‘A chance to make history’ – Sydney FC embracing weight of expectation says Caceres
The opportunity to cement their names into Hyundai A-League legend is driving Sydney FC ahead of Sunday’s Grand Final, according to Sky Blues attacker Anthony Caceres.
The newly-crowned Premiers will meet second seeds Melbourne City at Bankwest Stadium, kick-off 6.30pm AEST, knowing they can etch their names into the history books as the first ever five-time Champions as the competition concludes its 15th season.
The Sky Blues have the chance to become only the second team to successfully defend a Championship and a victory on Sunday will make Steve Corica the first coach to lift back-to-back championships in his first two years in the competition.
And the 27-year-old, Caceres, admits the Harbour City outfit are fully aware of pressure to deliver when they arrive in the city’s western suburb of Parramatta on Sunday.
“We’re aware of the expectations that are placed on us at all times and that’s to win everything,” Caceras said.
“We find ourselves again in a Grand Final and that was a goal of ours to begin with. We’ll carry on as normal. It’s another game at the end of the day.
“We understand the importance of it and we’re in with a chance to make history. We’ll be ready no doubt.”
Caceres has started 15 of the Sky Blues fixtures this season, while making 11 substitute appearances, and the former Melbourne City ace got the nod to play from the beginning of Wednesday’s 2-0 Semi-Final triumph against Perth Glory.
Sydney FC’s marquee star Alexander Baumjohann was the man to miss out, the German coming off the bench in the 77th minute to help close the game out, leaving coach Corica with a selection headache ahead of Sunday’s showpiece game.
“I’ve played my part but it’s easy when you’re part of a good team I suppose,” said Caceres.
“Competition for places are high and you’ve got to make sure you’re always performing. That drives the standard a bit.”
Sydney FC centre-back Ryan McGowan made his Hyundai A-League debut at the start of the campaign and is preparing for a maiden Grand Final following a career playing in the United Kingdom and China.
After not missing a minute of Sydney’s 27 matches in 2019/20, the 31-year-old is determined to add a Hyundai A-League Championship to the Scottish Cup and Chinese Cup medals in his collection.
“It’s one of reasons I joined the club, knowing the success they’ve had of recent time and playing in all of the big games, the Sydney Derbies, the Big Blues,” McGowan added.
“That was one of the big selling points for me coming back. Just thankfully the season has worked out how I hoped and hopefully we can finish off with a win on Sunday.”
After spending more than six weeks in an isolation bubble, away from family and friends, McGowan admits lifting the Championship trophy will be the perfect conclusion to a disrupted campaign – and hailed the rest of the league’s players and clubs for making it all possible.
“I don’t know if it’ll make up for the time lost but it will definitely go a little way in having something to show for the sacrifices we have made,” said McGowan.
“It’s not just myself, it’s pretty much the whole league. Everyone having to come to Sydney and be away from their families as well.
“Even the Brisbane boys have to go back and do the quarantine. Us, as a club, we’re thankful for everyone, all of the other players.
“I think the players have really stuck together in terms of understanding what each and every one of us has to go through.
“Hopefully we can we put on a good show on Sunday and, for our sake, win the game.”
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Hyundai A-League Grand Final 2020
Sydney FC v Melbourne City
When: Sunday, August 30
Kick-off: 6.30pm AEST
Venue: Bankwest Stadium
Broadcast: ABC ME delayed at 8.25pm, FOX Sports 507
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports, ABC iView