Sydney FC will make the journey to Melbourne to take on Isuzu UTE A-League Premiers Melbourne City in the Australia Cup Semi Final on Sunday afternoon.
The Sky Blues are looking like they are beginning to purr this pre-season having comfortably dispatched Western United last Sunday in the Quarter Final.
Steve Corica’s side hit the post early but didn’t have to wait long to open the scoring with Joe Lolley setting up Anthony Caceres before the Englishman set up Pat Wood for the second. In the second half, it was more of the same as they piled on the pressure and Jack Rodwell found the net for the first time in Sydney colours and the Sky Blues ran out 3-0 winners.
Ahead of the 2023/24 A-League season starting in October, this clash against City will prove a key indicator of where Steve Corica’s side are at, especially following the arrival of their new signings.
Speaking of new signings, the recent new faces that have been added into the roster will be available for selection for this match with Fabio Gomes, Gabriel Lacerda and Jordan Courtney-Perkins all in line to make their debuts. However, with the form that Pat Wood & Jake Girdwood-Reich have been in, you would be hard pressed to displace them from the starting 11, so Steve Corica has a dilemma on his hands.
Corica’s squad appears to have taken shape for the season and with this Semi Final on Sunday afternoon, he will be looking at who steps up in the big occasions.
As for Melbourne City, they arrive at the Semi Final stage of the Australia Cup at a bit of a canter. They haven’t quite hit the intensity synonymous with them in the past and struggled in their two recent matches.
South Australian NPL outfit North Eastern MetroStars pushed the Premiers all the way and they need two goals at the death, one a dubious penalty, to see themselves through to the last four, a concerning sight for Rado Vidosic’s side. On Wednesday night, they hosted their first ever AFC Asian Champions League match on home soil and took on Ventforet Kofu from the Japanese 2nd division.
The J2 side held their own, having earned their way into the competition after their Emperors Cup victory last season, and were the better side in Melbourne, with the Australians struggling to create many chances and relying on Jamie Young in goal to keep the game scoreless.
It was a disappointing night at the office for City who will be looking to silence some critics with a big result against the Sky Blues on Sunday.
This will be the fourth time that these two have met in the Australia Cup, having met in 2017, 2016 and 2014. The 2016 edition was the final of the competition and played at AAMI Park of which the Cityzens won 1-0 through a Tim Cahill header. The other two meetings were won by Sydney FC, with a brilliant Alex Brosque lob the pick of the goals from the games. This time around, it could be another piece of individual brilliance that decides the contest with plenty on the line.
Sydney FC have only lost one Semi Final in their history, a 1-0 loss to the Central Coast Mariners in 2021 and their only meeting in Melbourne at this stage of the competition was a victory over South Melbourne in the driving rain at Lakeside Stadium.
Melbourne City have made the Semi Finals of the cup competition three times, having won two of them, with their latest coming back in 2019 against Brisbane Strikers in a 5-1 win.
Both teams have only won the Australia Cup/FFA Cup once and one side will have the chance to make that two when they make it through to the final.
Melbourne City v Sydney FC
Australia Cup Semi Final
Sunday 24th September 2023
AAMI Park, Melbourne, VIC
Kick Off: 3pm AEST
Broadcast Live: 10Play
Tickets: Click Here