Six FFA Cup Final X-factors
The final major domestic trophy of the calendar year goes on the line Tuesday night at Allianz when the Sky Blues – currently top of the Hyundai A-League – meet a battle-hardened foe in Adelaide United.
Who’ll make himself a Cup Final hero on Tuesday night? Here are six game-changers who have that touch of excitement about them.
RYAN KITTO (ADELAIDE UNITED)
Impact player of the season so far?
The Adelaide-born winger is certainly stating his case after his late winner last Thursday and a last-gasp goal in Brisbane earlier in the season.
There’s so much to like about the former Jet, who returned to the Reds and clearly has impressed Marco Kurz with his pace, power and eye for goal.
DANIEL ADLUNG (ADELAIDE UNITED)
With Johan Absalonsen missing, the German 30-year-old has stepped up and filled the breach beautifully.
His smashing goal against the Mariners few days ago, just reward for a fabulous season so far.
And who could forget his semi final rocket against Wanderers?
The former 1860 Munich favourite looms as one of a number of X-factor players in the Reds side.
BABA DIAWARA (ADELAIDE UNITED)
The Reds are getting some of their key men back (Ersan Gulum is also back having suffered a punctured lung) and Diawara will be another key man.
His pedigree is excellent, having played in Spain for Sevilla with loan spells at Levante and Getafe.
The Senegal-born 29-year-old striker is a fabulous finisher, works very hard and can link up with the attacking midfielders nicely.
After a period out injured, this could be his stage to remind us all of his qualities.
MILOS NINKOVIC (SYDNEY FC)
If you’ve never seen the Serbian play, this is a perfect chance to see him on a big stage. The playmaker can do things with a football that just defy logic. He sees things few see.
He famously scored the winning penalty in last season’s Hyundai A-League Grand Final – and was on target last Saturday – but it’s his lead up play and combination with striker Bobo that is often the catalyst for game-changing moments.
Ninkovic is also the reigning Johnny Warren Medal winner for best player in the league.
ALEX BROSQUE (SYDNEY FC)
Sydney FC skipper Alex Brosque is the 200 Hyundai A-League appearances man – having racked up that milestone on Saturday – but he’s never won the FFA Cup.
His lung-busting runs, clever attacking play and goals have lit up Allianz over the years.
Don’t count him out from making a huge impression on this Cup Final at a stadium he knows so well.
ADRIAN MIERZEJEWSKI (SYDNEY FC)
We haven’t quite seen his regal best – largely due to some niggling – but the Polish international truly has the X-factor.
His class going forward is clear for all to see. His passing is wonderful and his runs into the box show why he’s still in the mix for a World Cup spot with his nation.
Mierzejewski played for 20 minutes on Saturday in the 2-1 win over the Jets and will push for a spot in the starting XI on Tuesday night.