The FFA Cup Final was a high-quality, high-octane game of football settled by Craig Goodwin’s two spectacular goals.
Goodwin’s goals added quality, but the real value in this match came from the atmosphere and intensity generated by both sides. External factors like attendance are often ignored in tactical analysis, but the contribution of the packed, fervent Hindmarsh crowd shouldn’t be ignored – it made the game feel very energetic and urgent, right from the start.
There were two tactical reasons for the chaotic nature of the game. Firstly, both teams focused on playing quick, early balls in behind the opposition
Steve Corica’s side, meanwhile,
The other tactical reason for this was the pressing from either side. Both teams had a similar starting shape when defending high up the pitch – a 4-4-2. The first task of the front two for both teams was to block passes into the opposition’s no.6s. When the ball was circulated from one side to the other, however, the nearest player in the first line of
There were slight modifications in either team’s structure, but the overall intent of their pressing was similar.
The two tactical features discussed sometimes went hand-in-hand – the defending team would press high, and because they both wanted to play early balls in behind, the attacking team would be happy to play a longer pass forward. This, in fact, partly explains Sydney’s equaliser: Sydney press high, force Adelaide into a long ball which is immediately returned forward, and Brosque runs from his high starting position to catch Jordan Elsey out and nip the ball away from Paul Izzo to win the penalty.
Where the game became particularly frenetic, though, was forward passes into midfield. In this zone, both teams had physical, mobile players who closed down their direct opponents ruthlessly. Both of Sydney’s no.6s, Josh Brillante and Brandon O’Neill, also ended up in wider areas, conceding fouls for aggressive pressure on Adelaide’s players. Unsurprisingly, every midfielder bar Brillante was booked.
These two tactical features contributed to the scrappy but enjoyable flow of the final. There was a large number of fouls as a result, and a lot of the game was also
Overall, the match was actually quite even, and a ‘draw’ would have been a fair result. Goodwin’s outstanding finishes were obviously the