After a thrilling first leg, Friday night’s 2nd Leg in Melbourne is set to be a straight shoot-out between Melbourne City and Sydney FC.
With the tie sitting at 1-1, whoever wins on the night will head into the Isuzu UTE A-League Grand Final on the 3rd of June at CommBank Stadium.
The Sky Blues were impressive in the 1st Leg last Friday at Allianz Stadium in a crazy match that was filled with drama and will be hoping to convert some of those missed chances into goals.
Sydney FC saw two goals correctly cancelled out due to offsidde, saw a penalty saved and then correctly re-taken for encroachment and were able to come from behind once again to level the tie in a pulsating 90 minutes.
Adam Le Fondre cancelled out Mathew Leckie’s first half header and continues the Sky Blue’s trend of conceding and then coming from behind. Four times this season, they have found themselves behind and then fought back to win, most recently at CommBank Stadium against the Western Sydney Wanderers in the Elimination Final.
In contrast, Melbourne City have now scored the opening goal in 19 of their 27 matches this season, the best in the competition. Also on Melbourne City’s side is the fact that Sydney FC have only beaten them once in their previous eight meetings, with the Cityzens winning five and drawing two. However, only on one occasion has a team kept a clean sheet during that time.
The Victorians will also be looking to avoid back to back Finals defeats at AAMI Park for the first time in their history, going back to the 2-0 loss they suffered in the 2022 Grand Final.
Sydney FC are undefeated in their last seven matches, heading back to mid-march. They have peaked at the right time of the season and now are one win away from a Grand Final. Melbourne City are undefeated in nine matches and their last loss dates back to the start of March against Adelaide United. The hosts’ did not lose a game as the designated home side at all this season, so if Sydney FC are to get anything out of this match, they must perform at a high level.
It also appears that the penalty debate for the New South Wales team is over with Adam Le Fondre back on penalties. Anthony Caceres stepped up to take the initial spot-kick on Friday night which was saved by Tom Glover and then handed the ball over to the Englishman for the re-take. Le Fondre made no mistake this time and made up for his double missed penalty against Wellington Phoenix earlier this season, putting his name at the top of the list from 12 yards.
Should the match finish a draw on Friday night, the game will go to extra time and they will play two 15 minute periods. If the game is still tied at the end of the additional half an hour, the game will go to penalties. The Sky Blues having missed 7 out of 9 penalties taken this season, will be hoping the job is done prior to then.
Melbourne City will be sweating on the fitness of Socceroo Aiden O’Neill who missed the 1st Leg last week due to soreness. City coach Rado Vidosic noted post game that he didn’t travel to Sydney due to pain in his back and will be assessed in the lead up to Friday’s 2nd Leg. He has been a key contributor to City this season and his loss was surely felt throughout the side.
This match is one not to be missed as two of the best teams in recent years of the Isuzu UTE A-League do battle at AAMI Park, with the winner earning their spot in the Grand Final.
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