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Preview: Sydney Olympic FC vs Sydney FC – 24/11/21

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FFA Cup round of 32 – preview

Sydney Olympic FC vs Sydney FC

Belmore Sports Ground

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Kick off: 7:30 pm

Click here to discuss the game on the forum.

Preview by CountArach:

After a year off, the FFA Cup is back and we have been drawn in a Sydney derby against one of the mainstays of the NSL, Sydney Olympic.

Sydney Olympic will be well up for this game, keen to test their mettle against the professional outfit. Before lockdown brought a close to the NPL season, Olympic were sitting in mid-table with a record of 7 wins, 3 draws and 7 losses. With lockdown drawing that season to a close, it’s fair to say that Olympic will be out of form, however their team has been in training in preparation for this match. The biggest question mark going into this match is surely how fit and ready the NPL outfit will be and whether they will be able to go the full 90 minutes and potentially extra time against Sydney FC.

Olympic’s squad has some names that will be familiar to Sydney FC fans and fans of the A-League more broadly, though there has been a lot of turnover since July this year so it’s hard to say exactly what squad will be facing us. The biggest signing in the lead up to this game is Irish striker Roy O’Donovan, who will provide some quality finishing up front, though he certainly proved heavily reliant on service in his time in the A-League. We will have to wait and see if the NPL squad can give him the service he needs.

There’s a couple of things that might add some spice to this game. The name overlapping both clubs is Ante Juric, who in addition to being the head coach of Olympic’s men’s team, is also the Sydney FC W-League head coach. In addition to this, Max Burgess’ brother Darcy Burgess is in the Olympic squad and the two brothers may square off against each other. These two things will surely give some real bite to this derby occasion.

Former Sydney FC winger Fabio Ferreira plays for Olympic and scored 3 goals in the previous season. Keen Sydney FC watchers will also see former academy players Sam McIllhatton and Ben Van Meurs in this Olympic squad, both of whom were great prospects who were just short of the first team.

From Sydney’s perspective, after the 0-0 draw against Western Sydney and with a home game against Macarthur on Saturday, it is likely we’re going to see some rotation to ensure that the squad stays fresh. I’d expect Grant to get a well-deserved rest and to see Van der Saag or Retre come in at right back.

I’d also expect Brattan to come into midfield, having served his suspension, as this game is likely to give him some game time before his first A-League game on the weekend. We may also see Nieuwenhof get his first minutes of the season in midfield, depending on if Corica wants to start Caceres in midfield after his barnstorming first game of the season. At the very least, I’d expect the young midfielder to come off the bench in the second half to give someone a break.

It is unlikely that Ninkovic will start this game because it will be so vital for Corica to manage his minutes this season. Given that Corica brought Burgess on for the Serbian maestro in the derby, I’d expect that Burgess will be starting in his place as our wide playmaker.

I’d personally be keen to see Wood start ahead of Buhagiar up front in this particular game, just to provide some starting minutes to the young striker. Plus, I think the high pressing game that Wood is so good at will help to rattle an Olympic side with very few recent competitive minutes.

Another big question going into this game is if we will see a cupset. So far in the Cup the A-League clubs have managed to deal with the NPL opposition fairly convincingly as many of them were forced to cut their season short. Sydney FC have played NPL or lower opposition 11 times in previous Cup games and has won all 11 of those games. In addition, Sydney FC has only failed to get past the round of 32 once in its history. If those stats are anything to go by, Olympic will have their work cut out for them.

The winner of this match will host Macarthur FC in the round of 16.

Click here to discuss the game on the forum.