."
"I hope it does and it's four in four or five in four or whatever and it gets us through."
"For me it's more of a team thing. I don't care who scores the goals this week as long as we get through."
Wellington and Sydney last met in the play-offs two years ago in the preliminary final where Chris Payne was awarded a controversial goal despite it being a clear handball. Sydney went on to win the match 4-2.
But Ifill does not harbour any grudges. "It's different players. Different time. I still don't believe we were good enough on the day regardless of the handball," he said.
That year Sydney had beaten the Phoenix three times in the lead-up and were favourites.
"But we went over there and I felt we gave it a decent shake. I don't think we were quite good enough on the day but we still went into it confident."
"I'm sure they will come here on the back of a decent run feeling they can turn us over."
"Their away record is actually better than their home record so they will probably be looking forward to it."