Preview: Adelaide United v North Queensland Fury
Can North Queensland Fury get themselves off the bottom of the table against second placed Adelaide
Adelaide United v North Queensland Fury Friday 21st January 7:30pm
Back with a bang! Having banished the Melbourne hoodoo, can United maintain their push for second spot? Grab a ticket and find out!
What a way to bounce back! After a bitterly disappointing defeat to Brisbane that more or less handed their title rivals the Premier-s Plate, many pundits might have expected Adelaide United-s season to drastically unravel, especially considering the fact that their very next game was a trip to Melbourne against a side they had lost to ten times in a row. So to go to AAMI Park and put in the performance they did will have the whole of Adelaide buzzing with optimism as the Grand Finals approach.
The win was The Reds- first success over Victory since October 2007 and their first win over their bitter rivals in Melbourne in four-and-a-half years, but it wasn-t just the fact that they broke this hoodoo that had fans going wild, but also the brilliance of the display.
The 4-1 scoreline was well deserved, and included a brace from goal-machine Sergio van Dijk including an unbelievable 30-yard free-kick that seemed to bend in about three different directions before flying into the top corner.
So, fresh from a weekend off, it is back to Hindmarsh Stadium and a bid for back-to-back wins for - remarkably - only the second time since September. If their incredible fan-base can show the same levels of support that the did the last time they played at home, then there is every likelihood they-ll come away with three points.
While the massive top-of-the-ladder clash against Brisbane ultimately ended in disappointment, the players couldn-t have asked for a more intense and inspiring atmosphere from their 14,000 fans. A similar display of noise this Friday will help the Reds overcome a team that has struggled all season.
With just a few games remaining in the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season, North Queensland Fury find themselves planted at the bottom of the ladder with their future still uncertain and having last week suffered a 4-0 trouncing at the hands of their state rivals, Gold Coast United.
With coach Franz Straka missing Ufuk Talay and David Williams, his team was brushed aside by a Gold Coast side that were revitalised by the goalscoring return of Shane Smeltz. Perhaps the only positive to come from the game for Fury was that Lorenzo Sipi played his first full 90 minutes for the Greens. The injury list has since grown further with Gareth Edds set to miss the match on Friday due to tendonitis of his right ankle.
Adelaide will be buoyed by the possible inclusion of Germany-bound Matthew Leckie, who has declared himself ready for selection. If he gets the nod, it will be his first match in four months.
Meanwhile, as well as pushing for trophies this season, boss Rini Coolen is clearly already thinking about building the squad for next time round, with Gold Coast midfielder Zenon Caravella joining next season after signing a two-year contract and utility player Cameron Watson also securing a new two year deal. While Fury-s Osama Malik has joined The Reds with immediate effect, he won-t feature against his old club on Friday.
With Central Coast Mariners having leapfrogged United into second place, three points are absolutely vital for Rini Coolen-s men if they are to secure a top-two spot at the end of the Hyundai A-League season and set up an explosive Grand Finals match-up with Brisbane. So get along to this Friday night belter at Hindmarsh and show United that you are with them all the way in their bid for silverware. The excitement is reaching fever pitch - be a part of it!
Adelaide United FC together with the Adelaide Produce Markets and the South Australian produce industry will dedicate the Reds- match against North Queensland Fury at Hindmarsh Stadium to the victims of the Queensland floods.
The game will kick off the Hyundai A-League-s ‘Flood Relief Round-, which will see all matches played this weekend aim to raise funds for the Premier-s Disaster Relief Appeal.
Patrons at Friday night-s game will be able to donate at the stadium on the night, while there will also be a special half time event in which three lucky fans will be given the chance to go head-to-head with one of Adelaide United-s goalkeepers in a charity penalty shootout.