Fit-again Adelaide United striker Baba Diawara could be Marco Kurz’s Finals Series wildcard
Few footballers have endured injury misfortune like Baba Diawara, but could the fit-again forward be shaping up as Adelaide United’s lucky charm?
Diawara, 31, came off the bench and scored his first goal in over 12 months in last Thursday’s 5-3 win over Brisbane Roar.
It marked a triumphant comeback from yet another injury-troubled campaign for the former La Liga forward, who underwent keyhole surgery to his knee last December.
Feature image: Diawara in action against Western Sydney Wanderers in 2017
And although it would otherwise seem folly for Adelaide to pin their title hopes on striker who has played just 43 minutes of football this season, Diawara’s availability now ensures the Reds have the focal point they have sorely required all campaign.
The sight of the Senegalese striker back in action on ANZAC Day will have pleased no one more than Marco Kurz, who hinted that he would have no hesitation over making Diawara his last throw of the dice as Adelaide boss.
“You can see he can make the difference in the box,” Kurz told media after Adelaide’s win over Brisbane.
“He’s a finisher.”
If Adelaide are to stake a claim for silverware, they’ll need to ease the attacking reliance on Craig Goodwin, who has directly contributed 19 of the team’s 37 goals this season from wide.
That dependence on Goodwin’s clinically proven but overworked left foot has hindered any brewing quest for Hyundai A-League silverware in the City of Churches.
However, the emergence of George Blackwood (two goals in consecutive matches) and return of Diawara gives Kurz and Adelaide plenty of optimism when Melbourne City arrive in the City of Churches for next Sunday's do-or-die stand off.
Adelaide have demonstrated they can rise to the occasion on home turf - as shown in their FFA Cup 2018 win and defeat of Melbourne Victory in Round 26 - and the presence of Diawara will only bolster their chances of sending City packing.