United has had a fortnight to refresh and prepare for its 2008/09 finals tilt, and with the opening leg at home against the newly crowned Hyundai A-League Minor Premiers, The Reds are hoping to make it count heading into the 2nd leg at the Telstra Dome on Saturday week.
taking all nine points from the teams’ previous encounters this season,
United Coach Aurelio
Vidmar believes it stands for nothing coming into
a finals series.
“The finals bring different things forward, and
everyone starts thinking a little bit different because of that word,”
“We’ve had three pretty tough games with
them (this season), albeit losing games, but I think we’ve certainly
learnt a fair bit from those three games and we’ll tweak a few little
things tomorrow and hopefully we can get on top.”
Talented defender Scott
Jamieson shares Vidmar’s views and says any past results
against the Victory have been forgotten.
“It’s a different ball game now,
it’s finals football. The past doesn’t matter and we’re very
confident that we’re going to do a job and get to the Grand Final,”
With the two sides featuring in a Major Semi Final
for the second time in three seasons, the history of Adelaide
encounters is set for another enticing chapter over the next week.
admits the matches always prove to be exciting and fiery battles and he expects
tomorrow night’s to be no different.
Melbourne Victory Captain Kevin Muscat has been a central figure in the history between
the two sides, but Vidmar is not being drawn into any Muscat intimidation factor.
“There’s eleven versus eleven and Muscat is not the only one
in the team,” Vidmar said.
“He (Muscat) doesn’t just talk to the
opposition players, he talks to his own, he talks to the referee, he talks to
the linesmen, he probably talks to the fourth official and the people in the
stands as well. He’s been around for a long time and he’s just on
the ball with a lot of things.”
Reds defender Robert Cornthwaite will
miss the game as he serves a one match suspension, but United welcomes back key
centre back Sasa Ognenovski after
he missed the final minor round game against the Central Coast Mariners for the same reason.
Vidmar has hinted that veteran Michael Valkanis will partner Ognenovski in
the centre of defence, the 34 year old with a wealth of finals experience
having been part of The Reds’ previous two Hyundai A-League finals
New midfield signing Rostyn Griffiths has been included in an extended United
squad, while Qantas Young Socceroos defender Daniel
Mullen is back in full training after a knee injury and could also
come under consideration to make the final 16 man squad, which Vidmar is
expected to finalise after training this afternoon.
Despite falling just short of finishing on top of the
table in the final round of the season, Adelaide
created numerous chances in its last outing and Vidmar believes if his team can
make its opportunities count, The Reds have the potential to cause the Victory
“I was really encouraged by the performance of
our team against the Central
Coast a couple of weeks
ago and we could have scored three or four goals but the ball just didn’t
want to go in,” Vidmar said.
“But I’m very confident that we’ll
continue to create chances.”
The Victory are at full
strength, but United will approach the game confident it can handle the
pressure and perform in the big occasions due to their experience in the AFC Champions League Final.
“Leading up into these finals, it probably puts
us in a pretty good position that we’ve actually been able to taste a
final of that magnitude so I’d say it certainly puts us in good
stead,” Vidmar said.