A defence like no other: can an unpenetrated Adelaide keep it going?

Adelaide are into the FFA Cup Semi-Finals for the third time in their history.

Under the guidance of Marco Kurz for the second season and with a second off-season to cement his ideas, United seem to be taking the message on board.

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It would appear so at the back end of the pitch especially, given Adelaide haven’t conceded in their three FFA Cup matches so far.

Is that a run they can keep going in Friday night’s clash with Bentleigh Greens?

The players

Scott Galloway and Mikel Jakobsen are the new faces in the Adelaide backline this year, and both played in the 2-0 win over APIA Leichhardt in the FFA Cup 2018 Quarter Finals.

Jakobsen is an incredibly handy pick-up, a player who can organise and execute superbly well in defence and has already added mettle to the Adelaide backline.

Isaías and Marco Boland are two key international names in the centre of midfield who keep things tight further up the park, as does new Dane Ken Ilsø.

Tasuku Sekiya
Jakobsen (right) is key in Adelaide's backline.

Two of the most advanced players in Craig Goodwin and Ben Halloran both have experience playing as deeper wide midfielders rather than the wingers that Kurz likes to deploy.

This means they’ll understand their defensive duties, and be able to carry them out with aplomb.

The stats

Rather than rely on physical strength and aggressive tackling to get by against NPL NSW side APIA Leichhardt, Adelaide instead relied on their prime positioning and game knowledge.

It’s something that showed up in the stats, with the Reds making 13 interceptions and making just 10 tackles – in comparison to APIA’s 13 tackles.

Also backing this up is the stats count, with Adelaide conceding just 15 fouls and picking up a solitary red card in the Quarter Final clash.

Adelaide APIA
Baba Diawara defends from the front for Adelaide.

Clearing their lines and re-organising is something which is also key to the Adelaide defence, given they made 36 clearances in that match.

The opposition

Looking to break through the Adelaide brick wall this weekend will be Bentleigh Greens, who have proved lethal this season in both the NPL Victoria and FFA Cup.

They finished the NPL Victoria season with the third-best attack in the league, 53 goals scored, at an average of just over two a game.

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Out of those 26 league games, there were only three in which they were held scoreless, which means they’ve scored in 31 of their 34 competitive matches so far this season including FFA Cup and finals matches.

There’s been plenty written about the strength amongst the Bentleigh ranks too, with the likes of Tyson Holmes and Chris Lucas looking to make a name for themselves and get on the scoresheet.

Keep in mind too, that Bentleigh Greens have already beaten Hyundai A-League opposition this season. Wellington Phoenix were their first victim in the FFA Cup.

Tyson Holmes Bentleigh Greens
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This article was originally published on the FFA Cup website.
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