Reds with ‘every reason’ for victory

Third spot, a win over their arch rivals and a confidence boost ahead of the finals provide more than enough motives for Adelaide United FC to secure three points when they take on Melbourne Victory at the Adelaide Oval tomorrow night to kick off the highly anticipated final weekend of the Hyundai A-League minor round.

Third spot, a win over their arch rivals and a confidence boost ahead of the finals provide more than enough motives for Adelaide United FC to secure three points when they take on Melbourne Victory at the Adelaide Oval tomorrow night to kick off the highly anticipated final weekend of the Hyundai A-League minor round.

After 26 weeks and 29 games, the stage is set for an enthralling climax leading into next week-s finals series, and the Reds find themselves right in amongst the tension.

Heading into this weekend-s matches, Adelaide United sit in third position on the table, a point ahead of fourth placed Gold Coast United.

The Gold Coast missed the chance to leap above the Reds following their loss to the Central Coast Mariners last night, meaning if Adelaide can beat the Victory tomorrow night, third place will be safely in their keeping regardless of the result in Gold Coast-s final game against league leaders Brisbane Roar on Saturday night.

Birthday boy Rini Coolen is pleased at how the situation has been set up for his team, the United Head Coach knowing third spot is there for the taking if the Reds can score a second successive win over Melbourne. A win would also prevent the Reds from having to watch with baited breath on Gold Coast-s result with the Roar.

Furthermore, Coolen is aware of the fact that the Reds have not taken maximum points since their landslide victory over North Queensland Fury back on January 21, adding further incentive to the importance of tomorrow night-s encounter.

“That-s what you want. If they (Gold Coast) don-t win the last game, you still have the number three position, that-s better for us, but it-s much easier if we win this game because we know we-ll definitely have spot number three,” Coolen said.

“I think we have to do everything for our club, for our supporters to win this game…and to win this game gives you a little bit more confidence in preparing for the finals, so there is every reason to go for the three points.”

The Reds ended a ten game losing streak to their old foes with a 4-1 result at AAMI Park back in January, and notably tomorrow night-s game will be the first time the sides will have met in Adelaide since September 2009.

While Cassio and Osama Malik will be missing from United-s last outing, Coolen is confident Hyundai A-League leading scorer Sergio van Dijk will run out against the Victory despite suffering a corked thigh at training yesterday and missing the team-s familiarisation session at the Adelaide Oval this morning.

“More than likely he will be ok,” Coolen said of his prolific goal scorer.

“It was not necessary to take any risks with him today. He got a knock yesterday but I don-t think it-s a problem, even if we had to play tonight…so more than likely he-s fit.”

Defender Robert Cornthwaite and young gun Mathew Leckie have both been included in the squad, Coolen privileged with the number of wide attacking options at his disposal that he can unleash on the slick Adelaide Oval surface.

The Reds boss is yet to decide whether he will start both Leckie and fellow speedster Andy Slory or bring them off the bench, but one thing Coolen does feel comfortable and sure about is his side-s ability to handle the differing pitch conditions, which they showed in their 2-nil win at the Adelaide Oval earlier in the season.

“It (the Adelaide Oval turf) is of course not perfect because it-s more of a cricket length at the moment, but it is a good surface, you can play football well and that-s what we did against Sydney, so that-s the reason we trained today on it today, to get used to the pitch. We know how it is so there are no excuses,” Coolen said.

Since their loss to the Reds, Melbourne have been unbeaten in their past five games and with the imminent return of Archie Thompson joining Robbie Kruse, Carlos Hernandez and Danny Allsopp, it provides arguably no better lead in for the Reds- finals campaign.

“They (Melbourne) have good balance, a good defensive line, good midfielders and they have a couple of players who can make the difference in the transition moments, so they have a really good team and they-re preparing themselves for the finals as well,” Coolen said.

With the rivalry and history between the sides and the expected finals-type atmosphere expected at the Adelaide Oval, one could be mistaken for thinking finals have come around a week early.

A third place finish would most likely see the Reds tackle the Wellington Phoenix in the first weekend of the finals, while fourth position could well see Adelaide and Melbourne face off again a week later.

The Kosmina/Muscat medal, which has been created to highlight the rivalry between the clubs since the Hyundai A-League began, will be awarded to the player judged best afield at the completion of the game.

Kick-Off is at 7.30pm (ACDT) and tickets are available through Ticketek (call 132 849, online at www.ticketek.com.au).

