Friday, 8 May 2015

PREVIEW: A-League Semi Finals

Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City:

I'm not going to write a very long piece on the A-League Semi Finals as there's so many national news outlets that cover it and I'd rather put my best work into local matters but nonetheless this game tonight is one of the biggest domestic football games in Australia that hasn't been a Grand Final for a long time.

Over 50,000 are expected to cram into Etihad Stadium and despite the fact that Victory are the heavy favourites and will outnumber their neighbours in the stands, the Citysiders could very well produce one of the greatest upsets in A-League history tonight.

Do I think City can do it, yes. Do I think they will do it, no. Victory should be way too strong and I firmly expect them to brush aside City similar to the way they did in the Derby earlier this season at Etihad. A 3-0 or 4-0 scoreline wouldn't surprise me at all.

Victory are way too good to not play in the Grand Final, they've just had too good a season to let it end in the penultimate game. With names like Besarr Berisha, Gui Finkler and arguably the buy of the season in Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Victory could produce one of their greatest ever wins tonight. Nerves will be through the roof but Victory should get the job done.

My Tip: Melbourne Victory 3-0 Melbourne City

Sydney FC v Adelaide United:

Whilst the Melbourne derby is getting all the media attention and build-up, I think this match will be a better one for footballing purists. These two teams know how to play an entertaining and high-attacking style of play and it'll be on show for everybody to see at Allianz on Saturday night.

Adelaide United were classy in their win over Brisbane last week and it was great to see ex-Newcastle Jet Craig Goodwin bag a goal in his first A-League finals match. Sydney FC have been one of my favourite teams to watch this year and Marc Janko has been up there for me as one of the best players in the league this season.

The Reds have the wood over Sydney recently but this isn't any normal game, this is a Grand Final qualifier in front of a vocal Allianz Stadium crowd. Josep Gombau's men will need to produce their best performance of the season if they want to qualify for the decider.

The sides are evenly-matched and if their clashes this season are anything to go by, the first half will be a sparring contest that could very well end scoreless. I'll go one further and say I believe this game will need extra time and perhaps even penalties. Neither team will want to let this slip and it should make for a memorable clash.

I think Sydney will have the legs though. I was going to say Sydney in extra time but why not go one further and hope for a penalty shootout. Sydney either way.

My Tip: Sydney FC 2-2 Adelaide United (Sydney Win On Penalties)

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