For the second time in a row, Melbourne City FC and Sydney FC are the two teams left standing on the final day of the A-League season. This time around, City will be hosting the leagues show-piece fixture at AAMI Park, with the Grand Final set to kick-off at 5pm on Sunday evening.
A limited number of tickets are still up for grabs to this fixture, click here to get yours now!
Heading into the blockbuster event, City will be buoyed by its recent semi-final win over Macarthur FC, overcoming poor recent form, an unfamiliar ‘home’ venue and injuries to star players to emerge 2-0 winners.
Following a tense first half in which Nuno Reis was forced into a crucial goal-saving intervention to keep the scores level heading into the break, the home side finally found the breakthrough in the 54th minute when Marco Tilio teed up Stefan Colakovski at point-blank range, before the roles were reversed just a minute later for City’s second.
It was a fantastic performance from the team’s youngsters, who also lined up alongside Nathaniel Atkinson to round out the front three in the absence of Craig Noone, who sustained an injury in the warm-ups. City were effectively also without Andrew Nabbout, who wasn’t fit enough to assume a starting role and who didn’t see minutes off the bench, with these absences only serving to further exemplify how well Colakovski and Tilio stood up on the night.
Although they have been included in the squad, Noone and Nabbout are not guaranteed to make full recoveries in time to start the Grand Final, City will once again need its youngsters to shine on the big stage when the team faces off against Sydney FC on Sunday.
Following a strong second half of the season, Sydney swept aside Adelaide United with relative comfort in the first Semi-Final of last weekend, securing a 2-1 win thanks to first-half goals from Adam Le Fondre and Bobo.
Whilst Sydney couldn’t prevent their opposition from earning the greater share of possession and shooting opportunities on the night, they were able to mitigate the number of high-quality chances afforded to Adelaide, whilst creating great opportunities for themselves up the other end.
Mid-season returnees Le Fondre and Bobo have proven pivotal to Sydney FC’s turnaround in form, with the experienced front men posting the league’s second and third best goals-per-game ratios of 0.91 and 0.65 respectively.
Up the other end of the pitch, the Sky Blues have proven to be defensively resolute, securing a league-leading ten clean sheets over the course of the regular season.
Melbourne City FC squad
Patrick Kisnorbo's Grand Final squad has been boosted by the inclusions of star wingers Andrew Nabbout and Craig Noone. Both came close to getting up in time for City's semi-final but weren't quite given the all clear
1.Tom GLOVER (gk), 2.Scott GALLOWAY, 3.Scott JAMIESON (c), 4.Nuno REIS, 7.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 8.Aiden O’NEILL, 10.Florin BERENGUER-BOHRER, 11.Craig NOONE, 13.Nathaniel ATKINSON, 14.Naoki TSUBAKI, 15.Andrew NABBOUT, 16.Taras GOMULKA, 17.Stefan COLAKOVSKI, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.Adrian LUNA, 23.Marco TILIO, 33.Matthew SUTTON (gk) 35.Raphael BORGES RODRIGUES, 36.Kerrin STOKES, 39.Anthony LESIOTIS.
**2 to be omitted**
In: 11.Craig NOONE (returns from injury), 15.Andrew NABBOUT (returns from injury).
Unavailable: 9.Jamie MACLAREN (quarantine), 18.Connor METCALFE (national team duty), 22.Curtis GOOD (quarantine).
A-League Grand Final
Melbourne City FC vs Sydney FC
Sunday 27 June, kick-off 5pm