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Sydney FC the fittest? Not so, says Lowe

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/04/2017 Emma Kemp

Graham Arnold has spent the entire A-League season waxing lyrical about Sydney FC's superior fitness.

But ask Kenny Lowe whether in-form Perth can keep up with the record-breaking premiers in Saturday night's blockbuster semi-final, and there's no doubt what he thinks.

"That's all bollocks that, isn't it," a relaxed Lowe quipped the day before Glory attempt to spring a major upset.

"It's just Arnie playing mind games with people.

"Everyone's fit, if they're not they wouldn't play."

Nothing could faze a serene Lowe in Sydney on Friday.

Not his fifth-placed side's underdog status - "we don't set the odds".

Nor the potentially worrying state of the Allianz Stadium pitch after Friday's NRL game - "you can have a game of cricket on it if you want, we're not bothered".

Whatever Lowe thinks about Sydney's fitness, the Sky Blues' ability to dominate rivals late in games is indisputable.

More than two-thirds of Sydney's 55 regular-season goals have come in the second half.

Of the 13 they've scored against Perth over three A-League games and one FFA Cup clash, eight were after the main break.

Meanwhile, Glory scored a little more than 40 per cent of their 53 regular-season goals in the second half of matches, but conceded almost half of their 53 conceded goals in the same period.

Their defence improved drastically in last week's 2-0 elimination-final triumph over Melbourne City, headlined by Dino Djulbic's man-of-the-match performance.

Lowe said the key - aside from big-game players - would be for Perth to stay tight while playing to their attacking strengths.

"All season long we've scored goals, (nearly) the same amount as Sydney, they've just been a smidgen tighter in defence," Lowe said.

In fact, Glory had the equal league-worst defence, while Sydney set another A-League record after they gave up just 12 goals in 27 games.

"If we can be frugal with that we've got a real opportunity in the game," Lowe said.

"Statistics say you're going to win one sooner or later, why can't it be this week?

"They have a very good side, don't get me wrong, and we need to be at our very best.

"But we're a dangerous side and we're more than capable of coming away with a win."

STATS THAT MATTER:

* Perth have won just two games from their past 10 visits to Allianz Stadium, though both came under Kenny Lowe's management.

* Sydney have never lost a finals game at Allianz (W4, D3) and scored four goals in each of their past two such fixtures.

* After their 2-0 win against City, Glory are looking for consecutive away wins for the first time since round 25 last season.

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