King Castro versus Ninkovic in Sydney semi final

One's a majestic Spaniard who's played in La Liga - and scored against Real Madrid. The other is a former World Cup player with Serbia who's weaved his sublime magic all season.

And the pair are set to meet in a Hyundai A-League Semi Final this Saturday in Sydney. 

The reigning Johnny Warren Medal winner Diego Castro brings his glorious magic to Sydney this Saturday to face the sublime Serbian Milos Ninkovic and his Sydney FC side when Sydney FC and Perth Glory lock horns in the Hyundai A-League Semi Final 1.

Milos Ninkovic celebrates after grabbing the opening goal in Sydney FC's clash with Newcastle Jets on Saturday night.

 Both men have played 26 matches this season so we can make a direct comparison between the two.

Who is more important to their side – the playmaker Serb or the roaming Spanish striker?

GOALS

Ninkovic has scored nine goals for the Sky Blues.

Castro’s goal against Melbourne City in the Elimination Final against Melbourne City took him to 13 for the season.

He’s the leading goalscorer for Perth Glory.

Perth Glory players celebrate Diego Castro's penalty in the clash with Adelaide United on Friday night.

But five of Castro’s goals have been penalties, meaning Ninkovic has been more prolific from open play.

SHOOTING

Castro has fired off more shots than Ninkovic with 49 to 36.

But Ninkovic has been more accurate, with 55.6% of his efforts hitting the target, compared to 44.9% of Castro’s.

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PASSING

Ninkovic has made 1153 passes compared to Castro’s 964.

Midfield: Milos Ninkovic (Sydney FC)

But the Spaniard is more accurate, finding his target 79.3% of the time, compared to the Serbian’s 77.5%.

Ninkovic has supplied 10 assists, while Castro has seven.

THREAT TO OPPOSITION

The tricky Spaniard has embarked on 71 successful dribbles this season, compared to just 39 by the Serbian.

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Not surprisingly, each is heavily fouled as opposition teams often cross the line in order to suppress their threats.

Castro has won 78 free-kicks this season and Ninkovic 57.

CROSSING

Castro loves to cross the ball.

Striker: Diego Castro (Perth Glory)

He’s put in 70 crosses this season, compared to Ninkovic’s 17.

This is probably due to the freer role he has for Glory than Ninkovic has for Sydney FC.

AERIAL PROWESS

Castro has contested just seven aerial duels all season and won only one.

Despite being just six centimetres taller, Ninkovic has been far more vigorous in the air.

He has contested 47 aerial duels, winning 22 of them.

DEFENCE

Ninkovic has engaged in 50 tackles this season compared to Castro’s 40.

Sydney FC playmaker Milos Ninkovic holds off his Victory defender during the Big Blue at Etihad Stadium.

But Ninkovic is far more effective, emerging successful in 74% of those tackles, compared to 52% for Castro.

DISCIPLINE

Ninkovic has picked up five yellow cards while Castro has been booked four times.

And the Serb has given up 32 free-kicks compared to Castro’s 20.

SUMMARY

Both are desperate to win the Championship. To do so, they must win on Saturday or their seasons end. 

It will be a cracking battle between Perth Glory playmaker Diego Castro and Sydney FC star Milos Ninkovic.

Wherever you are, do not miss this game. You'll see two of the greats  in the most cut-throat of games.