City Head Coach Michael Valkanis says he’s never been a part of a game quite like City’s 5-4 loss to Perth on Sunday night as the boss left nib Stadium with mixed emotions after the encounter.
The visitors saw themselves 4-1 down at one stage in the second half, teetering on the potential of travelling to Perth next Sunday to do it all again in the Elimination Final but it wasn’t the case for City as they worked their way back into the contest.
They would have felt what could have been with Bruno Fornaroli and Nick Fitzgerald rattling the crossbar in the second half and Valkanis believes that despite the crazy nature of the contest, there will be a different attitude to next week’s final with a lot more on the line.
“It was a crazy game, a crazy game,” Valkanis said.
“I can’t believe how many goals were scored, but I guess both teams were chasing wins, needed to win, Perth needed to score [four] goals and it was just crazy how it panned out in the end.
“But I think overall if you break down what we did, we probably could have had another four or five goals as well so it’s even more crazy, when you’re going into finals and the game was so open.
“But overall in open play and the amount of chances we created and the boys’ endeavour to keep going even when at one stage it looked like it could have been horrible.
“The boys’ effort and endeavour just turned it around and it looked like maybe we could have got on top and turned the game around. In the disappointment, you have to look at some of the positives, especially going into finals now.”
Despite the range of permutations going into the final match of the season, it’s an all-important home final for City at AAMI Park and the situation hasn’t dawned on Valkanis, saying his side’s numbers at home have shown that they are more comfortable in familiar surroundings.
“Of course [it’s important] I think we’re a very good team at home and this season we have fought and battled away from home and the results haven’t gone our way and that’s something we’ll have to look at next season and review and see what we have to do better next season,” he said.
“Now we have a home final our supporters will get behind us, our players love playing at home and I’m sure Melbourne City supporters will become our twelfth man and be right beside us to get over and support us to get over this game and beat Perth.”
City return to Melbourne to prepare for Sunday’s Elimination Final with the winner playing either Melbourne Victory or Sydney FC in the Semi Final. Kick-off for Sunday’s match at AAMI Park is 7pm. For all ticketing information for members and public sale, click here.