The season’s two best teams come together with a place in the Grand Final on the line as Campbelltown City hosts Adelaide City in the PlayStation 4 National Premier League South Australia Major Semi Final First Leg at Steve Woodcock Sports Centre on Saturday.
By Luca Cetta, courtesy FFSA
Campbelltown ended the minor round in second, four points adrift of Adelaide City. The Red Devils saw their 15-match unbeaten run ended by local rivals Adelaide Blue Eagles last weekend, 1-0.
Lui Ditroia said it was disappointing for Campbelltown’s momentum to be halted.
“We came in 15 games unbeaten and to go down in a derby is a disappointment,” he said.
“We played well considering the conditions and controlled most of the game. They put their chance away and we didn’t put ours away.
“It’s a good learning curve going into the finals.”
Campbelltown, champions in 2013, is seeking a first victory over Adelaide City in over two years.
And after sealing its first season goal, Ditroia said the aim is to now reach the decider.
“Our goal was to make the finals and we’ve done that. It has been a great season so far. We know what we are capable of and want to go all the way.
“Preparations this week have not been too different. They are an attacking side, so we must work on transitions. That’s where they can be dangerous. We are looking forward to this challenge.
“Away goals make it interesting, but we look at it like a normal game. We are going out there to win.
“It’s first and second, so it will be a good game, the type you want to be involved in. Both teams know each other well and I can imagine it will be attacking.”
Adelaide City also fell to a final-day loss. The Black and Whites had their 12-match unbeaten run come to an end at the hands of MetroStars in a 2-1 result on Saturday, despite a strike from Daniel Filosi.
Coach Damian Mori said it wasn’t an ideal way to approach the finals series.
“We weren’t at our best against MetroStars. It was a reality check before the finals,” the coach said.
“We wanted to keep our recent momentum going and were there to get three points. Unfortunately we were unable to do that.”
Adelaide City took possession of top spot in Round 6 and held on firmly to the position to claim the minor premiership and reach the national NPL Finals.
Now Mori wants his players to finish the job and secure a first championship since 2010.
“We have changed the side a bit in recent weeks and are looking for continuity from this point.
“The away goal situation does not come into our thinking. We will look to play as we have all year. We want to go out and get a result.
“The players need to be at their best for 90 minutes in the finals, if not you get shown up.
“I know Joe [Mullen, Campbelltown City coach] well and they are a good team. They play good football, are enthusiastic and have good quality. I expect nothing less than in the previous meetings this season.”
Campbelltown City v Adelaide City
PlayStation 4 National Premier League South Australia Major Semi Final First Leg
When: Saturday, August 20th. Kick-off 3pm
Where: Steve Woodcock Sports Centre, Stradbroke Road, Newton
2. Shaun Harvey, 4. Iain Fyfe (C), 5. James Wilson, 6. Vasilis Parhas, 7. Luigi Ditroia, 8. Kento Hara, 9. Thomas Strain, 10. Jake Monaco, 11. Anthony Ture, 12. Jacob Williams, 14. Adam Piscioneri, 16. Kristos Stefanopoulos, 18. Keita Minomura, 20. Nicholas Harpas (GK), 23. Jake Halliday, 28. Joshua Negrean
Coaches: Joseph Mullen, Antonio Scalzi, Edward Scalzi Team Staff: Panfilo Ciccocioppo, Elio Bria
1. Ryan Veitch (GK), 2. Michael Acton, 3. Alexander Sunasky, 4. Shane Tobias, 5. Matthew Halliday (C), 6. Jordan Pudler, 7. Joel Allwright, 8. Paul Blefari, 9. Anthony Costa, 10. Nikola Mileusnic, 11. Nicholas Bucco, 12. Lewis Farquhar, 13. Daniel Filosi, 16. Thomas Love, 17. Mamadi Kamara, 20. Luke Ostbye, 21. Bradley Corbo, 22. Matthew Moore
Coaches: Damian Mori, Rick Cerracchio, David Miller Team Staff: David Cavaiuolo, Jack Evans
Campbelltown City: W W L
Round 20: Campbelltown City 4-1 Adelaide Olympic, Steve Woodcock Sports Centre
Round 21: Campbelltown City 2-0 Adelaide United, Steve Woodcock Sports Centre
Round 22: Adelaide Blue Eagles 1-0 Campbelltown City, Marden Sports Complex
Adelaide City: W W L
Round 20: Adelaide City 2-0 West Torrens Birkalla, Adelaide City Park
Round 21: Adelaide City 2-0 South Adelaide, Adelaide City Park
Round 22: MetroStars 2-1 Adelaide City, TK Shutter Reserve
Written by: Luca Cetta