Sydney FC v Perth: battle of the Balkan ballers


​The Hyundai A-League completes Round 6 on Sunday with a blockbuster. But where will this be won? We reckon midfield could decide things on Sunday at Allianz.

Serbian stars face off: Nebo v Ninko

Milos Ninkovic has been one of Sydney FC’s best in the first five weeks. His ability to find space in the front third and link up with Brosque and Bobo has been a feature of the Sky Blues attack. 

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Two goals and two assists so far shows just how influential Ninkovic has been. 

Sydney FC players celebrate Milos Ninkovic's second-half strike against Newcastle Jets.

But Glory have their own Balkan baller in Nebojsa Marinkovic. 

In a Perth midfield that has the power and work-rate from the likes of Griffiths, Williams and Wilson, “Nebo” provides that extra bit of quality and creativity to break open defences and feed the front men. 

This match-up will be riveting and one for the real football purists. Whichever Serbian sensation can make the biggest mark on the day may lead their side to victory.

Who knows, Glory’s Serbian Milan Smiljanic or Sky Blue Milos Dimitrijevic may also step up in midfield for the Serbian connection on Sunday? 

Glory players celebrate Nebo Marinkovic's goal in their 2-0 win over Wellington Phoenix.

But there’s so much more to this clash…

Battle of the coaches: Arnie v Kenny

It will be worth keeping an eye on the two men at the head of the respective benches at Allianz Stadium. 

Graham Arnold and Kenny Lowe are not only two of the more experienced coaches in the Hyundai A-League but also two of the great characters of the competition. 

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold on the sideline at ANZ Stadium in Round 1.

Coming to the home of the league-leaders, Lowe is likely to set up his side to absorb pressure, deny space in the middle of the park and then with Castro, Harold and Keogh hit on the counter. It was a formula that worked so well against Melbourne City last month as Glory shutdown Fornaroli, Cahill and Co and made the most of their opportunities, coming away from AAMI Park with a 3-2 win.

But the Sky Blues are a different proposition than gung-ho City. 

They won’t attack with abandon and leave themselves so exposed at the back. Arnie’s men are also quite smooth in transition but also more structured and methodical in the way they try and break teams down.

Manager of the round: Kenny Lowe (Perth Glory)

In a game where there won’t be much between the sides, the tactical breakdown will be huge in deciding this fascinating contest. 

Keogh v Bobo

Most successful sides have genuine goal-scorers and that’s certainly the case for Sydney and Perth. 

While Bobo hasn’t scored since his round two tap-in against the Mariners, what he does for those around him in Sky Blues attack hasn’t gone unnoticed. 

Bobo starred on his starting debut for Sydney FC.

He often draws a couple of defenders with his clever runs but also has excellent close control and strength to keep the ball under pressure. 

Andy Keogh is a different type of striker but just as effective. The Irishman just doesn’t stop for Glory, getting through a stack of work defensively and always a threat in and around the box. He is one of five players at the top of the scoring charts with four goals from five matches. 

Sydney’s defence has been reasonably untroubled in the 2016/17 Season but will have their work cut out dealing with Keogh. 

Then there’s Chris Harold, Adam Taggart and Diego Castro for the visitors. And Alex Brosque, Bernie Ibini, Filip Holosko and Matt Simon in the Sky Blue attack. 

Perth Glory players celebrate one of Andy Keogh's goals against City on Friday night.

Wherever you are, don’t miss this one. 

So many attacking threats, creative ballers and wily coaches with three precious points on the line. And with a Westfield W-League game also on the day, all roads should lead to Moore Park on Sunday.