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Australian Football: Reds look to close the gap

Adelaide United will look to keep the pressure on Melbourne City at the top of the A-League ladder when they entertain top-six hopefuls Sydney FC on Good Friday.

There are two games to look forward to as the busy Easter schedule gets underway, with Western United also in action against Central Coast Mariners.

Both games have plenty riding on them with just four games of the regular A-League season remaining.

Melbourne City opened up a five-point gap at the top of the ladder with a 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory on Wednesday night.

However, Adelaide can put the pressure back on with another three points against Sydney FC. It will not be easy though, as the Sky Blues have work to do to secure a place in finals and will be battling for their lives.

Western United are one of the sides chasing Sydney and could actually jump into the top six if they win and other results go their way.

The Mariners will have something to say about that though, as they attempt to keep their faint top-two hopes alive. Two exciting games in prospect, let’s take a closer look at both match-ups.

What:Western United v Central Coast Mariners
Where:Mars Stadium
When:15:00 (AEST) Friday 7th April, 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:Western 2.87, Draw 3.60, Mariners 2.37

Western’s recent revival has stuttered over the last couple of weeks, as they have failed to win in the last two games, but they remain in the hunt to play finals. 

Just two points separate them and Sydney FC, who sit in sixth, but they need to rediscover the form that recently saw them win three games on the bounce, if they are to make it. 

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The 1-0 loss to Brisbane would have been hard to take, as would the last-minute equaliser they conceded against Sydney last week. But they need to bounce back against the Mariners.

Central Coast are on a run of win one, lose one, and if that trend is to continue then Western will pick up the three points. The Mariners sit in third and probably out of the running for the second spot, while their place in finals is pretty much assured. 

So now it is a case of attempting to fine tune one or two things and peak for finals. Winning football matches is the way to do that and boss Nick Montgomery will be wanting some consistency.

Western have been handed a big boost as Josh Risdon returns from suspension, but Ramy Najjarine is ruled out through injury.

For Central Coast they have no fresh injury worries and Montgomery sticks with the same squad that beat Brisbane Roar 4-1 last weekend. 

Western United have conceded 40 goals this season, only Macarthur have let in more. Central Coast are the third top-scorers in the league so over 2.5 goals in the game can be backed at 1.57.

What:Adelaide United v Sydney FC
Where:Coopers Stadium 
When:17:00 (AEST) Friday 7th April 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:Adelaide 2.37, Draw 3.50, Sydney 2.87

Adelaide will look to continue their remarkable unbeaten streak at Coopers Stadium on Friday. The Reds have won the last four games on the bounce and are averaging four goals a game.

It is no wonder many are tipping them to go all the way and win the 2022/23 grand final.

Over 2.5 goals in the game can be backed at 1.53 and although Sydney FC will attempt to park the bus, it is rarely enough to stop Carl Veart’s men. 

The Reds also have goalscorers all over the park, but Nestory Irankunda continues to be the talk of the town and is priced at 2.60 to score at anytime during the game. 

Adelaide are boosted further by the news that both George Blackwood and Jay Barnett are back from injury. But it is not all good news, Isaias is out with a hamstring issue.

Sydney FC have won just one game in the last six, but have somehow managed to hold on to sixth spot. Steve Corica’s men are riding their luck a little and they need to pick up to make sure of a finals berth. However, it does not get much harder than Adelaide away at the moment.

The good news is star striker Adam Le Fondre is back fit and in the side and should improve with every game. The Englishman can be backed at 5.00 to score the first goal. James Donachie and Paulo Retra also return from suspension and will be pushing to start at Coopers.

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