The eyes of Australian football will be on Coopers Stadium on Tuesday night when Adelaide United and Perth Glory vie to capture the first silverware of the season and write their name into the history of the sport in this country by claiming the inaugural Westfield FFA Cup.
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Coopers Stadium, Hindmarsh
Kick-off: 7:00pm local (7:30pm AEDT)
Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (GK) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 7.Pablo SÁNCHEZ, 8.ISAÍAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Bruce DJITE, 14.Cameron WATSON, 15.Ben WARLAND, 17.Awer MABIL, 18.Jimmy JEGGO, 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Fabio FERREIRA, 24.Bruce KOMAU, 30.John HALL (GK), 32.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS
**two to be omitted**
Perth Glory squad: 1.Daniel VUKOVIC (GK), 2.Jack CLISBY, 3.Brandon O’NEILL, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH, 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Jamie MACLAREN, 16.Sidnei SCOILA, 17.Mitch NICHOLS, 18.Jack DUNCAN (GK), 19.Josh RISDON, 20.Daniel DE SILVA, 21.Scott JAMIESON, 23.Michael THWAITE (c), 24.Rostyn GRIFFITHS
**two to be omitted**
TV broadcast: LIVE and exclusive on FOX SPORTS 505
Radio broadcast: 891 ABC Adelaide, ABC South Australia, FIVEaa 1395AM, Grandstand Digital around the country, online at www.abc.net.au/grandstand and on the ABC Smartphone app
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referee 1: George Lakrindis
Assistant Referee 2: Anton Shchetinin
Fourth Official: Jonathan Barreiro
AAR 1: Kris Griffiths-Jones
AAR 2: Shaun Evans
It's Hyundai A-League leaders Perth Glory away to one of the competition's most entertaining sides, Adelaide United, in a mouth-watering inaugural Westfield FFA Cup final on Tuesday night.
Perth were aggrieved to be overlooked as hosts but Kenny Lowe's men have thrived on an 'us versus them' mentality this season, and playing away from home could act as motivation for the combative Glory, who believe they're yet to be given the credit they deserve for a flying start to the 2014-15 season.
While the eastern states are slowly waking up to the reality of a genuine title challenge being mounted in the west, expectations of Perth's season will go through the roof nationwide if they can come out on top at Coopers Stadium.
The Reds meanwhile will hope they got a bad performance out of their system by losing at home to Brisbane Roar on Friday night. Marcelo Carrusca and Nigel Boogard, rested for that game, were badly missed and will be welcome inclusions for the final.
Josep Gombau and his players are on record as insisting they need to deliver on their considerable promise and potential by winning something this season. Here's their first opportunity and there's no denying they have the ability to get the job done. It's set to be a fascinating contest, let's hope for a game worthy of the prestigious, unprecedented occasion.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Adelaide were unusually blunt in losing 1-0 to the Roar on Friday, badly missing the creative presence of playmaker Carrusca. Bruce Djite was well marshalled by James Donachie and Jade North, while Pablo Sanchez, Sergio Cirio and Fabio Ferreira were disappointing in the final third.
Awer Mabil could come into the starting XI for one of those three, while Carrusca is a certain inclusion. Whoever plays for the Reds, they will need to find a way past Perth's in-form centre-back duo of Michael Thwaite and Dino Djulbic, while attacking fullbacks Josh Risdon and Scott Jamieson will give Adelaide's wide players plenty to think about.
Perth had to work hard to break down the functional Newcastle Jets to register a 2-0 win on Friday night, Richard Garcia producing an energetic, aggressive performance to compliment centre-forward Andy Keogh. Creative pair Mitch Nichols and Daniel De Silva could retain their places, with Jamie Maclaren and Sidnei Sciola likely reinforcements.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Osama Malik, sidelined with a calf problem, has been linked with a move away from Adelaide United in January. With Boogard also out of the team, Adelaide's lack of depth at centre-back was highlighted on Friday. Compounding that was the fact Isaias had a rare off night, the Reds struggling to build from the back with their usual fluency as a consequence. If Malik does go, Gombau will need to reinforce in that area, but technically gifted, ball-playing utility players are tough to find.
Adelaide's 1-0 loss to Brisbane on Friday was their second defeat in the last three matches, having also gone down 3-2 away to Melbourne Victory in Round 8. Sandwiched between those two reverses was a routine 2-0 win at home to struggling Western Sydney.
Glory have won their last two matches in succession and four of the last five, while they have only lost once this season - a 2-0 defeat to Adelaide on their previous visit to Coopers Stadium, back in late October.
DID YOU KNOW?
The man of the match in Tuesday's final will be awarded the first Mark Viduka Medal, set to become a coveted individual honour in the years ahead and a fitting tribute to the Socceroos great.