Eugene Galekovic doesn’t envy the tough selection decisions awaiting Josep Gombau as a fit and firing Adelaide United prepare to face Sydney FC for a place in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final.
Adelaide were without right-back Michael Marrone through suspension against the Roar and also had to make do without centre-forward Bruce Djite due to a groin strain.
However, both players are expected to be available for the clash at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night, leaving Spanish coach Gombau with a welcome selection dilemma.
“We beat them over there last time with a long ball to Awer Mabil,” captain and goalkeeper Galekovic said, referring to his own handy work in a 1-0 regular season win last month.
“It’s going to be a different battle altogether. Everyone’s fit, (Michael) Marrone’s back. Bruce (Djite) should be back. The coach has got some hard decisions as to who plays and who doesn’t.
“Today’s result breeds confidence in the team. Two more wins and we’ll be champions.”
The elimination final at Adelaide Oval proved to be anything but a cagey affair, as two attacking teams traded blows for the right to stay alive in the 2014-15 playoffs.
“The way we played made it end-to-end stuff,” Galekovic said.
“We like to play out from the back and press high and if they got out of that then they obviously attacked us. It was a bit of gamble you could say, in the end we scored two and it was enough.”
Galekovic was called upon to rescue the Reds only on occasion, as he benefitted from the visitors’ wayward finishing.
The same can’t be said of Roar’s Jamie Young, who had to make a string of stunning saves to keep his team in it, before being cruelly beaten by Awer Mabil’s winner, despite getting a hand to the fierce close-range shot.
“I saw them on the replays, he had a great game,” the Socceroo said of his fellow shot-stopper’s exploits.
“He kept them in it. It was one of those games where both teams had a lot of chances, whoever put them away was going to win. He kept Brisbane in the game and credit to him, he’s a good goalkeeper.”
Marcelo Carrusca meanwhile made a welcome return to the Reds’ starting XI on Friday night, lasting until the 70th minute of his comeback from a quad injury.
“I feel well after four games out,” he said.
“After 70 minutes I started to feel cramps in my calf, but we expected that.”
Echoing the post-match comments of his coach, Carrusca also rejected suggestions Adelaide’s recent dominance over Sydney will afford them a significant mental advantage next weekend.
“We can talk about the records before the game,” he said.
“Against Brisbane they had the record, they beat us like six times. I don’t know, I don’t follow these stats. Every game is different. This will be different.
“We play away … against a difficult team. We will do our best, it’s another final that we have to win.”