It all comes down to this. After over 700 clubs entered the Australia Cup in 2023, only two remain. Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar.
After entering the competition at the Round of 32, both teams have navigated their way through some tough encounters to meet at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night for the Australia Cup showpiece event.
With both teams in form, this promises to be a cracker.
Sydney FC made their way into the final with victory over Melbourne City in the Semi Final a fortnight ago, and goals to Pat Wood and Joe Lolley put the Sky Blues in control. A late goal from Jamie Maclaren wouldn’t prove costly, as they booked their ticket to the final.
Throughout the competition, Sydney FC have comfortably navigated their way past teams, and appeared to be back to some of their best free flowing football with the arrival of their new players and fresh ideas in the side.
Steve Corica has a dilemma on his hands as well with the form that his players are in. Pat Wood has four goals in four games and with the arrival of Fabio Gomes, does he displace the number 13 from the starting line up? It is also the same for Gabriel Lacerda, the other Brazilian, who has been unable to get into the side with Jake Girdwood-Reich and Jack Rodwell forming a key centre back partnership.
And seeing the fixture played out at Allianz is a big shot in the arm for the Sky Blues, being their home ground and of course bringing with it the noise and passion from their home fans. This will be their first match back at Allianz since the 1-1 Isuzu UTE A-League Semi Final first leg against Melbourne City in May.
This will also be the Sky Blues’ fourth Australia Cup/FFA Cup Final of which they have won one prior, the 2017 edition that was hosted at Allianz Stadium. Back then, Sydney needed extra time to overcome Adelaide United with Brazilian striker Bobo scoring the winning goal in front of The Cove.
They will be hoping for more of the same this time around, and with the squad firing on all cylinders, it seems very achievable for Australia’s most successful club to add another trophy to their cabinet. Standing in their way though, Brisbane Roar.
Ross Aloisi’s side have been the surprise package this tournament. They finished outside the top six in the Isuzu UTE A-League last season and no one knew what to expect under Aloisi, but they have done very well in the Cup this year.
Navigating their way past two A-League clubs and two NPL sides on their way to the final, they haven’t been shy of goals and have scored 13 across the four rounds of the cup. A common theme has been the promotion of youth, with Quinn Macnicol a perfect example of that. The 15-year-old became the youngest ever Brisbane Roar player when he made his debut in the Round of 32 clash with the Jets and then scored in the next round against Sydney United.
He isn’t the only young player performing well, with Thomas Waddingham finding his way to goal on three occasions and scoring the sole goal in the Semi to seal their spot in the Final. It wasn’t their best performance in the last four though, wasting chances in front of goal and holding on defensively at times.
They are into their first ever Australia Cup Final and have a shot at lifting silverware for the first time since their 2014 triumph in which Sydney FC’s now captain, Luke Brattan, started in midfield for the Queenslanders in the A-League Grand Final.
Both will be looking to catapult their season prior to the start of the Isuzu UTE A-League which kicks off with a Big Blue on Saturday the 21st of October at Allianz Stadium for the Sky Blues.
Last season, both teams met three times, with one win a piece and the other match drawn. Allianz Stadium played host to the 1-1 contest with Alex Parsons scoring a stoppage time equaliser against his former side that day.
Ben Abrahams will officiate this match and with no VAR, he will have to be at his best on Saturday night.
Who will take home the first piece of silverware this season? Sydney FC or Brisbane Roar?
Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar
Australia Cup Final
Saturday 7th October 2023
Allianz Stadium, Sydney, NSW
Kick Off: 7:45pm AEDT
Gates Open: 6:15pm AEDT
Broadcast Live: Channel 10& 10Play
Tickets: Click Here