Worryingly, Perth Glory are the only top-six side to have beaten Heart twice this season. Third time the charm?
Perth Glory Regular season position: 3rd Points: 43
Finals Opponent: Melbourne Heart Head to head: Melbourne 1, Perth 2 wins three draws Last five: WDDDD
The story so far v Perth Glory Heart have the honour of being one of the few teams to beat Perth Glory in their own back yard, as Mate Dugandzic scored a late winner to give the visitors three points and give then-under pressure Glory coach Ian Ferguson palpitations.
But they haven-t had it all their own way, as Glory have beaten Heart twice in Melbourne with striker Shane Smeltz proving their chief tormentor scoring three goals in two games against the Victorians.
Heart skipper Matt Thompson reckons they won-t be worrying about Smeltz for the elimination final - but if past form is anything to go by, they should be.
Key Player: Fred - the Brazilian is a different player from his last A-League finals appearance with Melbourne Victory but his influence is no less important. If he-s fit and on form, he creates so many opportunities for his teammates, and brings an extra dimension to the Heart midfield.
X-Factor: Eli Babalj - the lanky striker has blossomed into one of the Hyundai A-League-s most exciting talents this season. Craig Moore said Babalj-s name has been mentioned in the game as one to watch, and the 20-year-old have progressed brilliantly under the tutelage of John van ‘t Schip and John Aloisi.
Heart do boast a speedy attack and midfield that could yet put the fear of God into a Glory defence not exactly blessed with pace.
Key Stats: Probably the most positive thing for John van ‘t Schip-s side is their away record: four wins and five draws from 13, with 18 goals scored. The trip across the Nullarbor might worry some but Heart have little to fear.
Bunnies: Oddly enough, of all the finals teams Heart have got the most joy out of this season, it-s Brisbane Roar. One win - in Brisbane - and two draws shows that Melbourne can compete with the side many still see as the competition-s very best.
Bogey side: Worryingly, Perth Glory are the only top-six side to have beaten Heart twice this season. Third time the charm?
Straight Shooting: Melbourne Heart have some fantastic players and their record on the roar, and against Perth, will give them hope. But comparing the two club-s recent form suggests that Perth have the confidence and energy to take them into the minor semi-final.