Friday, April 8 from 7.40pm at AAMI Park, Melbourne. Watch on SBS 2, Fox Sports
THE final round of A-League action could potentially contain the most important regular season match both Melbourne City and Adelaide United have faced in either franchise’s history.
The victor of Friday night’s match will go to the top of the table (City on goal difference, Adelaide on points) and if results go their way they will hoist the Premier’s Plate by the end of the round.
Both teams will be relying on the Brisbane Roar to lose to the Melbourne Victory on Saturday night if they are to end the season atop the A-League ladder.
The Reds and the Victory’s rivalry is one of the fiercest in the league, but Adelaide defender Bruce Djite said his side will be cheering on last year’s premiers come Saturday night.
“We’ll be barracking for the boys in Navy Blue, that’s for sure, but like I said let’s win the game first and then maybe a few text messages will go out to the Victory boys.” Djite said.
“We sort of have to take a step back now and realise that we haven’t done nothing yet. If we don’t win against Melbourne City this weekend then all the hard work could almost be for nothing.
“We don’t want to rely on other results, we really want a top two finish and to ensure that, we have to win.”
Djite believes the importance of Friday night’s match will hold both sides in great steed come finals time.
“This is the most crucial game of the season for us. It’s the business end where the real big games start to present themselves.
“We’re lucky in our team that we have fantastic characters, players who are used to playing in these scenarios, these big games and that experience will be priceless come Friday night.”
If the Reds are optimistic about the prospect of finishing off the season at the top of the ladder, than their opponents are taking the polar opposite route going into the final round of season.
City captain Patrick Kisnorbo said his team is not worrying about the potential permutations of the final round of action.
“We’re entering the unknown and everything is out of our hands,” Kisnorbo said.
“We can only worry about ourselves, play the way we have been playing all season and try and get a good result.
“There are five or six possible scenarios and it’s all in the lap of the gods. Of course, it would be great to win the Premier’s Plate, play Melbourne Victory in a final and go on and win the championship. But, that’s out of our control, so there’s no point worrying about something you cannot control.”
Despite his captain’s confession that the team are not looking too far into the future, talismanic striker Bruno Fornaroli sees things a little differently.
Fornaroli has been a revelation since joining City, scoring an unprecedented 23 goals from 26 games, but the Uruguayan believes the goal scoring record will count for nothing if his team are unable to hoist some silverware at the end of the 2015/16 campaign.
“For me, it is not too important to score so many goals if we cannot win anything,” Fornaroli said.
“When I came to Australia, to Melbourne City, I said I wanted to win the championship.
“If you don’t win the league it doesn’t matter how many goals you score.”
Adelaide United has not beaten Melbourne City this season, and a win on Friday night will see the men from Melbourne chalk up the best winning streak either side has had in the history of the fixture.
Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au
Winner: Melbourne City – $2.10
First goal scorer: Bruno Fornaroli – $5.00
Correct score: Melbourne City 2, Adelaide United 1 – $8.50
Both teams have an incredible record in the league this season.
City have not lost at home since round 8, while the Reds have only lost two of their last 20 matches in the A-League (with both losses coming against the Melbourne teams).
The Reds’ defensive record has also been immense away from home, with Adelaide keeping four consecutive clean sheets to set a league record.
It bodes for an incredibly-captivating contest.
The match is a genuine toss of the coin and it could go either way, but we are favouring City due to the fact the contest is in Melbourne.
Expect City to beat the Reds and give themselves a fighting chance of earning their first piece of silverware in the club’s history.