Time is running out for Sydney FC to make their charge for the finals with Frank Farina labelling the club's next two games as decisive for their season.
Date: Sunday, January 13, 2013 Kick-off: 5pm AEDT Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1HD and Sky Sports 3.
ABC Radio Coverage - Updates only
Head-to-head: Played 7: Wins: Sydney FC 0, Melbourne Heart 2, Draws: 5
Previous encounter: Sydney FC 0-0 Melbourne Heart, December 2, 2012
Form: Past five matches: Sydney FC: LLWLD Heart: LLLWW
The Game: Time is running out for Sydney FC to make their charge for the finals with coach Frank Farina labelling the club's next two games - both at home - as decisive for their season.
The Sky Blues may be back on the bottom of the A-League ladder but showed tremendous fight last weekend to come from behind twice to snatch a draw with the Perth Glory.
Farina will be hopeful injured defensive trio Pascal Bosschaart, Adam Griffiths and Fabio are available again after missing the club's recent matches. Fabio and attacker Yairo Yau have trained strongly this week and are considered the best hopes to return.
The Heart moved back into the top six with last weekend's thrilling 3-2 win over champions Brisbane and have a great opportunity to further boost their finals chances against struggling Sydney. Winger David Williams is unavailable for the Heart after he was sent off against the Roar.
These sides played out a 0-0 draw when they met earlier this season in what was Farina's first match in charge of the Sky Blues.
The Big Issue Sydney FC: Sydney's defensive issues seemed to have resurfaced in recent weeks but their big problem this week is their shocking record against the Heart. The Sky Blues have yet to beat the newest Melbourne franchise in two-and-a-half seasons and have failed to even score a goal in the last two clashes between the sides in the harbour city.
Melbourne Heart:They managed to get away with it last week but John Aloisi's side have made a habit of throwing away good leads this season. The Heart led Wellington 2-0 a few weeks back only to lose 3-2 and they had a similar lead against the Jets only to finish with a 3-3 draw.
Those five points dropped could prove costly come the end of the season and they'll need to learn how to hold onto leads if they are to challenge for the title.
The Gamebreaker Alessandro Del Piero: The Italian's goals may have dried up a bit in recent weeks but there's still no doubting his importance to the Sky Blues. Del Piero is still being hampered by his hamstring troubles but it didn't stop him playing a vital role in both goals against the Glory last weekend. If Sydney are to make a charge up the table, then 38-year-old will need to stay fit and in form.
Prediction: Sydney 2-1 Heart If Sydney are to stay alive for the finals then they must win this game. The Sky Blues are currently four points behind the sixth-placed Heart and defeat against Aloisi's side might just have them looking towards next season already. With that in mind Sydney's desperation - and the class of Del Piero - might just see the Sky Blues edge this one and end their Heart hoodoo.