Reds target City marksman in FFA Cup final

Melbourne City marksman Jamie MacLaren has been identified as the prime threat by Adelaide United.
Melbourne City marksman Jamie MacLaren has been identified as the prime threat by Adelaide United.

Adelaide United captain Michael Jakobsen says only collective defensive excellence can quell Melbourne City's red-hot striker Jamie Maclaren in the FFA Cup final.

Maclaren enters Wednesday night's final at Adelaide's Coopers Stadium in stunning form with a dozen goals in seven matches this season including internationals.

The City marksman netted a brace in a 2-1 win against Adelaide in Sunday's A-League fixture.

"We need to close him down," Jakobsen said.

"But not only him, they have a lot of good players so collectively we need to defend better.

"We have struggled a bit on set pieces the last two (league) games so we need to tighten up there first of all.

"And one of the goals he (Maclaren) got on Sunday was a bit too easy. He's a player to watch, he's in good form so we need to take care of him."

The Reds are seeking their third cup title, and second in a row, since the competition began in 2014 while City captured the cup in 2016.

Maclaren looms as a central figure in the final, with his coach Erick Mombaerts hailing the attacker's hunger to improve.

"He doesn't need to have too many chances to score," Mombaerts said.

"So it's very important for our team to have this kind of player with us ... he also has the same attitude to the other players, to try to improve."

French-born Mombaerts and Adelaide's Dutch-born coach Gertjan Verbeek are fresh to Australian football but both are spruiking an identical message about the cup final: seize the moment.

"It's a prize and you play football to win prizes ... the more prizes you win, the more you like it," Verbeek said.

"When you're so close you have to give all what is in you."

Mombaerts concurred.

"It's very important for the club and also for the players to get the trophy," he said.

"Sometimes it's not a long and big career and you don't win too many trophies."

Australian Associated Press