Sixth-placed Brisbane Roar travel to Allianz Stadium to take on eighth-placed Sydney FC on Sunday, with both teams keen for three points to help a late-season push toward the finals. We’ll have coverage from 5.00pm AEDT.
Frank Farina takes Sydney FC into this week’s fixture after many weeks of injuries to many different players, which give them the feel of a team continually blighted by some kind of bad luck injury virus, or curse, or something.
I’d say it’s the result of poor pre, and start, to the season under previous coach Ian Crook which sowed the seeds for injury instability.
And that’s saying nothing of a roster which is lacking standout talent (besides the Italian maestro) and a football department lacking a consistent culture.
Yet Farina walks into this match with talks of a new contract on the table.
His experience and hard headedness has given Sydney FC a new strength to rally around, and a few wins and draws to boot.
And so Sydney FC walk into this game with all to play for: hungry for more points, having the willingness to tackle hard and take their chances while they ride a new wave of momentum which is gradually taking them further up the A-League standings.
Mike Mulvey also takes a disjointed team in Brisbane Roar to this fixture but his team are blighted for different reasons.
After two seasons of winning the A-League, Rado Vidosic took the reins and seemingly drove the team into the ground with seemingly uncharismatic leadership, even if that’s a judgement easily made from the comfort of my lounge chair.
It seemed like the team lacked motivation, players wanted to leave, and the team lacked cohesion and strength with the same personnel that were bossing it merely a year before.
But with a steady hand on the tiller and some shrewd new signings in Steven Lustica and Stefan Nijland, new coach Mulvey seemed to breathe some of the old charisma back into last week’s Brisbane Roar.
Watch closely, it feels like the dragon may just be roused from its sleep again before it gets up and (lame pun alert) roars again.
A quick look at the A-League standings will tell you these two teams are in a real fight if they want to make the finals series.
The top four teams have made some distance from the bottom six, but in that six, only four points separate them. The fifth and sixth finals spots are there for any team who wants them, and remember, six teams make the finals, not four.
With Brisbane sixth and Sydney eighth, and only a handful of games left, they both really want a win in this fixture.
Sydney need it more – they are even on points but a goal difference of -9 will make it impossible to share points with anybody else by season’s finish.
Prediction: Anything could happen, but probably a draw.