Top Six Spots On The Line

Source: Getty Images/
Sydney FC is looking to rebound after a shock loss. Source: Getty Images/

Sydney FC desperately clings to fifth spot despite going down 2-1 to cellar-dweller Melbourne Heart last weekend. A week after humiliating Victory 5-0 in Melbourne, the Sky Blues came crashing back to earth in front of their adoring home fans. The sending-off of Orlando Engelaar and a goal by young striker Corey Gamiero had them sitting pretty at halftime. But a ten-man Heart took advantage of two woeful defensive lapses to snatch an unlikely win.

Fortunately for coach Frank Farina and his sky blue troops, other round 17 results went their way and they remained in fifth. However, the chasing pack has bridged the gap with just two points between Sydney and the ninth-placed Newcastle Jets. The defensive frailties have been obvious all season and to help stiffen the wall, the club this week signed Socceroos centre-back Sasa Ognenovski, with the 34-year-old in drafted straight into the squad to face the Reds. A huge danger stat for Sydney - it is without a clean-sheet in 10 league games against the Reds. 

Adelaide also tasted defeat at their last outing, going down 2-1 to Wellington Phoenix at Eden Park. It was the Reds' first defeat in their past seven games and they’re still in sixth, one point behind Sydney. The club released Steven Lustica and little-used defender Antony Golec this week, whilst signing Michael Marrone until the end of next season. Pending clearance, Marrone has been included in the squad. Michael Zullo is back after missing the Phoenix clash through injury.

Gamiero scored when the two sides played out a 2-2 draw a month ago. He turned 21 on match eve and would love nothing more than a belated birthday present of another goal and victory in front of his home supporters. This is a real possibility as the Reds have been successful just once in their last nine road trips.

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