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  • 13 October 2012
  • • 17:30
  • • Allianz Stadium, Sydney
  • Referee: C. Beath
  • • Attendance: 35419

A-League preview: Sydney FC v Newcastle Jets

A-League preview: Sydney FC v Newcastle Jets


The league's two highest-profile marquee men face off on Saturday, in what is expected to be in front of a record crowd at Allianz Arena Indonesia   By GOAL.COM


Emerton, Ryall, Griffiths, Fabio
Abbas, Reid, McFlynn
Chianese, Del Piero, Lovrek


Neville, Mitchell, Ritter, Goodwin
Kantarovski, Wheelhouse, Zadkovich
Ribeiro, Heskey, Griffiths

A record regular-season crowd for Sydney FC is expected for this one, with Italian star Alessandro Del Piero to make his home debut against former England international and new Jets marquee Emile Heskey.

The Sky Blues got the better of the Jets on the final day of last season to beat them to a finals spot and this clash should be just as dramatic.

There should also be plenty of desperation after both clubs slumped to disappointing opening-round defeats.

Sydney will be forced into one change with young midfielder Terry Antonis ruled out due to concussion.

But the Sky Blues' disjointed performance in the loss to Wellington is likely to see coach Ian Crook tinker with his line-up, with Paul Reid, Ali Abbas, Yairo Yau and Sebastian Ryall all a chance to force their way into the starting side.

Crook spent all off-season trying to get his side ready to play a largely possession-based game but the Sky Blues struggled to pull it off against Wellington last Saturday.

Sydney lacked any continuity in their play, and both Phoenix goals coming from their own mistakes.

If the Sky Blues are to get Del Piero into the game and create more going forward, they will need to take care of the ball.

They will be helped by the addition of former Australia international Jason Culina, whose one-year deal was confirmed on Friday.  But Saturday may come too soon for a Sky Blues debut against his one-time club.

Meanwhile, the home fans had not even got through their first song about new signing Heskey when the Jets found themselves down 1-0 last weekend against Adelaide.

Gary van Egmond's side were forced to play catch-up immediately and, while they looked impressive in patches, the Reds were able to hold them at bay to come away with a win.

The Jets will have a change in goal after Mark Birighitti was sent off in the 2-0 defeat to Adelaide, and Ben Kennedy will come in as his replacement.

Connor Chapman and Adam Taggart - the latter of who started in the loss to the Reds - are on Young Socceroos duty and have been replaced in the squad by Taylor Regan and Jacob Pepper.

Brazilian Bernardo Ribeiro could be the one to replace Taggart up front, in what would be his debut.

Former Jet Ali Abbas may have started on the bench against the Phoenix for the Sky Blues, but Sydney's poor showing is likely to see the Iraqi international unleashed from the start on Saturday.

Abbas will have a point to prove against the Jets and, given his form during the pre-season, it was a surprise Crook left him out in Wellington.

His combination with Del Piero has a lot of potential and it may just be the difference between the sides on Saturday.

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