The biggest day in Australian football is finally here. After a long and arduous A-League season Melbourne host Adelaide in the Grand Final tomorrow. This rivalry is as big as, if not bigger than the Sydney FC V Melbourne rivalry, and no matter what happens, magician Sydney this Grand Final is bound to be a fiery encounter. The news is that Melbourne are the hot favourites, and rightly so, but Adelaide are more than capable of putting up a great contest.
Melbourne have had the wood on Adelaide this season. In the five games they’ve played each other, Melbourne have won each one and to add insult to injury, Adelaide haven’t scored at the Telstra Dome. The most recent match, in the major semi-final, Melbourne blew United off the park with a scintillating 4-0 display in an absolute mismatch. Their attacking weapons of Alsopp and Thompson gave Adelaide no chance. Even more impressive was Costa Rican World Cup player Carlos Hernandez, who was pulling all the strings from midfield. He has been one of the major success stories for foreign players in the A-League and it is little wonder than Melbourne is desperately trying to keep this little magician down under and extend his deal. Everything points to Melbourne, their form, UK News their home crowd advantage and their ability to play well against Adelaide. Adelaide fans don’t need to be reminded of the 2007 Grand Final where they were humiliated 6-0 at the Telstra Dome. Although strong, I don’t think Melbourne will repeat that sort of a result, but they will be favourites nonetheless.
So where does all of this leave Adelaide? Well, it doesn’t look good, but we must remember that they are in the Grand Final for a reason and are still a quality side. After the 4-0 thrashing they received from Melbourne last time, Adelaide coach Aurelio Vidmar blamed internal “politics” for the result and said that if this wasn’t removed that Adelaide would “never win anything”. This seemed to fire the Adelaide players up, and the team went into the Grand Final qualifier against Queensland as underdogs, yet got the result with a spectacular goal. Can the coach yet challenge the players and fire them up even more? He’s already said that they’d “never win anything”, but here’s a golden chance for them to win something. If they did win, elpais Adelaide would no longer be the “pissant town” as Vidmar described them in that infamous post-match rant. There is more than enough motivation there. Also, I don’t believe any team can lose to the same team five times in a single season and not learn anything from it. Adelaide should know Melbourne like the back of their hands now, and should know what they need to do to win. I think they’ll need to defend well and play on the break due to Melbourne’s potent attacking weapons who will be difficult to shut down on their home turf.
I think Melbourne will probably win, but if Adelaide can play to a plan and have a little bit of luck and upset cannot be ruled out. Either way it should be a great final.