City boss tips tight Reds A-League tussle

Melbourne City coach Warren Joyce is expecting a tough A-League clash with Adelaide United.Melbourne City coach Warren Joyce is forecasting a torrid tussle against Adelaide United in Sunday’s A-League game.
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Joyce is wary of his Adelaide counterpart Marco Kurz’s ability to recast the playing style of his team in what looms as a crucial early-season fixture at Coopers Stadium.

Kurz’s fourth-placed Reds have banked 11 points this season, just one more than the fifth-placed City.

Adelaide’s wretched stretch of injuries to frontmen has continued with attacker Apostolos Stamatelopoulos ruled out by a thigh injury.

Stamatelopoulos had been carrying Adelaide’s frontline in the absence of first-choice strikers George Blackwood (broken collarbone) and Baba Diawara (knee).

But Joyce says the attacking absences merely make Adelaide harder to plan for.

“They have not really got an out-and-out centre-forward at the minute,” Joyce said.

“They play in different ways.

“You know it’s not going to be an easy game. They give every team that they play against a tough game.”

City, again to be without out-of-favour striker Bruno Fornaroli, enter the clash with a fine recent record against the Reds, who haven’t beaten Joyce’s outfit in the past four meetings.

But Joyce said that record belied what had been typically tight encounters, apart from City’s 5-0 romp against Adelaide early last season.

“We have had a lot of real battles with them,” he said.

“We have tended to play them in a couple of pre-season friendlies; we have had them in (FFA) cup games so you know all about them.

“They’re a well-organised side. They’re coached by a really good coach … they compete.”

STATS THAT MATTER:

* City are winless in their past five games outside Melbourne, with four losses and one draw

* Adelaide have lost just once in their past 10 games at Coopers Stadium, banking four wins and five draws in that stretch

* City haven’t lost to Adelaide in the past four meetings, keeping three clean sheets in those fixtures.

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