Sydney FC entertain Melbourne City in the quarter final of the FFA Cup at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 7.30pm (AEST).
When the draw was made for the last eight of this year’s FFA Cup it threw up a rematch of last year’s final between A-League heavyweights Sydney FC and Melbourne City.
It will be the third time they have met in the four years since the inception of the competition. City came away with the biggest win of those encounters with Tim Cahill heading the winner in last year’s final in Melbourne which ensured the Melbourne club picked up their first piece of silverware.
The FFA Cup has been a competition which has brought romanticism back into the game in Australia and has helped to bridge the connection between the professional and grassroots levels of the game. It has been the vehicle which has contributed to the ongoing debate about a second tier competition and if the gap between the semi-pro clubs and A-League clubs is as wide as you would expect or think.
Certainly this year’s instalment of the competition has added to both sides of the argument with Heidelberg United dismantling Perth Glory in the Round of 32 while Sydney FC tore apart Darwin Rovers 8-0 in their encounter in Darwin.
Graham Arnold has recently added more fuel to the fire between him and his NPL counterparts by declaring this game as a real test with games against NPL opposition allowing his side to cruise through at 50 per cent.
Both sides are into the latter stages of their pre-season and will see this game as an ideal opportunity to gain a real insight into how they are progressing. Victory for either club would serve as a nice confidence boost over their expected title rivals going into the A-League season.
A win would also move either side a step closer to silverware which should never be taking lightly. City will also be looking to defend the first and only cup they currently have in their trophy cabinet while Sydney will want to move a step closer to winning the Cup for the first time.
City boss Warren Joyce will be looking to guide his side into the last four and should be looking forward to locking horns with Graham Arnold for the first time. When Joyce spoke to the media on Tuesday he mentioned he was looking forward to the opportunity of playing against the best side in the country at present.
In team news, Joyce may call upon recent signing Marcelo Carrusca, with the former Adelaide player linking up with his new squad in recent days. They will, however, be without star man Bruno Fornaroli with the Uruguayan out for the foreseeable future with a broken ankle picked up in the last round.
City will be able to call upon Tim Cahill once again with the Australian back in contention after the recent World Cup qualifiers.
Sydney have bolstered their squad over the off season and made some quality additions to what was an already impressive list.
The likes of Luke Wilkshire, Anthony Kalik and Paulo Retre have been added to the Sky Blues but they will be looking to Polish striker Adrian Mierzejewski to put his stamp on the game with reports from inside the Sydney camp suggesting that they have a gem within their playing stocks once again.
I am going with the home side in this one. Arnold has stated that it will be a unique opportunity for his team to play at Leichhardt Oval in the city’s inner-west and they will be hungry to get a win to edge them closer to a piece of domestic silverware that has avoided them so far.
With the improvements they have made to their squad and without Fornaroli to content with, the game should go the way of Sydney.
Sydney FC 2-1 Melbourne City
Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 7.30pm (AEST).