Preliminary Final preview - Adelaide United vs Queensland Roar
The 2008/09 A-League preliminary final is upon us with Adelaide United hosting the Queensland Roar tomorrow night. After two poor semi-final performances, Adelaide find themselves in a precarious position against an in-form Queensland outfit who have won five on the trot.
The Reds have made several changes to their line-up after the 4-0 debacle against the Melbourne Victory last week and after Aurelio Vidmar's vicious comments, you would think they will be raring to go.
This season's Asian Champions League runners-up also have the wood over their visitors with just two losses in their last nine encounters, and defeated them at Suncorp Stadium earlier this season.
The three matches between the two sides in 2008/09 have only bought about three goals; a 0-0 draw, a 1-0 result to the Reds and a 1-1 draw, suggesting it may be a tight match where goals are hard to come by.
Vidmar has recalled the experienced trio of Diego, Jonas Salley and Angelo Costanzo to add some calmness and strength to the squad with Diego and Salley likely to play important midfield roles whilst Costanzo will be used to shore up the defence.
All three will be elsewhere next season so they will be determined to depart the city of Adelaide on a high.
Brazilian playmaker Cassio will miss due to suspension after two poor tackles last week and an even poorer reaction when exiting the pitch.
In the Queensland camp, veteran Danny Tiatto returns from suspension and will need to keep his cool if the Roar are to progress through to the Grand Final.
Any silly decisions or tackles by Tiatto could leave the Roar with one less man and in a preliminary final that is the last thing you need.
Five wins in their last five games and 8 wins, 3 draws, 1 loss from their past 12 matches holds the Roar in good stead if you are picking on form.
The fact that their last two losses (Rd. 11 and Rd. 18) have been to the side that awaits them in the Grand Final may have some bearing in the back of their minds but surely Frank Farina will have them focused on the task at hand.
In one of the hardest matches to pick for the year, Adelaide United are ready to turn the tables on the Roar and on the law of averages, surely a finals win is close.
A spot in next season's Asian Champions League is also up for grabs and the Reds will be determined to go one better than they did this season.
A packed house at Hindmarsh Stadium should be enough to get them over the line in an intense, physical and tight encounter.