Hyundai A-League 2010/11 Season – Week 27
Adelaide United FC v Melbourne Victory

Friday 11 February 2011, Adelaide Oval
Kick-Off: 7.30pm ACDT (8.00pm AEDT)
Referee: Ryan Shepheard

Tickets: Available through Ticketek (call 132 849, online at www.ticketek.com.au)
TV: Live and exclusive on FOX Sports 2
Radio: Grandstand Digital and online at abc.net.au/adelaide

Adelaide United: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 8.Adam HUGHES, 9.Sergio VAN DIJK, 10.Marcos FLORES, 11.Andy SLORY, 12.Paul REID, 13.Travis DODD (c), 14.Cameron WATSON, 16.Dario BODRUSIC, 17.Iain RAMSAY, 19.Mathew LECKIE, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 21.Francisco USUCAR
*one to be omitted*

In: Robert CORNTHWAITE (returns from injury), Lucas PANTELIS (promoted), Mathew LECKIE (promoted)
Out: CASSIO (thigh – 1 week), Osama MALIK (hamstring – 1 week)
Unavailable: Daniel MULLEN (knee – season), Joe COSTA (knee – season), Joe KEENAN (leg – season), Fabian BARBIERO (ankle – season)

Melbourne Victory: 1.Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 3.Mate DUGANDZIC, 4.Petar FRANJIC, 5.Surat SUKHA, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Matthew KEMP, 9.RICARDINHO, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.Marvin ANGULO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 13.Diogo FERREIRA, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Matthew FOSCHINI, 18.Danny ALLSOPP, 20.Sebastian MATTEI (gk), 21.Robbie KRUSE, 23.Adrian LEIJER (c)
*three to be omitted*

In: Leigh BROXHAM (returns from injury), Archie THOMPSON, Surat SUKHA, Carlos HERNANDEZ
Unavailable: Kevin MUSCAT (suspension), Billy CELESKI (injured), Grant BREBNER (injured)

Adelaide United vs. Melbourne Victory – Hyundai A-League HEAD TO HEAD Record
Played 23 – 6 wins, 3 draws, 14 losses

9-Jan-2011… W 4-1… 2010/11 Wk 22 (AAMI Park)
29-Oct-2010… L 1-2… 2010/11 Wk 12 (Etihad Stadium)
23-Jan-2010… L 0-2… 2009/10 Rd 24 (Etihad Stadium)
24-Oct-2009… L 1-3… 2009/10 Rd 12 (Etihad Stadium)
18-Sep-2009… L 0-2… 2009/10 Rd 7 (Hindmarsh Stadium)
28-Feb-2009… L 0-1… 2008/09 Grand Final (Etihad Stadium)
14-Feb-2009… L 0-4… 2008/09 Major Semi Final 2nd Leg (Etihad Stadium)
7-Feb-2009… L 0-2… 2008/09 Major Semi Final 1st Leg (Hindmarsh Stadium)
6-Jan-2009… L 0-1… 2008/09 Rd 15 (Etihad Stadium)
31-Oct-2008… L 2-3… 2008/09 Rd 10 (Hindmarsh Stadium)
12-Sep-2008… L 0-1… 2008/09 Rd 4 (Etihad Stadium)
8-Dec-2007… D 2-2… 2007/08 Rd 16 (Etihad Stadium)
12-Oct-2007… W 4-1… 2007/08 Rd 8 (Hindmarsh Stadium)
7-Sep-2007… D 1-1… 2007/08 Rd 3 (Hindmarsh Stadium)
18-Feb-2007… L 0-6… 2006/07 Grand Final (Etihad Stadium)
4-Feb-2007… L 1-2… 2006/07 Semi Final 2nd Leg (Etihad Stadium)
28-Jan-2007… D 0-0… 2006/07 Semi Final 1st Leg (Hindmarsh Stadium)
1-Dec-2006… L 1-3… 2006/07 Rd 15 (Hindmarsh Stadium)
15-Oct-2006… W 1-0… 2006/07 Rd 8 (Etihad Stadium)
25-Aug-2006… L 0-2… 2006/07 Rd 1 (Olympic Park, Melbourne)
5-Jan-2006… W 1-0… 2005/06 R 17 (Hindmarsh Stadium)
28-Oct-2005… W 1-0… 2005/06 Rd 10 (Olympic Park, Melbourne)
9-Sep-2005… W 1-0… 2005/06 Rd 3 (Hindmarsh Stadium)

At Adelaide Oval
This will be the first meeting between the sides at the venue

Last time they met
9-Jan-2011 Week 22, Hyundai A-League 2010/11 Season at AAMI Park
Melbourne Victory 1 (Dugandzic 90+3-)
Adelaide United FC 4 (Flores 12-, van Dijk 56-/78-, Barbiero 74-)

Adelaide United last three results
Wk 26. 5-2-2011… L 0-1… vs. Wellington Phoenix (Hindmarsh Stadium)
MW. 2-2-2011… D 0-0… vs. Gold Coast United (Skilled Park)
Wk 25. 29-1-2011… L 1-2… vs. Central Coast Mariners (Hindmarsh Stadium)