Match Preview: Wanderers v Adelaide

The Wanderers face their second A-League Men home match in a row as they welcome Adelaide United in a massive Friday night clash.

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The Wanderers have a point to prove after unfortunately suffering their first defeat of the season on Sunday when they were undone by a clinical Melbourne Victory side led by Bruno Fornaroli.

The Uruguayan-born striker scored four goals to put the Victory 4-1 ahead with 16 minutes to go, but the Wanderers once again showed their fighting spirit as they scored two goals thanks to Marcus Antonsson and debutant Valentino Yuel to set up a grandstand finish.

However, Melbourne were able to hold on, consigning the Wanderers to defeat and leaving them in fifth on the table.

Whilst the Wanderers ability to finish strongly was admirable, they need to avoid the slow starts that have seen them concede the first goal in their last two matches.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 29: Dylan Pierias of the Wanderers controls the ball during the Australia Cup 2023 Round of 16 match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Adelaide United at Marconi Stadium, on August 29, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

They will also certainly want to avoid losing a second home match in a row against an Adelaide side that has only won one of their last five matches.

The Reds – who finished third last year and qualified for the preliminary finals – have struggled to replace the lost of talismanic attacker Craig Goodwin, and have also been disappointing defensively, conceding 12 goals in their last four matches.

Their most recent match saw them fall to a poor 2-0 defeat at home to Brisbane Roar; despite the game being goalless at half-time, two goals in six minutes for Brisbane saw them take all three points and leave Adelaide in the top six on goal difference alone.

Adelaide did start the season well, defeating champions Central Coast 3-0 on opening night, before destroying Melbourne City 6-0, with wonderkid and future Bayern Munich player Nestory Irankunda scoring a brilliant free-kick.

However, just as their highs have been high, their low points have reached the depths, as they fell to a humbling 5-1 defeat to our crosstown rivals back in Round Four, and also fell to a defeat by the same scoreline the last time they met the Wanderers in the Australia Cup.

On that night at Marconi Stadium, Western Sydney started fast as Antonsson scored within two minutes, with the Swede scoring again in the half alongside Brandon Borrello to give the Wanderers a 3-0 lead at the break.

Borrello nabbed his second after half-time, whilst Milos Ninkovic also scored his first Wanderers goal, meaning Zac Clough’s goal was merely a consolation in the drubbing.

The two fixtures between the sides last season were both dramatic and high scoring; the first clash in Adelaide saw two goals in first half stoppage time to give the Reds a 2-1 advantage, before the sides swapped goals in a frantic second half that also saw the Wanderers reduced to 10 men.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 19: during the round 17 A-League Men’s match between Adelaide United and Western Sydney Wanderers at Coopers Stadium, on February 19, 2023, in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Adelaide held a 4-3 lead deep into stoppage time, before a remarkable solo goal from Amor Layouni on debut gave the Wanderers a last-gasp share of the points in a 4-4 draw.

In the return fixture a month later, both sides scored one in the first half, before two quick goals gave Adelaide the lead.

A first goal of the season for captain Marcelo gave the Wanderers hope, but in a feisty finish Adelaide were able to hold on for all three points and their first win over Western Sydney in six attempts.

Both managers will be hoping for less drama this time around, and for Marko Rudan, he will hope to see a solid defensive display as the side looks to climb the table again and continue their strong defensive record that has seen them keep four clean sheets so far this season