Sydney FC will aim to go four from four when they play Adelaide United in a Unite Round showdown at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night (kick-off 8pm). This will be the Sky Blue’s 500th Isuzu UTE A-League match, of which they have won 232 of them, drawn 117 and lost 150. This is the best record of any team in the competition.
With the Reds and Sky Blues equal on points, Sydney FC will look to break away from their South Australian opponents and continue their rise towards top spot after recent successes.
The Sky Blues’ recent form proves this possible, as they’ve clocked in three consecutive victories in which they’ve scored nine goals, thanks to Ufuk Talay’s aggressive attacking-based strategy.
On the other hand, United has been struggling form-wise, dropping points six times in their last seven occasions, and has yet to win against any Sydney side.
For Ufuk Talay, Adelaide United is a familiar team, as this will mark the second time the coach meets them this season.
Last time, Sydney FC were able to get the upper hand of the Reds, defeating them 5-1 in Talay’s first game in charge, the Sky Blues biggest win of the season as of yet.
A stellar 4-0 first-half performance saw two goals from Joe Lolley and Jaiden Kucharski. Fabio Gomes slotted a fifth blow on the Adelaide defence in the second half to record a five-star performance.
Since then, Ufuk Talay’s men have gone from strength to strength, with players such as Fabio Gomes recording four goals in three matches and nominations for the Izuzu-UTE A-League Player of the Month went to Robert Mak and Joe Lolley.
Last Saturday night against Brisbane Roar, the Sydney FC attack pleased Talay, who explained that his team’s first-half performance was “very good”. However, they needed to keep that intensity up for the rest of the game.
It only took 52 seconds for Fabio Gomes to find the back of the net after he linked up with Jaiden Kucharski before doubling the Sky Blues lead with a slick finish.
However, Robert Mak and Jack Rodwell both went off injured, and are set to miss the match along with Joel King. Corey Hollman and Anthony Caceres have both been cleared to play this weekend after picking up knocks against Brisbane and Wellington respectively.
Adelaide’s starting lineup may look slightly different, with goalkeeper Joe Gauci on Asian Cup duty with the Socceroos.
The Reds will also be without Panashe Madanha and Musa Toure after both picked up injuries earlier in the season.
It’s a short turnaround for the Reds who faced Macarthur on Monday and earned themselves a point thanks to a Ben Halloran goal in the 16th minute.
Adelaide had another 18 attempts during the game but only three found the target.
They could not break down the Bulls’ defence, which saw them stay level and almost come out with no points when James Delianov saved Matthew Jurman’s shot in the game’s dying seconds.
Adelaide has not secured a clean sheet since October, and they will be looking to secure their first victory since before Christmas.
Key Matchup: Jordan Courtney-Perkins vs Nestory Irankunda
The Sky Blues must be wary of the new Bayern Munich signing, Nestory Irankunda, who has been instrumental for Adelaide United, assisting three goals and becoming a key playmaker in their squad.
Nestory Irankunda is highly physical, using his quick pace to weave around his opponents and aggression to press deep into his opposition’s half.
Last week against Macarthur FC, he set up Ben Halloran’s goal by implementing a one-two that opened up the Bull’s defence and allowed Giuseppe Bovalina’s assist.
Irankunda may cause headaches for Jordan Courtney-Perkins, who will meet the 17-year-old for the first time in a Sky Blue shirt, as he did not play against the Sky Blues last outing due to a previous red card.
Courtney-Perkins will be looking for their first clean sheet of the season, and how Sydney FC shuts down United’s right forward’s flair will be crucial to the result.
Adelaide United vs Sydney FC
Isuzu UTE A-League Round 27 (Unite Round)
Saturday 13th January, 2024
Allianz Stadium, Sydney, NSW
Kick Off: 8:00PM AEDT
Gates Open: 4:15PM AEDT
Broadcast Live: Paramount+ and 10BOLD
Tickets: Click Here