Sydney To Avoid Glory Daze

Image courtesy of fifa.com/Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Sydney FC will call on stars like Alessandro Del Piero to guide them into the finals. Image courtesy of fifa.com/Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Sydney FC v Perth Glory 
Allianz Stadium
Sunday April 13 at 4.00pm (AEST)

Head-to-head:
Played: 26, Wins: Sydney 12, Glory 6, Draws 8

Previous encounter:
Sydney 2-1 Glory, February 15 2014

Form:
Past five matches:
Sydney: WDLDW
Glory: WWLLD

The Game:
Sydney FC are on the verge of qualifying for the finals series but will have an idea of what needs to be done before their clash with Perth Glory at Allianz Stadium. The Sky Blues occupy sixth spot, three points ahead of the Newcastle Jets heading into the final round of the season. Defeat of a draw for the Jets on Saturday would secure Sydney's finals spot before a ball has been kicked on Sunday. Victory for Newcastle, by more than three goals, would mean Frank Farina's men must claim at least a point against the Glory, who have won two on the bounce. The Sky Blues boss has called for more consistency from his players leading into the finals and a third game without defeat would provide the perfect springboard for a tilt at the title.

The big issue:
Sydney – Consistency. The Sky Blues have shown glimpses of their potential without sustaining it. Sydney won four consecutive games in November but never really built on that form, winning six games since December. Farina may have just found the solution in Australian defender Sasa Ognenovski. The towering veteran has added leadership, passion and discipline to a defence that has struggled for most of the season.

Glory – Perth have been a woeful away from nib Stadium this season. Just one win from 13 games on the road is an unacceptable return for a team that had serious finals aspirations. Since edging the Jets in January, Kenny Lowe's men have collected one point from a possible 18, leaving them eight points adrift of the top six. And while their campaign may be over, victory would ensure a positive ending to a disappointing season.

The game breaker: Alessandro Del Piero
Age is no limit, especially for Del Piero. The Italian maestro played a leading role in the club's drubbing of the Wellington Phoenix last time out, scoring twice and setting up another. He may not have the pace that he once had, but he has the smarts to change a game in an instant. His 10 goals this season is proof of his undoubted class.

Prediction: Sydney 2-1 Glory
Perth will be desperate to avoid the wooden spoon. The Glory sit two points above bottom side Melbourne Heart. If that is not enough motivation, Jacob Burn's last game before retirement may just do the trick. But try as they might, Perth will face an uphill task against a team in the midst of a four-game unbeaten streak at home.

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