Preview: Sydney FC v Adelaide United
This match promises to be a cracker as the third-placed Adelaide travel to the second-placed Sydney.
Date: Saturday September 20 Kick-off (local time): 5:00pm AEST Venue: Sydney Football Stadium TV and Radio: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 2 and Sky Sports 3. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is FRESH FM (Adelaide). To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au
Head-to-head 11 A-League matches: Sydney - 6 wins, Adelaide United - 3 wins, Draws - 2
Previous meeting Adelaide United 1 Sydney FC 3, Hindmarsh stadium, Round 18, December 2007
Results so far Sydney: Round 1: Sydney FC 0. Melbourne Victory 0, Sydney Football Stadium, Round 2: Central Coast Mariners 2, Sydney FC 3, Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium Round 3: Sydney FC 5, Perth Glory 2, Sydney Football Stadium Round 4: Newcastle Jets 0, Sydney FC 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium
Adelaide: Round 1: Adelaide United 1 Perth Glory 0, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 2: Queensland Roar 1, Adelaide United 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 3: Adelaide United 3, Wellington Phoenix 0, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 4: Melbourne Victory 1, Adelaide United 0, Telstra Dome
Analysis Sydney comes into this match with plenty of confidence having secured two wins and two draws in the first four matches. While last week's draw with Newcastle wasn't the best performance the Sky Blues have put in, they still managed to get a point despite having Mitch Prentice sent off.
Sydney's defence is playing some very good football at the moment having conceded just four goals in as many games, including two in one match against Central Coast. Tony Popovic is getting better with every week after coming off an interrupted pre-season.
Sydney's games seem to be either feasts or famines with two 0-0 draws separated by wins which featured five and seven goals respectively. In their past eight games Sydney has had five draws, four of which have been scoreless.
To be fair, John Aloisi had an interrupted start to the year and is only now starting to find his form while Mark Bridge is only getting back in the swing after his Olympics duties. Nikolas Tsattalios and Dez Giraldi come in for Prentice, who serves his week ban for his send off against the Jets.
Adelaide has endured a less than ideal preparation for this match having travelled to Japan and back since its 1-0 loss to a 10-man Melbourne side last week. The draw against Kashima in the first leg of their ACL quarter final was a great boost, but having to back up again within three days will be a big ask.
Hence Aurelio Vidmar has named a massive squad of 20 with a view to assessing his players' condition on game day. Named as inclusions are Cassio and Kristian Sarkies, who are both back from injury, as well as Jason Spagnuolo, Robert Younis and Michael Valkanis. There are no outs, while Alemao remains sidelined.
The defeat to Melbourne was Adelaide's first in 13 matches and hit the players hard. They admitted afterwards they were flat and missed too many easy shots against a side which was down to 10-men for over an hour. It was very unlike Adelaide to play that way, and it was not surprising to see the Reds bounce back against Kashima on Wednesday.
But there are sure to be some weary legs and the fact that Adelaide has won just one game in six at the SFS does not bode well for the visitors. On the flip side, the Reds did get a win and a draw there last season.
Sydney FC Squad. 1.Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Iain FYFE, 3. Nikolas TSATTALIOS, 6. Tony POPOVIC (C), 7. Rob MIDDLEBY, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 10. Steve CORICA, 11. Brendon SANTALAB, 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 23. John ALOISI, 26. Dez GIRALDI, 27. Matthew JURMAN. *One to be omitted.
In. Nikolas Tsattalios (promoted), Dez Giraldi (promoted). Out. Mitchell Prentice (suspended - 1 week). Unavailable. Adam Casey (groin - 1 week), Simon Colosimon (groin - 11 weeks), Mike Enfield (knee - 2 weeks), Jacob Timpano (ankle - 4 weeks).
Adelaide United Squad. 20.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 4.Angelo COSTANZO, 5.Michael VALKANIS, 6.CASSIO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 8.Kristian SARKIES, 9.Paul AGOSTINO, 10.CRISTIANO, 13.Travis DODD (capt.), 14.Scott JAMIESON, 15.Jonas SALLEY, 16.Daniel MULLEN, 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 19.Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 21.Jason SPAGNUOLO, 22.DIEGO, 24.Paul REID, 25.Robert YOUNIS, 30.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk). * five to be omitted.
In. CASSIO (returns from injury), Kristian SARKIES (returns from injury), Jason SPAGNUOLO (promoted), Robert YOUNIS (promoted), Michael VALKANIS (promoted). Out. Nil Unavailable. ALEMAO (groin - 1 week), Daniel BELTRAME (knee - season), Isyan ERDOGAN (hamstring - indefinite).