Bite-sized news for you to chew over - Boogaard expecting tough ACL clash, Olympiakos eyeing good performance in Australia and much more
Nigel Boogaard is expecting to face a "tougher" side when his Adelaide United meet Bunyodkor in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday, but left little doubt as to what the Reds' goals are. United have recovered from a poor A-League campaign to lead Group E of the ACL after four matches. A win over Bunyodkor - like they claimed in the corresponding match in Tashkent earlier in the group stage - would put the Reds on the brink of clinching top spot in the group. That could mean an easier match in the first knockout stage, though Boogaard is expecting Bunyodkor to be a challenge now the Uzbek club's season is in full swing. "Hopefully, if we qualify for the Round of 16 first in the group, we can have a home match for that and get the home-ground advantage again," Boogaard told The Adelaide Advertiser.
Olympiakos coach Ernesto Valverde wants his side to put on a good performance for their supporters in Melbourne when they play in the Victorian capital on May 19. The newly crowned Greek Super League champions will take on Melbourne Victory in a friendly at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, and Valverde knows he will be able to count on plenty of local support. "We are happy to be going there because we know we will give the supporters of our team who live in Australia the chance to watch their beloved team from up close," he said. "We know that the Greek community there is very significant. There are many Greeks who have never been given the chance to watch Olympiakos play and as we will have played all our official games by that time, we will have enough time to travel there; we are proud to be doing that and to be offering our fans the opportunity to attend this game."
A-League clubs continue to reveal their players of the season, with Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United crowning their champions on Saturday. Victory's top award was won by goalkeeper Ante Covic, who only joined the club days before the A-League season opener against Sydney FC. He held out marquee man Harry Kewell by two votes, with Archie Thompson and Fabio equal third. For Adelaide, Zenon Caravella made it a debut season to remember by holding off fellow midfielder Osama Malik and goalkeeper and captain Eugene Galekovic. Caravella played 25 of 27 matches, as the Reds finished ninth on the A-League table.
Football Federation Australia's fan forums into the identity of the new western Sydney team continue this week. With the club's ownership, coaching staff, playing strip, name and base leading the discussion points, forums will be held on at Wests Leagues Club in Leumeah on Tuesday and Bankstown Sports Club in Bankstown on Thursday.