Adelaide United take on Central Coast Mariners at Coopers Stadium on Wednesday evening to book a spot in the inaugural FFA Cup final and a chance to make history.
A place in the decider of the first ever FFA Cup would be fitting reward for a team that has, so far, swept all before them in 2014.
[quote]Unbeaten in the A-League, the Reds have also looked all-class in the knock-out competition, accounting for fellow A-League clubs in Wellington Phoenix, Brisbane Roar and Sydney FC to get to the semi-final stage.[/quote]
Unbeaten in the A-League, the Reds have also looked all-class in the knock-out competition, accounting for fellow A-League clubs in Wellington Phoenix, Brisbane Roar and Sydney FC to get to the semi-final stage.
The Mariners, by contrast, are struggling with only one win from four matches in the league, the latest outing ending in a 1-0 defeat to Perth Glory on Sunday.
Central Coast have also had a relatively easy run to the last four of the cup, with victories coming against second-tier clubs in South Coast Wolves, Olympic FC and Palm Beach Sharks.
United will be without the services of injured striker Bruce Djite, but have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to both setting up and scoring goals.
Marcelo Carrusca, Sergio Cirio, Awer Mabil, Isais, Pablo Sanchez and Bruce Kamau are all dangerous players that have shown been in good form in recent weeks and will take some stopping.
Backed up by the defensive work of Tarek Elrich, Nigel Boogaard and goal-keeping captain Eugene Galekovic, the Reds have been impressive all over the park, with a system that the players understand and have been implementing well.
The Mariners will be up against it, but that is the beauty of the cup – form counts for nothing and there is no tomorrow.
The team from Gosford also have a history of against-the-odds results, so Josep Gombau’s men will need to be switched on for the entire 90 minutes.
No doubt early goals will be crucial and this is what he will be telling his players before the game.
They will need to play with the confidence and freedom that they have shown so far in 2014 – if they do that, the goals should come.
United will also be buoyed by the fact they will be in front of their fans – the Reds are unbeaten in the last 12 matches in Adelaide.
Mariners coach Phil Moss will most likely use his team’s underdog status as motivation for his players in the hope it may spur them on to something great.
Neither team will be giving away its chance at history, which should make for a cracking game.
Will the Reds make the final?