The Premiers enter the Hyundai A-League Finals Series as everyone’s favourite to be crowned champions. Can Glory cause another upset and halt the Sky Blue juggernaut in its tracks?
Hyundai A-League 2017 Finals Series – Week 2 – Ins and Outs
Hyundai A-League 2017 Semi Final 1
Sydney FC v Perth Glory
Saturday, 29 April 2017
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-Off: 7:50pm (AEST)
Referee: Peter Green
Assistant Referee 1: Nathan MacDonald
Assistant Referee 2: Owen Goldrick
Fourth Official: Kurt Ams
Video Assistant Referee: Strebre Delovski
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.00pm (AEST). Delayed coverage on SBS VICELAND from 8.30pm (AEST) and Sky Sport Pop-Up (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC Digital Extra, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #ALFinals
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Sydney FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Jordy BUIJS, 6.Joshua BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.BOBÔ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI, 12.Aaron CALVER, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 17.David CARNEY, 18.Matt SIMON, 19.George BLACKWOOD, 20.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 23.Rhyan GRANT
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 12.Aaron CALVER (promoted), 19.George BLACKWOOD (promoted)
Perth Glory squad: 3.Marc WARREN, 5.Rhys WILLIAMS, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 8.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (c), 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebo MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 13.Nick FEELY (gk), 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Joe MILLS, 17.Diego CASTRO, 18.Mitch OXBORROW, 19.Josh RISDON, 22.Adam TAGGART, 26.Lucian GOIAN, 33.Liam REDDY (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 16.Joe MILLS, 18.Mitch OXBORROW
Unavailable: 2.Alex GRANT (foot – season), 4.Shane LOWRY (quad – season)
After an all-conquering, record-breaking season, most expect Sydney FC to continue their inexorable march to the Hyundai A-League championship.
This season, they accumulated more wins and points than any previous side and conceded fewer goals and kept more clean sheets than anyone that has come before.
They secured the Premiers Plate well before the end of the season, eventually opening up a 17-point chasm back to second place.
And they’ll certainly go into the semi final as warm favourites.
But no-one really expected Perth Glory to beat Melbourne City last weekend.
And yet they were worthy winners of their elimination final and are full of confidence as they seek to claim the biggest scalp of all.
They have momentum, unity and in Kenny Lowe, a coach who is looking more like a master motivator and tactician every week.
However, beating an out-of-sorts City is one thing; overcoming the side many are calling the best in the 12-year history of the Hyundai A-League is entirely another.
Sydney FC have comfortably won the three clashes between the two this season, scoring 11 goals in the process.
They’re odds-on to ease into the Grand Final.
But all bets are off comes finals time.
– Sydney FC have won their last four games against Glory, scoring 15 goals and conceding just two in the process.
– Perth have won just two of their last 10 games at Allianz Stadium.
– Sydney FC have never lost a finals game at Allianz Stadium (W4, D3), and have scored four goals in each of their last two such fixtures.
– Off the back of their 2-0 win against Melbourne City, Glory will be looking to win consecutive away games for the first time since Round 25 last season.
– Sydney FC fullback Michael Zullo needs just two more crosses to become the second player to contribute 100 open-play crosses this season (Ivan Franjic 103).
ROUTE TO GOAL
From the moment they put four goals past the Wanderers on the opening weekend, the Sky Blues have been the Hyundai A-League’s most prolific side.
They averaged better than two goals per game across their entire campaign.
Brazilian Bobo scored his debut goal in the derby and was consistent all season, netting 15 times.
Skipper Alex Brosque rolled back the years and enjoyed a superb goal-scoring season in the Hyundai A-League with 11.
And Slovakian striker Filip Holosko chipped in with seven goals.
The supply line to that trio came largely from the favourite for this season’s Johnny Warren Medal, Milos Ninkovic.
The Serbian playmaker has been simply sublime, contributing ten assists as well as nine goals of his own.
But Glory are no attacking slouches.
They’ve now scored the same number of goals as Sydney FC this season, albeit in one more game.
They are also the only side to have three goalscorers in double-figures.
Diego Castro has 13 with Andy Keogh and Adam Taggart both netting a dozen.
The Spanish maestro has also provided seven assists and most of Glory’s best attacking moments have him at their heart.
If Sydney can contain Castro, they’ll go a long way towards blunting Glory.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE NEWS THIS WEEK?
Glory defender Dino Djulbic was nothing short of Herculean in a man-of-the-match performance against Melbourne City, repelling their various attacking threats in a typically wholehearted performance.
FORM LINES (last five games)
Sydney FC: WWWDW
Perth Glory: LDWWW
Sydney FC 3 Perth Glory 1