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Adelaide United - Western Sydney Wanderers Preview

Goal.com logo Goal.com 13-04-2017

What a difference a year makes! Adelaide United host Western Sydney Wanderers in a rematch of last season's A-League grand final with only the visitors set to compete beyond this week.

SQUADS

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 5.Taylor REGAN, 7.Jae-sung KIM, 8.ISAIAS, 9.Baba DIAWARA, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Sergio CIRIO, 12.Mark OCHIENG, 15.Ben WARLAND, 17.Nikola MILEUSNIC, 18.Riley McGREE, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 24.Jordan O'DOHERTY, 30.Daniel MARGUSH (gk), 92.Eli BABALJ

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 12.Mark OCHIENG (promoted), 15.Ben WARLAND (promoted), 24.Jordan O'DOHERTY (returns from injury)

Outs: 21.Tarek ELRICH (knee - season)

Unavailable: 23.Jordan ELSEY (knee - season)

Western Sydney Wanderers squad: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 2.Shannon COLE, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 7.Steven LUSTICA, 8.DIMAS (c), 10.Nicolás MARTÍNEZ, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 13.Bruno PIÑATARES, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 17.Aritz BORDA, 18.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 21.Mario SHABOW, 24.Terry ANTONIS, 29.Ryan GRIFFITHS, 49.Abraham MAJOK, 54.Kosta GROZOS

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 2.Shannon COLE, 13.Bruno PIÑATARES, 17.Aritz BORDA, 21.Mario SHABOW, 29.Ryan GRIFFITHS, 49.Abraham MAJOK, 54.Kosta GROZOS (all promoted)

Outs: 3.Jack CLISBY, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 14.Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 23.Lachlan SCOTT (all rested)

Unavailable: Jacob MELLING (back - indefinite)

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

A little under a year ago, the Reds defeated the Wanderers 3-1 in front of over 50,000 fans at the Adelaide Oval to claim their maiden A-League championship.

Fast forward to Saturday night and Adelaide's defence of 'the Toilet Seat' will officially come to an end as they have failed to qualify for the 2016-17 finals.

It has been a rapid fall from grace for Guillermo Amor's side, while Western Sydney are only in slightly better shape having snuck into the top six thanks to a late season surge.

The Wanderers are unbeaten in five A-League matches and could even finish fifth with a win in South Australia if Melbourne City defeat Perth Glory on Sunday.

McGowan hails Adelaide's important ACL victory

Both sides had AFC Champions League (ACL) commitments on Tuesday night with Adelaide securing a vital win away to Jeju United to stay in contention for a berth in the Round of 16, while Western Sydney lost 3-2 at home to FC Seoul to effectively exit the continental competition.

The home side will be looking to maintain their good form ahead of another must-win ACL game away to Gamba Osaka on April 25, while the Wanderers need to bounce back ahead of next week's elimination final where they are likely to face either City or Brisbane Roar.

The Red-and-Black drew 0-0 at home against Melbourne Victory last week despite having an extra player for over half an hour, while Adelaide lost 1-0 away to City.

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic has decided to rest Lachlan Scott, Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Jack Clisby, Scott Neville and Jumpei Kusukami from the starting XI that took on Seoul, with seven players earning promotion.

The Stats: A-League Top 6 Breakdown

Amor has recalled Jordan O'Doherty after a stint out with an ankle injury, while Marcelo Carrusca and Iacopo La Rocca - who aren't eligible for the ACL - will be available

With ongoing reports that Adelaide are in talks with ex-Fiorentina striker Gabriel Batistuta, this match at Coopers Stadium could be Amor's last A-League game in charge of the Reds.

ROUTE TO GOAL

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Popovic is set to bring veteran Brendon Santalab back into his starting XI for the trip to South Australia.

Santalab sat on the bench against Seoul as Scott played 90 minutes up front, with the teenager producing an impressive header in second-half stoppage time as Western Sydney mounted a late - if futile - charge.

Popovic's side have found their scoring touch in all competitions since mid-March and Santalab has been critical to that, with the 34-year-old scoring five goals, while Scott, Terry Antonis, Jaushua Sotirio and Rob Cornthwaite have each added two.

Despite two wins and two draws in their past five A-League games, Adelaide remain the worst scorers in the competition with just 23 goals from 26 matches.

The Reds have been dangerous from set-pieces recently though, with centre-back Dylan McGowan having scored in three of their past four games in all competitions, while mid-season recruit Baba Diawara has four in 10.

In the 3-1 win over Jeju, Kim Jae-sung scored a cracking opener, while McGowan and Riley McGree hit the back of the net in the second half to secure three points in the ACL.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Lachlan Scott. The 19-year-old scored his fourth goal in all competitions when he nodded Nico Martinez's cross inside the near post against Seoul. Scott has had a promising debut season and his ongoing improvement raises questions over why Popovic bothered to sign Ryan Griffiths in January.

FORM GUIDE (all competitions)

Adelaide United: WWDLW

Western Sydney Wanderers: WWWDL

PREDICTION

Adelaide United 1-1 Western Sydney Wanderers

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