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Veart back in dugout as Reds ready for City challenge

Adelaide United

Adelaide United return to Coopers Stadium as the second match of a double header on Saturday night, well aware of the attacking potency Melbourne City possesses in its arsenal.

It is the second meeting between the pair this season, after Adelaide’s dramatic equaliser to secure a 2-2 draw in Round 2 meant the Reds avoided defeat and preserved its record of not losing at home to City since December 2018.

But despite fighting back from 2-0 down, Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout were both on target.

Three points would lift the Reds provisionally into the top six as they currently lie seventh on the table.

Carl Veart knows his side face a tough prospect of nullifying their offensive weapons, but also has a card up his sleeve with Craig Goodwin returning the form that has made him synonymous with one of the best forwards in the competition.

The 30-year-old enters the match off the back of scoring four goals across the league and cup – including a sensational leveller against Melbourne Victory last time out.

As for Patrick Kisnorbo’s squad, they were held to a 3-3 draw after trailing 2-0 inside the opening 10 minutes.

Team news

Carl Veart is back on the touchline after recovering from COVID-19. New signings Hiroshi Ibusuki and Lachlan Brook could feature in some capacity tomorrow provided their international clearances come through. However, Isaías misses the match through suspension.

What the experts say

Tarek Elrich: City have been controlling the games well but giving the ball away way too much in key areas. Adelaide have shown the team spirit coming back from behind a number of times this season. Would love to see that fight from the start.

Marcelo Carrusca: In my opinion Melbourne City has the best Australian attackers of the competition. If Adelaide can control them (Jamie Maclaren, Andrew Nabbout and Mathew Leckie) they will win the game.

Vince Rugari: This is going to be tough for Adelaide, who’ve been fairly up and down this season and, even when they’ve been up, haven’t been able to get their attack truly firing (the Wellington win aside, of course). It’s going to be even tougher without Isaías. Melbourne City are a pretty well-oiled machine although it’s been hard to get a handle on them recently due to COVID postponements. They drew 3-3 with the Wanderers last week but looked to be the better team to my eyes and probably should have won.

One to watch

Tarek Elrich: Juande has been key to breaking up the play and starting the play. He will be very important with Isaías and Louis D’Arrigo both being out.

Marcelo Carrusca: I really love watching Isaias and Juande together in the middle of the park. However, now Isaías suspended I believe Juande will be key in both the defence and in the attack, keeping the ball and managing the tempo of the game.

Vince Rugari: Bernardo. I liked him before I even saw him because of who his dad is. Now with Ben Halloran gone, he has quickly become one of Adelaide’s most important attacking outlets. This kid is great to watch, prone to the unpredictable and I hope he blossoms under that extra responsibility.

Key battle

Tarek Elrich: Craig Goodwin and Jamie Maclaren in goal-scoring fun. Look forward to seeing both of these Socceroos in action.

Marcelo Carrusca: Craig Goodwin is confident and playing really well so coming up against Scott Galloway will definitely be a great 1v1 battle. 

Vince Rugari: Craig Goodwin’s battle with Scott Galloway will be interesting down Adelaide’s left flank. Galloway likes to cut inside as an inverted fullback, which means City may be a little short defensively at times on that side of the field. Goodwin isn’t a particularly good dribbler for a winger, but he can absolutely punish teams in an instant if he’s left to his own devices.

One change you’d like to see

Tarek Elrich: Adelaide to start the way they finished against Melbourne Victory.

Marcelo Carrusca: I would love to see more of Nestory Irankunda. He has a lot of potential so hopefully we get to see him play at Coopers Stadium for the first time after making his debut last weekend.

Vince Rugari: Surely now with Isaías out, Lous D’Arrigo gets to play in defensive midfield where he belongs, and where he brings his best.

Head-to-head

Played: 35
Wins: 13
Draws: 10
Losses: 12

Last five meetings

2-2 draw (H)
4-1 loss (A)
2-0 win (H)
2-2 draw (A)
3-1 win (H)

Predictions

Tarek Elrich: Adelaide at home with the crowd and how they finished the game against Victory can upset the reigning champs. Midfield is going to be important as City overload it. With Isaías missing it will be time for other youngsters to step up.

Marcelo Carrusca: It is going to be a tough game but I think Adelaide will win 2-1.

Vince Rugari: 2-1 City. The reigning champions will begin to get their swagger back after blowing out some COVID-related cobwebs last week. Mathew Leckie will score in his long-awaited return to Hindmarsh, albeit in the wrong jersey.

Match details:
Saturday, 15 January vs Melbourne City
Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 – Matchweek 10
Kick-off 7.15pm ACDT
Venue: Coopers Stadium
Broadcast: Channel 10
Stream: Paramount+