Sydney FC rested and ready for battle of the titans

Sydney FC defender Michael Zullo says Friday night’s blockbuster with Melbourne City has little relevance to the sides’ Westfield FFA Cup Final last week, won 1-0 by City after a rough and tough 90 minutes at AAMI Park.

However, Zullo refused to be drawn on whether Friday night’s clash with City will be all about revenge for Sydney FC, preferring to stress this was a different competition to the Cup. 

“It’s a home game and a very different scenario to last time we played them. And hopefully we can open up a nine-point gap,” he told reporters at the Sky Blues’ recovery on Monday. 

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“It’s a different competition [to the FFA Cup] it’s a new game and everything is on our side.” 

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Zullo refused to be drawn on the controversy around the Cup Final, one which saw Luke Brattan make a high-footed lunge on the Sydney FC left back, one which sparked an all-in melee and incensed the Sydney FC bench. 

“That game is behind us now. It happened. Obviously we really wanted to win that, but there are big things ahead. Still so many rounds left and this is a crucial game for us.”

Like City, Sydney are enjoying a few days of recovery from bumps and bruises following three games in a week following tough clashes with Adelaide, City and Jets on Sunday, where they won 2-0. 

Monday’s recovery at a Sydney beach was a relaxed affair as the players took in massages, stretching and swimming on a hot and humid day in the Harbour City. 

Zullo, who was sporting a large bruise at recovery, said a day of light training at the beach would help recharge the group. 

Sydney FC defender Michael Zullo controls the ball against the Reds at Allianz Stadium.

And he also noted the Hyundai A-League has become a much more physical league in recent years. 

“It’s a pretty physically demanding league than it once was. As for the stuff I copped [in the Cup Final], it is what it is.

“I just happened to be the one involved and I don’t think it was intentionally directed at me. It’s part and parcel of playing in big games.”

Zullo, who knew Brattan from their Brisbane Roar days, said he hadn’t spoken to the City man since the final.

Michael Zullo.

“It is what it is. They were physical and we’re physical too. And we’re just going to worry about our game and not worry about the politics or the tactics behind it.

“Momentum is on our side and I love playing at ANZ Stadium. It’s a massive game and a critical one for the rest of the season.”