The A-League is back for a frantic month of football action to crown a champion for the 2019-20 season. In-form Adelaide United are still on the finals precipice, while front-running Sydney FC are aiming to dig themselves out of a rut.
History: Played 45: Sydney 19 V Adelaide 19 (8 Draws)
Last meeting: January 4, 2020: Sydney 2 d Adelaide 1 at Jubilee Oval
Final Thoughts: Adelaide United are desperate to lock down their place in the top six. Table-topping Sydney FC needs to arrest a losing streak and regain momentum before the finals. The scene is a set for a classic duel at ANZ Stadium.
Adelaide are sixth with two rounds remaining. They are four points ahead of Western United, who have and extra two games in hand.
But United – who lost their last four before the season’s suspension – have been one of the A-League’s best since the restart. The Reds bookended a 1-all draw with the high-flying Phoenix with wins over the Roar (1-0) and Glory (5-3).
Norwegian striker Kristian Ospeth scored in all three games.
Sydney FC wrapped up the Premiers Plate with their 3-1 defeat of Wellington in the A-League’s return match.
But the defending champs have since sunk to losses to Newcastle (2-1) and Melbourne City (2-0). Luke Brattan’s one-week suspension doesn’t help, while Rhyan Grant is out with a groin injury.
Sydney FC are unbeaten in their last 11 against Adelaide and have won the last four straight.
A first-half brace from Adam le Fondre and Ryan MacGowan’s 87th-minute winner secured a 3-2 result in Week 1. Paulo Retre was the star of a 2-1 win in Week 13, scoring two first-half goals in the space of six minutes.
Sydney remain the better team with more firepower and class, but they’re in a bit of a funk. All the momentum is with Adelaide. Just four of the A-League’s 17 games since the restart has finished in a draw, but that is the way this showdown is heading.
Meanwhile, the over looms as a value option with 19 of Adelaide’s 24 games and 15 of Sydney’s 23 games producing three-plus goals.