Melbourne City begins their quest for a championship trophy when they take on Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium in a blockbuster Elimination Final on Sunday night.
City kick-off their 2018/19 Hyundai A-League Finals Series full of confidence following a 5-0 win over Central Coast at AAMI Park in the final round of the regular season.
A youthful City outfit opened the scoring in the 35th minute, courtesy of a spectacular solo effort from Shayon Harrison, who beat four Mariners defenders before slotting the ball into the back of the net. Seven minutes later Riley McGree doubled City’s advantage, latching onto captain Scott Jamieson’s cross with a perfectly timed volley to make it 2-0 at the break.
Five minutes into the second-half, experienced attacker Dario Vidosic made it three with a composed finish at the back post after he met Lachlan Wales’ perfectly weighted through ball. It would be the first of two assists for Wales in five minutes, after the winger found Harrison who secured his brace with yet another cool finish. In the 92nd minute, second-half substitute Ramy Najjarine made it 5-0 with a peach of a strike following a brilliant lead up involving Wales, 15-year-old debutant Idrus Abdulahi and Harrison.
Not to be outdone, the Reds scored five of their own in the final round of the league season with a 5-3 win over Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.
Adelaide got off to a perfect start as Nikola Mileusnic opened the scoring inside the opening four minutes, despite the Reds taking an early lead, Brisbane hit back strongly taking a 2-1 lead into the half-time break following goals to Dylan Wenzel-Halls and Nicholas D’Agostino.
George Blackwood equalised six-minutes into the second-half before Eric Beautheac restored the Roar’s lead with a unique effort from the penalty spot. A blistering final 20-minutes of play saw the Reds run over the top of Brisbane, as Craig Goodwin, Papa Baba Diawara and Isaias hit the back of the net.
With both teams coming off strong attacking performances, we are set for an enthralling battle between two teams looking to book their place in the Semi-Finals.
Looking to create Club history, City will be determined to make it one step closer to an elusive championship trophy when they head to Coopers Stadium, a venue that has been a happy stomping ground in recent times.
Last time they met
The last time the two teams met was in Round 25 at AAMI Park, playing out a 0-0 draw.
Their last encounter at Coopers Stadium came in Round 8, as City secured a 2-0 win. Jordan Elsey’s own goal gave the visitor’s a 1-0 lead, before Luke Brattan doubled the advantage.
The team is in ahead of our Elimination Final. See who’s in and who’s out ahead of the clash.
What was said
Head Coach Warren Joyce
“The group has had fantastic spirit, fantastic togetherness, they’ve stuck together all season,” he said.
“That’s obviously the down thing for the fans [playing in Adelaide rather than Melbourne], I believe there’s quite a few travelling across and that’s a tremendous gesture. There’s some going on coaches, it’s a long coach journey, we’ve just got to make sure it’s a good coach journey for them coming back.”
Attacker Jamie Maclaren
“They are good at home, but ultimately our away record is pretty good as well, the boys have actually won there previously at Coopers Stadium so it’ll be exciting,” he said.
“Everything is on the line now and it’s a huge game. For us, it’s business as usual and look, we just can’t wait, it’s an exciting week.”
Where and when
City take on Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Sunday 5 May, kick-off 7:00pm.