A-League Semi Final Preview: Newcastle v City
Melbourne City FC will battle against Newcastle Jets for a spot in the 2017-18 Hyundai A-League Grand Final in a mouth-watering contest at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday night.
City enter the clash fresh off a comprehensive 2-0 Elimination Final win over Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park last Friday night.
Warren Joyce’s men outclassed their opposition in a dominant display across the 90 minutes of play, as their dominance eventually prevailed on the scoreboard in the second-half.
Stefan Mauk opened the scoring in the 59th minute with a clinical finish following a brilliant assist by Bruno Fornaroli, before second-half substitute Nick Fitzgerald met a delightful Dario Vidosic cross with a powerful header to secure a Semi-Final match-up against the Jets.
Although City have had the edge over their rivals on the Jets home turf this season, with two wins from two matches, it won’t be easy for the away side who face a fresh Newcastle outfit that scored eight goals in their final match of the season.
In Round 27, Ernie Merrick’s men demolished Central Coast Mariners 8-2 at Central Coast Stadium before enjoying a week off following automatic qualification to the Semi Final stage after finishing the season in second position.
Joseph Champness opened the scoring for Newcastle in the 10th minute, before a Roy O’Donovan double and Riley McGree hat-trick combined with solo strikes to Dimitri Petratos and Lachlan Jackson saw the Jets run riot.
Connor Pain and Trent Buhagiar could only muster consolation goals for the home side as the Jets demonstrated just how dangerous they can be in the attacking third.
If recent history is anything to go by, Friday night’s Semi Final is set to be an absolute blockbuster between two of the league’s most prolific attacking units.
City is unchanged for this one with Michael Jakobsen unable to recover from his quad injury. See our full team news.
Last time they met
In Round 25, City travelled to Newcastle to face the Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium with an opportunity to retain third position.
Warren Joyce’s men produced a clinical display defeating the Jets 3-0. Bruno Fornaroli found the opener on the cusp of half-time, before a delightful second-half double by Dario Vidosic sealed the three points.
What was said
Head Coach Warren Joyce
"We've beaten them twice at their ground and we've drawn once at ours but it's a one-off game tomorrow," Joyce said.
"Whoever is desperate to win that fight comes out winner at the end of it. We've got to be just as hungry or hungrier than we've ever been this season."
Newcastle Jets Head Coach Ernie Merrick
"We've got a team who scores 57 goals throughout the season and you know that, given the opportunity, we're going to score," Merrick said.
"Defence is very important but you don't win a game on defence - that's just your launching pad.
"Any finals team I've coached with that sort of attitude and preparation, and who takes the game to the opposition, they're the sort of teams that will achieve something."
Where and when
City play Newcastle Jets for a spot in the 2017-18 Hyundai A-League Grand Final at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday 27 April, kick-off 7:50pm.
The match will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 501 and ONE HD. You can also follow all the actions as it happens by following our official Twitter account @MelbourneCity.