MetroStars coach Robert Saraceno doesn’t want either of his rivals, Adelaide City or West Adelaide, to be relegated. But his club will play a part in the battle for the drop on Saturday night.
Metrostars coach Robert Saraceno will be a popular man with either the Adelaide City faithful or their West Adelaide relegation rivals on Saturday night.
In one of the most intriguing final minor NPL rounds in SA soccer history, a win for Saraceno’s MetroStars will see Adelaide City survive a possible first relegation in 72 years.
It win will also condemn MetroStars’ opponent West Adelaide at TK Shutter Reserve to State League 1 in 2020 after Metro beat City 4-2 last weekend to give Hellas hope of survival after its 1-1 draw with Olympic.
A loss for Metro and a loss for Adelaide City will see West survive the drop.
Saraceno said it’s not the ideal predicament for two of the biggest clubs in SA.
West is also giving up its home ground advantage due to its new venue Hellas Park Sportsplex being still under construction at Kilburn.
Photo credit: Adam Butler
“It’s a hard call, I spent all my playing life with Adelaide City and gone through the national soccer league with them but with West Adelaide I have a lot of friends there as well,’’ said Saraceno who is also a bricklayer.
“I’m a good friend of the coach Stav Gelekis and I know their chairman Alex Alexandrou really well, they’re such a great club and they have great history such as Adelaide City does.
“It’s obviously disappointing to see these great clubs fighting it out, I’d like to see them as much as possible in the top tier in this state.
“But I did play in a few derbies for Adelaide City against West Adelaide and remember my first one."
“It was a Johnnie Walker Cup game, I had a pretty rich history with Adelaide City and playing against West bring back really good memories of both clubs.”
Metro is currently sitting seventh, a point away from sixth-placed Blue Eagles.
The club can climb into — at the very highest fourth place — if it beats Hellas but at the same time a win won’t guarantee the club finals football.
MetroStars is at the mercy of the clubs sitting above them.
Photo credit: Adam Butler
These clashes — second-placed Raiders (36 pts) hosting Blue Eagles (32 pts) at the Croatian Sports Centre and ninth-placed Para Hills (27 pts) hosting fourth-placed Olympic (34 pts) at the Paddocks could still affect MetroStars top six hopes.
“The bonus is we’re playing at home,” Saraceno said.
“It’s a new (synthetic) ground and our home form hasn’t been fantastic, hopefully we can get it together on Saturday."
“I’ve still got a lot of players out (of action) like Michael D’Aloisio, Dylan Smith, Tommy Strain and Lachlan Barr but our squad we still think is good enough to win."
“We’ll go unchanged as we did last week when we beat Adelaide City (4-2).
“We’ve got through a really difficult year, we had injuries and other issues we’ve had a lack of form for about five or six weeks in the mid year which saw us going from second at one stage to sixth."
“We seemed to have turned the corner we’re up and about and in the last two weeks we have been really good."
“Our focus is to beat West Adelaide and to get into the top six."
“If we win it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re in the finals but it gives us a chance.”