Babalj Angling For Deep Finals Run

Melbourne Heart FC sharpshooter Eli Babalj has declared he wants to face-off once more with Hyundai A-League front runners Central Coast Mariners and Brisbane Roar in the Finals Series.

Melbourne Heart FC sharpshooter Eli Babalj has declared he wants to face-off once more with Hyundai A-League front runners Central Coast Mariners and Brisbane Roar in the Finals Series.

Babalj, 20, netted his ninth goal of the campaign, and fifth in six matches, during Heart-s 1-1 draw with Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night.

His effort ensured he would exceed his initial target of eight goals for the season, an impressive feat placing him third in the Hyundai A-League-s Golden Boot race.

Despite Babalj-s satisfaction at achieving his own personal goals for the season, the imposing attacker says he would remain disappointed should Heart not push beyond the opening week of the finals series, earmarking another encounter with the competition-s top two.

“I set myself a target of scoring eight and I've achieved that and our team goal was getting to the playoffs, so individually and collectively we've achieved our goals but it doesn't stop and hopefully we can go close (to winning the title,” he said.

“We've shown we can beat anyone. Some people say we've had a disappointing season but Brisbane hasn't beaten us and we've beaten Central Coast and played well against them.

“So hopefully we get to play them again because we've showed we can match them and rise to the occasion. We've found form when it counts and were in good shape, we're fit and fighting for positions.”

Babalj looms as a pivotal figure in Heart-s finals charge, emerging as the side-s leading attacking threat during the latter half of the campaign.

Head Coach John van ‘t Schip revealed he has been pleased with Babalj-s development this season, particularly given his contracted, compromised pre-season.

“We're happy with the goals he (Eli) has scored for us. He's doing very good work for us and he should do what he has to do,” he said.

“A striker wants to score but if he makes runs and creates space for others then he's doing his job.”

Melbourne Heart FC will travel to Perth on Saturday afternoon ahead of Sunday-s Elimination Final against the Glory at nib Stadium. Kick-off is 7pm AEDT.