Manly United sits equal-third on the NSW National Premier League ladder, just one game ahead of their nemesis Sydney Olympic whom they play this Sunday at famous Belmore Sports Ground.
The teams’ most recent clash was a 2-0 win to Olympic in controversial circumstances.
Fourteen minutes into the final FFA Cup fixture before the Round of 32, Manly captain Jimmy Oates was sent off for a foul that the referee later conceded was not one.
Manly was gallant in defeat and attacked all night to create several chances. As Jack Fulton said, such was their domination of the second half, “it was like Olympic were the team with ten men”.
Yet goals remained elusive and United were eliminated from the Cup.
United Striker Dejan Pandurevic said his team is “up for a big battle on Sunday”.
“We’ve played against Olympic a few times this year and the results haven’t gone our way. We were reduced to 10 men very early on when we played them in the Cup. But we were still able to dominate possession and create chances.
“This weekend we’ve got senior players like Sam Gallagher and Dom Ferguson returning to the squad which has given us a massive boost in terms of depth and quality,” Pandurevic said.
Both teams have won 7 games this year though Manly has lost four while Olympic has lost seven. Manly has six draws to Olympic’s three.
Last weekend Olympic went down 1-0 to Mt Druitt Rangers after which Olympic coach Ante Juric admitted: “We were poor”.
“We didn’t hit our passes nor take the few opportunities we did create. We’re disappointed in a lot of ways with the result particularly in the way our attacks were breaking down before we reached the front third,” Juric said.
Conversely United coach Adam Griffith was upbeat after his team’s last-gasp 2-2 draw with Sydney FC.
“We kept pushing for a result. We were never defeated in that game because we kept the pressure up and we put our players in a position to score,” Griffiths said.
Kick-off is on Sunday at 4PM. See it live on NPL TV.