Adelaide United eager for derby victory over rivals Melbourne Victory
Adelaide United regard their A-League elimination final against old foe Melbourne Victory next Sunday as a derby despite their several hundred kilometres separating them.
The sides clash at AAMI Park two days after Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar square off at the same venue, in the other game in the first weekend of finals.
Adelaide and Victory faced off in two of the first four A-League grand finals, both won by the Melbourne club. They have clashed four times this season with a win apiece and a draw in league combat and Adelaide winning their FFA Cup tie.
"The first [thing] I heard when I came to Australia was 'please win away against Victory,'" Adelaide coach Marco Kurz said. "I said 'why?' They said to me 'it's a derby and I said 'but it's 650 kilometres between the two cities.'
"But now after the three [A-League games] and also the Cup game I understood the rivalry. To me, it's a very good quarterfinal, two strong and good teams."
German midfielder Daniel Adlung, who scored one of his trademark long distance stunners in the final round 3-2 away win over Western Sydney on Sunday, has also quickly absorbed the significance of the rivalry.
"The boys told me about the history and that's one of the biggest derbies in Australia and it's always good," Adlung told AAP. "We expect a big fight. We have to recover and then prepare for the game next Sunday."
Fellow imports Johan Absalonsen and Papa Baba Diawara are playing more minutes as the finals approach, after each played just 11 of 27 games in the regular season.
"We get more experience back, in this part of the season especially in the finals it's very important," Adlung said.
Kurz said Absalonsen would ready to face Victory despite being kicked on the knee by Wanderers' youngster Keanu Baccus, who was sent off after the VAR reviewed the incident.
Senegalese striker Diawara, who scored a sublime goal with the outside of his foot from the edge of the area on Sunday, was taken off after just an hour, with Kurz saying it would have been risky to play him longer.
Adelaide should have captain and midfielder Isaias back next week. He was rested from Sunday's game, presumably because Kurz didn't want to risk him picking up a yellow card that would have got him suspended from the first week of finals.
Kurz said Adelaide felt comfortable playing away, where they have had six wins as opposed to five at home.