City boss Joyce makes bullish claim ahead of Elimination Final against Adelaide
Melbourne City’s two-year supremacy over Adelaide United amounts for absolutely nothing as far as Sunday’s Elimination Final is concerned, according to Warren Joyce.
City were last defeated by the Reds in January 2017, a night that saw Mark Ochieng, now of National Premier Leagues side Adelaide Comets, score an iconic late winner for a 2-1 victory.
Since then, the Melbourne club are unbeaten against Adelaide – winning four of their previous seven. Joyce has been at the helm for the last six meetings, including a 2-0 win when the team last met at Coopers Stadium in December.
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But the 54-year-old Englishman, who declared City capable of beating anyone in the Hyundai A-League in Friday’s pre-Adelaide press conference, had a message of warning for his charges before Sunday’s do or die clash.
“If we’d lost every game that we’d ever played against them, it would have no relevance coming into this game,” Joyce said.
“The players are pretty confident that, whoever they play, if we’re at our maximum we can beat anybody.
“It’s a one-off game. It’s a cup tie, anything can happen in cup ties and we’ve got to make sure we’re at our very best.”
Both Adelaide and City – who finished the regular campaign as the competition’s second and fourth-lowest goal scorers - have preferred grit and graft over flair this campaign.
This has also been mirrored in their three meetings this term, two of which have been tense stalemates (1-1 in February, 0-0 in April).
The high-stakes nature of Sunday’s knockout could mean another arm-wrestle is imminent, and Joyce is anticipating a robust showing from Marco Kurz’s team.
“They’re a well-organised side, they’re experienced, they make good decisions, they don’t give up, they keep going, they can win,” Joyce said.
"They've got stars. [Craig] Goodwin has been as good a player in his position as any Australian or marquee player in the league.
“They’re an honest, well drilled team with no passengers.”