A-League Preview: Sydney poised to play finals
Sydney FC are in the box seat to cement a spot in the A-League finals with the regular season coming to an end over the weekend.
Led by star captain Alessandro Del Piero, Sydney produced a convincing performance to dispose of Wellington Phoenix 4-1 in wet conditions at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.
The Sky Blues are three points clear of the Newcastle Jets heading into their clash with Perth Glory on Sunday as the race for the sixth and final top-six position concludes.
And the scenario is relatively straightforward for Sydney, avoid defeat and finals football is assured.
But if Frank Farina's men happen to lose, it opens the door for the Jets, who welcome fourth-placed Adelaide United to Hunter Stadium on Friday.
Although the task is a little more complicated for the Jets even if they win.
With Sydney (+1) boasting a superior goal difference to that of Newcastle (-2), it means the Jets would need to win by at least three goals to stand any chance of qualifying.
And Clayton Zane's outfit will be up against an Adelaide side who also have plenty to play for.
Adelaide are level on 38 points alongside Melbourne Victory, but one point adrift of second-placed Western Sydney Wanderers (+4) , who are ahead of defending champions the Central Coast Mariners (-5) on goal difference.
The Wanderers (away to Melbourne Heart), Mariners (away to Brisbane Roar), Victory (away to Wellington) and Adelaide are all in contention to finish second and secure the week off with premiers Brisbane Roar.
Western Sydney's destiny is in their own hands, with victory over lowly Heart at AAMI Park on Saturday ensuring a second successive top-two finish.
A draw or loss would present the Mariners, Adelaide and Victory with the opportunity to claim that coveted position.
The clash in Melbourne marks former Liverpool, Leeds United and Galatasaray attacker Harry Kewell's last match before he retires.
Central Coast, who were surprisingly beaten by Perth last weekend, are in action against high-flying Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, while Victory go head-to-head with the second-bottom Phoenix at Westpac Stadium earlier that day.