Four things Perth Glory need to do to win the Semi-Final
It has been a historic season for Perth Glory in the Hyundai A-League but Tony Popovic and his players still have unfinished business.
While the Premiers Plate is already locked away in the trophy cabinet, it’s the championship that they really want.
HOW TO WATCH: Both of this weekend's do-or-die Hyundai A-League Semi-Finals
SEMI-FINAL 1 PREVIEW: Perth Glory v Adelaide United
And the first step to achieving that aim is a clash with Adelaide United at HBF Park in a massive Semi-Final on Friday night (kick-off at 8.30pm AEST).
Here’s four steps for Glory to take if they are to overcome the Reds and qualify for the club’s second-ever Grand Final.
Run the Reds ragged
Glory boss Tony Popovic was an interested spectator at Coopers Stadium on Sunday night and he would have been delighted to see that Adelaide United needed energy-sapping extra-time to get past Melbourne City.
The Reds players are sure to still be a little sore after playing 120 gruelling minutes just five days prior to kick-off on Friday night.
Perth should look to play the match at a fast pace, testing the stamina of the visitors who could fade as the match progresses.
It’s interesting to note that 15 of Perth’s 56 goals (27%) this season have come in the last 15 minutes of matches. Adelaide have been warned.
Handle the finals pressure
While the Glory performed sensationally right the way through the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 campaign, do-or-die finals football brings a different type of pressure.
Especially when you are the premiers and are expected to have little trouble seeing off a less-fancied rival to book the club’s first Grand Final appearance in seven years.
It will be up to Popovic and his staff to ensure the weight of expectation does not become overwhelming.
If Glory’s players can be brave enough to continue playing their signature aggressive, attacking style without fear, their quality should be enough to get past the Reds.
Get the ball to ‘King Castro’
If there’s one player with the spark to set this game alight, it’s Glory skipper Diego Castro.
You can be sure Reds boss Marco Kurz will spend much of this week trying to devise a plan to nullify the silky Spaniard.
Castro, who some believe is the Hyundai A-League’s greatest-ever player, has the ability to unlock any defence with his eye for a pass and ability to find space around the opposition’s penalty area.
No matter what plan Adelaide have for Castro, Glory must do all they can to get him on the ball in the attacking areas as often as possible.
Stick to the process
It’s a line most coaches like to use when things work well and that’s certainly the way forward for Glory against Adelaide.
Of all the clubs still in the hunt for the title this season, Perth have enjoyed most success against the Reds – Popovic's charges are unbeaten in all three meetings, have yet to concede a goal and have scored four times.
Glory were in control of all of those meetings, dominating possession and field position before pouncing on any mistake or opportunity.