What we learned from Sydney and Adelaide’s FFA Cup Final dress rehearsal

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Adelaide United and Sydney FC were playing a battle within the war as the round one encounter served as a precursor to the FFA Cup Final.

There were scuffed shots and misplaced passes aplenty, which is natural given the long off-season and the nature of round one.

Yet amidst it all, there was a prevailing sense that both teams were keeping their cards close to their chest in a bid to one-up their rivals in the FFA Cup Final.

Perhaps it was the cagey nature of the opening half which was dotted with infractions and spot-fires but this game felt like it was going at 75 per cent.

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Sydney were stoic and robust but aside from 20 seconds of Miloš Ninković being… Miloš Ninković, Sydney lacked an incision or constant threat.

However, that could be put down to the missing attacking impetus of Trent Buhagiar and Daniel De Silva.

While Buhagiar sustained an ACL injury recently, De Silva is listed as being one week away from returning according to the A-League website.

This would put him in the frame for the FFA Cup Final and help ease the creative burden currently placed upon Miloš Ninković in the midfield.

That is not entirely Sydney’s fault as they were forced into a physical game, resulting in four yellow cards to Sydney, to break-down Adelaide’s momentum.

In the absence of Baba Diawara, Adelaide rolled with a more nimble, dynamic forward-line featuring Craig Goodwin, Ben Halloran and Ryan Strain with Mirko Boland occasionally making it a front four.

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It stretched the Sydney FC defence considerably and created pockets of space which were willingly penetrated with lofted through-balls.

However, that can all change if Ken Ilsø works into full-fitness or Diawara returns from injury assuming either takes the central forward role.

There would be a more direct and centralised method going forward for United, something which Marco Kurz alluded to in his press conference, with the Adelaide boss highlighting too many long balls forward and hinting at a possession based game to make Sydney run more on October 30.

Further, the likes of George Blackwood, Ryan Kitto and Nikola Mileusnic are possible inclusions which could change United’s methods for the final game.

Less than two weeks out and everything could be entirely different when the two teams face off for silverware.

We witnessed the battle, now we get ready to see who wins the war.

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Adam Daunt
Adam Daunt
A student at University of South Australia who hopes his writing disguises his lack of sporting prowess and a fan who masquerades his choice in mediocre teams as being hipster

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