Adelaide Oval not to Gombau’s liking

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Adelaide Oval has been confirmed as the host venue for Adelaide United’s home final clash with Brisbane Roar on Friday night, despite the protests of Reds’ coach Josep Gombau.

The Oval was a more attractive option to the FFA because of its greater crowd capacity, holding 53,500 spectators compared to United’s regular home ground Coopers Stadium, which only holds 16,500.

But United boss Josep Gombau expressed his dismay with the decision, predicting it would be the case before the Hyundai A-League Finals Series schedule was released on Sunday night.

“If I am honest… I want to play [at Coopers],” Gombau said after his team’s 4-1 win over Melbourne City on Saturday.

“[Coopers] is our stadium, we play 13 or 14 games here, and we are training here and when we are playing at home we have an advantage.

“I want to play here because it is our home. Adelaide Oval is in Adelaide, but it is not our home,” he said.

Because of Adelaide Oval’s shape it also offers spectators views much further from the action. At no point does the pitch come close to the Oval’s perimeter, meaning it can be hard for fans to see play when it’s not on their side of the pitch.

Conversely, Coopers Stadium is known for getting fans close to the action and is regarded as one of Australia’s premier rectangular stadiums in spite of its smaller capacity.

But Adelaide Oval’s attendance record cannot be argued with, and when over 33,000 fans turned up to watch the Reds take on Melbourne Victory at the ground in round two last year, many FFA decision makers were swayed.

Whether the higher bounce, faster surface or the fact that the AFL Showdown between the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide Power -which is to be played at the ground just two days later – have any effect on the game remains to be seen.

The 33,126 fans that turned up in round two of the A-League season is a record for association football in South Australia.

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