A brilliant brace by striker Bruno Fornaroli sealed a hard-earned 2-0 win for Melbourne City over Perth Glory in Sunday's Hyundai A-League Elimination Final at AAMI Park.
City now head to South Australia where they'll face Premiership winners Adelaide United in Friday night's semi final for a place in the Hyundai A-League grand final.
For Perth Glory, just making the Hyundai A-League Finals Series was an achievement but their season is now over.
More to come...
Melbourne City and Perth Glory may have limped into the Hyundai A-League Finals Series, but with so much firepower on show, tickets to AAMI Park should be hot property when their respective seasons go on the line this Sunday.
Hyundai A-League 2016 Elimination Final 2
Sunday, 17 April 2016
Melbourne City FC (4) v Perth Glory (5)
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 5:00pm (Local) (5:00pm AEST)
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referee 1: Nathan MacDonald
Assistant Referee 2: Allyson Flynn
Fourth Official: Luke Brennan
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Shaun Evans
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Strebre Delovski
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 4.30pm (AEST), SBS TWO from 5:30pm AEST and Sky Sport 1 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-League Live. Crocmedia A-League Live (www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio)
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #MCYvPER #ALFinals
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets
Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (GK), 2.Alex WILKINSON, 3.Aaron HUGHES, 4.Connor CHAPMAN, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 8.Aaron MOOY, 14.James BROWN, 18.Paulo RETRE, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (GK), 22.Jack CLISBY, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 24.Patrick KISNORBO, 25.Jacob MELLING, 26.Marc MARINO, 27.Nick FITZGERALD, 29.Anthony CACERES, 33.Osama MALIK
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 3.Aaron HUGHES (promoted), 14.James BROWN (promoted), 19.Ben GARUCCIO (promoted)
Outs: 9.Harry NOVILLO (suspended – 2 weeks)
Unavailable: 7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee – season), 11.Michael ZULLO (foot – season), 17.Wade DEKKER (ankle – season)
Perth Glory squad: 1.Ante COVIC (gk), 2.Alex GRANT, 3.Marc WARREN, 4.Shane LOWRY, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Gyorgy SANDOR, 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 12.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 14.Chris HAROLD, 17.Diego CASTRO, 18.Mitch OXBORROW, 19.Josh RISDON, 21.Kosta PETRATOS, 23.Krisztian VADOCZ, 24.Jamal REINERS, 29.Aryn WILLIAMS
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 14.Chris HAROLD ( returns from injury), 17.Diego CASTRO (returns from injury)
Unavailable: 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH (knee – indefinite)
For the first time in their A-League history, Melbourne City will host a final.
And it's a match that promises goals at AAMI Park. City will welcome Perth Glory to Melbourne on Sunday, with the home side having broken the A-League's team goal-scoring record with 63 in 2015-16, while the visitors finished equal second for goals with Brisbane Roar (49).
In four meetings between the two clubs this season, including an FFA Cup tie in October, there has been an average of 4.75 goals per game.
On April 3, Glory defeated City 3-2 in Perth.
City will rely on record-breaking striker Bruno Fornaroli up front in the absence of Harry Novillo, who is suspended for his involvement in a half-time melee with Adelaide United last week.
Fornaroli has scored 23 goals this season.
For Perth, who could have hosted this match but for a shock 4-0 loss to Sydney FC in the final round, Diego Castro (13 goals) will be the main man in the attacking third.
The Spanish forward - along with Chris Harold - has returned to Glory's squad after missing the trip to Sydney with a hamstring twinge.
City coach John van 't Schip has included Aaron Hughes, James Brown and Ben Garuccio in his squad.
In the combined history of Melbourne City and Melbourne Heart, the club has played three A-League finals and won just won - last season away to Wellington Phoenix.
Glory defeated Heart 3-0 on their way to the 2012 A-League Grand Final, which they lost to Brisbane Roar.
- Perth are the only team in A-League history to have scored at least one goal in each of their finals matches
- City's conversion rate of 15.3 per cent was the best in the A-League this season
- City attacking midfielder Aaron Mooy creates a chance with every 20.2 touches of the ball this season, the most of any player who's played at least 15 matches
- Glory have the worst passing accuracy this season with 72.1 per cent hitting the target
- Perth have scored the most (9) and conceded the most (7) goals from corners this campaign
ROUTE TO GOAL
While the focus this week has understandably been on Adelaide United's comeback to win the Premiership, Perth also deserve plenty of credit for how they turned their season around.
After 15 rounds, Glory sat ninth in the table with just 13 points but won 10 of their last 12 matches to finish fifth with 43 points.
An impressive January transfer window allowed coach Kenny Lowe to turn his team around, with Shane Lowry coming into defence, Krisztian Vadocz anchoring midfield and striker Andy Keogh returning to Western Australia.
Keogh has been brilliant - scoring 10 goals, including in eight consecutive matches to set a new A-League record.
The Irishman should benefit from the return of fellow attackers Castro and Harold on Sunday.
Van 't Schip's highly-rated attacking trio of Fornaroli, Mooy and Novillo will be reduced by one this week due to the latter's suspension, and City will need to tweak their formula up front.
In their 2-0 loss to Adelaide last week, City looked slightly disjointed in the forward third, with the Reds' defenders keeping a tight rein on Fornaroli and Co.
WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Aaron Mooy and Bruno Fornaroli. The star duo split City's A-League Player of the Year award, which was announced on Saturday.
Melbourne City: WWWLL
Perth Glory: WWWWL
Melbourne City 2-2 Perth Glory (2-3 a.e.t.)