Westfield FFA Cup Final preview: City v Sydney FC

The third - and most hotly anticipated - Westfield FFA Cup Final pits the top two sides on the Hyundai A-League ladder vying to win the magnificent FFA Cup trophy for the first time.

After Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory triumphed in 2014 and 2015 respectively, Wednesday night’s blockbuster finale to the Cup in 2016 will see a new team etched on the trophy at AAMI Park.

Will it be visitors Sydney FC - who last won a trophy six years ago, ironically in Melbourne - or will it be City, who've never won a trophy in their Hyundai A-League history?

Add the presence of the great man Tim Cahill along with Bruno Fornaroli, and for the visitors Bobo and Milos Ninkovic, and you've got a night that has all the hallmarks of a classic.

Road to 2016 Westfield FFA Cup Final: Sydney FC

Road to 2016 Westfield FFA Cup Final: Melbourne City

Melbourne City star  Bruno Fornaroli and Sydney FC marquee Bobo will be key figures in the Westfield FFA Cup Final.

Preparations and tactical approach

The focus will on recovery and light sessions after both were involved in tough Hyundai A-League matches on the weekend.

The Sky Blues – who played Adelaide on Saturday night in Sydney – have an extra day to prepare than City, who took on Wellington Phoenix on Sunday - though Graham Arnold’s side have to make the short flight to Melbourne.

Regardless of the short preparation, both sides have depth and desire to win the season's first silverware. 

City have switched between a back three or four throughout this season and it will be interesting to see which way coach John van 't Schip sets up.

Given Sydney’s attacking threat, he’ll probably go for a defensive four.

That would allow Neil Kilkenny – who drops into defence when they play with three at the back – to stay in midfield to help out Luke Brattan and Tim Cahill (if he starts) to blunt the effective Sydney duo Josh Brillante and Brandon O’Neill.

But it could be the flanks where this clash is decided.

City’s wingers Fernando Brandan and Bruce Kamau are always positive and will look to get in behind their defenders.

But that’s a tough ask against Sydney’s full-backs. Rhyan Grant and Michael Zullo who have arguably been the competition’s best in that position this season. 


City star Luke Brattan celebrates after scoring against Victory in the FFA Cup Semi-Final.

Attacking stars on show

Both these sides love to attack and head into this match with their big guns in excellent form.

Fornaroli has continued his excellent strike-rate in the Hyundai A-League this season (including a goal on Sunday), while he has scored three goals in four matches in City’s Cup run.

Brandan and Kamau offer pace, trickery and a huge work-rate on the flanks, while Cahill’s late runs into the box to get on their end of their crosses could be a good avenue to goal for the hosts.

But the Sky Blues have their own in-form attacking quartet.

Skipper Alex Brosque along with imports Bobo, Milos Ninkovic and Filip Holosko have scored 14 of Sydney FC’s 18 goals between them this season    

Some of the link-up play and combinations between them has been a pleasure.

But it’s not just what they do with the ball but without it. Their ability to press opposition defences has often forced turnovers in good positions and it will be intriguing to see how City’s back-three or four deal with that pressure.

And can Sydney maintain the press if the clash goes into extra time?

The Sky Blues also have David Carney, Bernie Ibini and Matt Simon to call off the bench if they are chasing a goal late in the game.

There’s so much to like about the attacking options and variety in each side.  

Sydney FC's Bernie Ibini celebrates scoring against Canberra Olympic in their Westfield FFA Cup Semi Final.

Fixture history

City has prevailed on two occasions, Sydney once, while the other three have ended in draws.

It’s been very even in the three clashes at AAMI Park as well, with one win apiece and a draw.

But City is unbeaten in their last four clashes against the Sky Blues and ran riot in their last meeting, a 3-0 drubbing at AAMI Park in March (to be fair, Sydney were a vastly less menacing outfit last season). 

It was the Bruno Fornaroli show on that night, with the Uruguayan scoring a hat-trick on a miserable night for Arnold’s troops.

Fornaroli simply loves playing at AAMI Park, enjoying a phenomenal scoring record at the venue.

 "El Tuna" has scored 21 goals in just 19 games at the venue.

In the Westfield FFA Cup’s short history, the finals have been extremely tight affairs, both won by the home side.

But if Hyundai A-League form is any indication then the unbeaten Sky Blues will be confident of becoming the first away side to win the Westfield FFA.

Either way, this will be some night.

Westfield FFA Cup Final 2016

Melbourne City FC v Sydney FC

Wednesday 30 November 2016

AAMI Park, Melbourne

Kick-Off: 7:30pm AEDT

*The Westfield FFA Cup Final 2016 will be LIVE and exclusive on FOX SPORTS 4 (Channel 505) from 7pm AEDT.

Tickets for the Westfield FFA Cup Final 2016 are on sale now, starting at $25 for adults and $5 for kids.  Click here for details and to purchase.