ADELAIDE United’s crushing victory over Melbourne City in the A-League semi final on the weekend has them as the bookies favourites to win this weekend’s grand final.
But you simply cannot write off a side like the Western Sydney Wanderers, who, in their semi final, completed the most remarkable come back ever staged against the Brisbane Roar.
The Reds are $2.36 with CrownBet.com.au to take out the match and lift the premiership trophy, while the Roar are $2.88. A draw is $3.50 and that’s the same quote you will get at WilliamHill.com.au. But Hills have United as even tighter favourites at $2.25, with the Wanderers a juicy $3 for the win.
The match is expected to be played in front of a sell out crowd at Adelaide Oval on Sunday, May 1, at 4pm AEST.
Reds striker Bruce Djite has rallied his side’s fans to turn up in their droves to support the club.
“We need them to fill that stadium,” Djite, one of the best strikers in the league, said.
“It could be decades before it happens again so let’s take this opportunity and let’s get a crowd that’s as partisan as can be and backing the boys because we’ve got a very special group here.”
Djite said the message from Adelaide United coach Guillermo Amor was to ‘enjoy the week’ but ‘stay focused’.
For Wanderers coach Tony Popovic, he says a win would wash away the pain of previous grand final defeats to Central Coast (2012-13) and would be revenge after they were beaten by the Roar (2013-14).
But he says “This is a different group.”
“We’ve got a few survivors from year one here, but we need this group to make history in their own right,” Popovic said.
“And we have a chance for that next week.
“You can only look forward to a final.
“It will be a special week and I want to enjoy it.
“But come Sunday there’s one job to do, and that’s win.
“They’ve been the best team in the league, that’s why they finished first.
“But the grand final winner is the champion.
“That we’ve accepted since day one.”
The Wanderers will be most worried about Reds star Marcelo Carrusca and he is the favourite for the Joe Marston Medal for best on ground at $7 with CrownBet.com.au.
Wanderers gun Romeo Castelen shares favouritism with Carrusca at that quote, while Djite is the only other player in single figures at $8.
United absolutely destroyed City on the weekend, 4-1, with a brace from Djite the highlight.
The powerful striker fired in twice before the hour to give the Reds a 2-0 lead, one of them ann absolute screamer, before City’s Nick Fitzgerald pegged one back.
Melbourne’s hopes were short lived, though, with the Reds completing the rough, thanks to late goals to Dylan McGowan and Pablo Sanchez.
In a classic match the Wanderers somehow came back from 3-0 down to defeat the Roar to win the match in extra time 5-4.
Down 3-0 after 23 minutes, it appeared the Wanderers had not come to play and they could have been forgiven for giving up the goat.
But that’s not this team’s mentality. The Roar took the foot off the pedal, allowing the Wanderers an opportunity which they seized with both hands.
Romeo Castelen hammered home a free kick to make it 3-1 and give the Wanderers some hope.
Brendon Santalab made it 3-2 at half time and the Wanderers were back in it.
it was Castelen, again, who tied the scores just after the break and then completed a remarkable hat trick to give the Wanderers the lead for the first time in the match.
But the Roar wasn’t done, Jamie Maclaren hitting back with a strike that would leave the scores tied at full time.
But nothing was getting in the way of this fairy tale.
Dario Vidosic completed the Wanderer’s stunning come back and booked them a place in the decider with a perfect finish in extra time, that the Roar was unable to answer.
Carrusca is the $2.50 favourite to take out the Aurelio Vidmar Award as Adelaide United’s Player of the Year at their awards night on May 4.
Craig Goodwin is nipping at the Argentine’s heels at $3, according to the market at sportsbet.com.au, while Djite’s excellent late season form has him next in line at $4.50.
Goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic is the only other player in single figure odds at $8 while incredibly, Stefan Mauk is a $10 chance despite only joining the club mid-season.
“Finding a standout player in the standout side in the A-League is difficult, but Celo Carrusca has been central to Adelaide’s incredible rise from last to first,” the bookie’s Christian Jantzen said.
A-League grand final Joe Marston Medal for best on ground market
M Carrusca ($7)
B Djite ($8)
M Nichols ($10)
B Santalab ($11)
E Galekovic ($13)
B Kamau ($15)
M Bridge ($15)
S Cirio ($15)
C Goodwin ($21)
S Mauk ($21)
D Delgado ($26)
I Sanchez ($26)
P Sanchez ($26)
D Vidosic ($41)
T Elrich ($41)
A Aguilar ($51)
N Topor-Stanley ($51)
Odds provided by CrownBet.com.au
A-League grand final first goal scorer market
Bruce Djite ($7)
Brendon Santalab ($8)
Sergio Cirio ($9)
Mark Bridge ($9.50)
Pablo Sanchez ($10)
Marcelo Carrusca ($11)
Bruce Kamau ($11)
Romeo Castelen ($12)
Mitch Nichols ($12)
Dario Vidosic ($13)
No Goalscorer ($13)
Stefan Mauk ($14)
Jaushua Sotirio ($14)
Craig Goodwin ($15)
Odds provided by WilliamHill.com.au