5 Things we learnt from the 1st Leg

After a tense and tumultuous drawn First Leg, Sydney FC and Melbourne City will do battle on Friday night in Melbourne to decide who goes through to the Grand Final to take on either Central Coast Mariners or Adelaide United.

Disallowed goals and re-taken penalties cranked up the tension in last Friday’s 1-1 draw, and we’re expecting more of the season in the Second Leg.

So, to get you in the mood for the big night, here are five things that we have learnt from the first game.

1 Sydney FC’s Penalty Taker Sorted

After so many troubles from the spot this season, it appears that Adam Le Fondre is now back on spot kicks. The Englishman missed two penalties in two minutes back in January against the Wellington Phoenix and since then hasn’t stepped up to the mark.

Le Fondre has stepped up since returning from injury

When the Sky Blues were awarded a spot kick in last Friday’s game, Anthony Caceres took the ball in the first instance and saw his effort saved by Tom Glover before an encroachment was spotted and a re-take awarded. Le Fondre stepped up to take the second penalty and dispatched past Glover, putting himself back as the number one designated penalty taker. Good luck getting the ball off him now for a spot kick.

2 Forward Runs From Deep

Rhyan Grant plays right back and has his whole career. He was probably as shocked as we were to find himself at the back post on the left hand side of the goal to tap into an open net for what he thought was the go-ahead goal in the tie. Unfortunately, Adam Le Fondre was offside in the build up and the goal was ruled out.

However, what is of most concern to Melbourne City was the fact that Grant was able to run from the right back position and find himself unmarked at the left hand side of the goal. It wasn’t the first time that moves like that came off with Anthony Caceres doing similar in the first half which drew one of two amazing saves from Glover. This time around, City will need to ensure that they mark tighter with the dangers that the Sky Blues have going forward.

3 Glover’s Still Got It

For large portions of this season, with his defence in front of him performing so well, Tom Glover hasn’t had much to do. It was also claimed that his best years were behind him, with speculation that he may move away from Melbourne City at the end of the season. With so many questions hanging over him before this game, the former Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper stood up.

A total of six saves throughout the night and facing an expected goals tally of 2.55. He pulled off one miraculous save late in the first half which kept his side ahead going into the break and saved Anthony Caceres’ initial penalty. Glover certainly still has it within him to pull some great performances out of the fire.

4 Robbie Mak Loves The Peroxide

As the Slovakian turned up to Allianz Stadium on Friday night, fans were expecting to see more of the same from Robbie Mak, however they were treated to a surprise when he arrived. Rocking up, he was sporting a brand new hair colour. Very different from his usual look.

Maybe he felt like a change, maybe he wanted to put the City defenders off. Either way, it was certainly different. Instead of his classic black hair, Mak went a bright blonde. He was unable to find the net this time around however and now we wonder whether he changes it once more ahead of the return leg in Melbourne.

5 Premiers Crown Is Nothing To Fear

Melbourne City were again at their best this season, winning the league and rightfully earning their title of Premiers. However, the Sky Blues more than matched them at Allianz Stadium last weekend.

City’s strong front three are often heralded as being one of the best in the country with the likes of Jamie Maclaren, Marco Tilio and Mathew Leckie causing a real headache for defenders. On Friday night, their goal came from a unique set piece that was “smashed” into the box but apart from that, the forward three rarely had a sniff at goal. That great credit to the Sydney FC defensive line who maintained shape and kept them quiet.

Friday’s match was a real tussle

With all the pressure on Melbourne City this Friday, Sydney FC can enjoy being the underdogs and play with freedom without the tag of Premiers hanging over their head.

Match Details

Melbourne City v Sydney FC
Isuzu UTE A-League Semi-Final 2nd Leg
Friday 19th May 2023
AAMI Park, Melbourne, VIC
Kick Off: 7:45pm AEST
Broadcast Live: Paramount+ & 10Bold
Tickets: Click Here