"I think he'll go close": Corica reveals injured Sydney star could miss title decider

Sydney FC head coach Steve Corica says Miloš Ninković is in a race against time to return to fitness as his side take a shot at securing a third-consecutive A-League Championship on Saturday, June 26.

Ninkovic was a surprise omission from the Sydney side which registered a 2-1 Semi Final win over Adelaide United at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium. The Serbian missed the crucial clash with a calf injury, which Corica believes will hamper his star man as as preparations begin for Sydney's fourth A-League Grand Final in the past five seasons.

But after the sublime performance of Alexander Baumjohann, who came into the side in place of Ninković, Corica says rushing the creative midfielder back into the side may not be necessary when the big occasion comes around on Saturday night.

"I think he’ll go close," Corica conceded on FOX Sports when assessing the severity of the injury to Ninković.

"He was touch-and-go for this game, I’m hoping that by next week he should be okay.

"Whether he starts now after that performance from the boys I’m not sure, I might put him on the bench."

MATCH REPORT: Sky Blues hold off relentless Reds to set sights on historic three-peat
SEMI FINAL PREVIEW: Melbourne City v Macarthur FC

A-League 2021 Finals Series

As Ninković sat out the Semi Final clash Baumjohann helped the Sydney frontline click into gear, providing the incisive touch in and around the box to help get the hosts on top. Two mesmerising through balls behind Adelaide's defence in the second half highlighted his display which included a 100% passing accuracy inside the final third. 

Whether or not the German remains in his starting lineup for the Grand Final will be a question weighing on the mind of Corica all week as Ninković continues his fight to return to fitness. It's a decision which the Sky Blues boss will make in due time - and he'll be eager to get it right as he pursues a third-successive A-League Championship in just his third campaign as head coach. 

It's an achievement FOX Sports analyst Mark Bosnich was eager to commend in his post-match assessment of Sydney's 2-1 win over the Reds. 

"What an achievement for that man Steve Corica," Bosnich said.

"He took over this team coming off the back of a very successful run, and it’s always very difficult.

"But the last three years he’s finished first, second and second in the regular season, and now his third Grand Final on the trot.

What a manager, what a team, and what a club. Congratulations to them."

Bobô gets the crowd on their feet at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium as he helps guide the Sky Blues to the Grand FInal
Bobô gets the crowd on their feet at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium as he helps guide the Sky Blues to the Grand FInal

"Their record over the last three years has been absolutely outstanding," Bosnich continued.

"They’ve gone up to a different level.

"They will know the big one is next week. but they’re also experienced enough to know you’ve got to enjoy these wins. Yeah, they can start thinking about that come Monday, but it’s very, very important to enjoy themselves in front of these fantastic fans.

"You saw the conditions, everyone saw the conditions… but for them to come out in not-good spectating conditions and support the team like they did, that last five minutes they really willed that team on to a victory."

Sydney will face the winner of Sunday afternoon's second Semi Final between Melbourne City and Macarthur FC as Corica looks to guide his side to an unprecedented third-consecutive A-League Championship.  

Next Match - Semi Finals

Melbourne City v Macarthur FC
Sunday, June 20 2021
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick-off: 4.05pm AEST
Broadcast: FOX Sports 505
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