Golden Boot winners Besart Berisha of Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar’s Jamie Maclaren will aim to fire their respective sides into next week’s grand final when the two teams meet at AAMI Park on Sunday.
Hyundai A-League 2017 Semi Final 2
Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar FC
Sunday, 30 April 2017
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 5:00pm (AEST)
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Assistant Referee 1: George Lakrindis
Assistant Referee 2: Lance Greenshields
Fourth Official: Shaun Evans
Video Assistant Referee: Strebre Delovski
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 4.30pm (AEST). Delayed coverage on SBS VICELAND from 5.30pm (AEST) and Sky Sport Pop-Up (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC Digital Extra, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. After 6pm: ABC Radio Brisbane, Grandstand Digital, Crocmedia A-League Live (www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio), 1116 SEN (Melbourne)
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #ALFinals
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Melbourne Victory squad: 2.Jason GERIA, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Marco ROJAS, 8.Besart BERISHA, 10.James TROISI, 11.Mitch AUSTIN, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Alan BARO, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.James DONACHIE, 19.George HOWARD, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 22.Stefan NIGRO, 23.Jai INGHAM, 40.Matt ACTON (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI (returns from suspension), 19.George HOWARD (promoted)
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 3.Luke DEVERE, 5.Corey BROWN, 6.Avram PAPADOPOULOS, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Brett HOLMAN, 11.Tommy OAR, 13.Jade NORTH, 15.ARANA, 17.Matt MCKAY (c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 26.Nick D’AGOSTINO, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 29.Joe CALETTI, 43.Tomislav BILIC (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 15.ARANA (returns from injury), 17.Matt MCKAY (returns from injury), 19.Jack HINGERT (returns from injury), 43.Tomislav BILIC (gk) (promoted)
Outs: 1.Michael THEO (gk) (knee – 4 weeks), 46.Cameron CRESTANI (not selected)
Unavailable: 4.Daniel BOWLES (knee – season)
Brisbane head into this Sunday's A-League semi-final against Victory with a major question mark over their goalkeeping options for the clash at AAMI Park.
Michael Theo shone for 98 minutes in Roar's elimination final against Western Sydney Wanderers last week but a knee injury forced him off in extra time - the five-time A-League champion won't line up against his former club.
Jamie Young replaced Theo at Suncorp Stadium and produced a couple of noteworthy saves himself, including on the decisive penalty from Jumpei Kusukami, as Brisbane advanced to the last four.
Young then suffered a freak injury in Wednesday night's 3-0 AFC Champions League (ACL) loss to Muangthong United, cutting his elbow on a broken net hook after colliding with a goal post, with the wound reportedly requiring 26 stitches.
It is unclear whether Young will be able to start against Victory, meaning third-choice gloveman Tomi Bilic - who made his senior debut by coming on against Muangthong - could anchor Roar's defence.
Young has been named in John Aloisi's extended squad, while injured duo Matt McKay (knee) and Jack Hingert (cheekbone) return - with Cameron Crestani, who started against Muangthong, dropping out alongside Theo.
Arana made his return from a hamstring injury in midweek and stays in the squad.
Aloisi will regain the services of Corey Brown and Avram Papadopoulos, who were suspended for the ACL fixture, plus rested quartet Jade North, Thomas Kristensen, Brett Holman and Jamie Maclaren.
Roar defeated Victory in an elimination final last term, with Thomas Broich's stoppage-time header deciding the match, while in their only other post-season meeting, Brisbane triumphed 1-0 in the 2013/14 semi-finals thanks to a goal from Besart Berisha.
Now with Victory, Berisha will be looking to help the Big V maintain their almost perfect finals record at home.
The 2010 grand final, which Sydney FC won at Etihad Stadium, is the only one of Victory's 10 home finals they have lost and that came after a penalty shootout.
The home side - who have limped into the finals with two wins in six matches - regain Daniel Georgievski from suspension, while George Howard is also added to an extended squad.
Across three meetings so far in 2016/17, Victory and Roar have been effectively impossible to split with both teams securing one win after their opening round clash finished level - the aggregate score in those matches is 4-4, while the game at AAMI Park in January ended 3-2 in favour of the Big V.
- No team has attempted more shots than either Melbourne Victory (396) or Brisbane Roar (402) this season.
- Brisbane Roar have had 156 shots on target so far this season, the joint-most of any team in the competition (Sydney FC) and 39 more than Melbourne Victory (117).
- Jamie Maclaren (20) and Besart Berisha (19) are the two highest goal scorers in the A-League this season, and go head-to-head in this fixture.
- Besart Berisha has scored three goals in his last five games against Brisbane Roar, two of which have come when the Victory have been the hosts.
ROUTE TO GOAL
This clash will see the A-League's joint Golden Boot winners go head to head.
Roar striker Maclaren edged ahead of Berisha last week with his equaliser against the Wanderers taking him to 20 goals for the campaign.
While that goal doesn't count in deciding the Golden Boot, there's no doubt Berisha will want to at least match Maclaren's effort in front of the Victory faithful.
The Kosovo international reached 100 A-League goals in the final round of the regular season.
The hosts have a slight edge defensively having conceded 31 goals to Brisbane's 37 across 27 rounds, and with Broich likely to start on the bench following the midweek trip to Thailand, Victory boss Kevin Muscat will back the likes of Alan Baro and James Donachie to keep Roar quiet.
If Broich can't start, Aloisi will be putting the responsibility on Brett Holman and Brandon Borrello to give Maclaren the support he needs to open up Victory's defence.
WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Jamie Young. Having replaced Theo in extra time versus Western Sydney, the 31-year-old goalkeeper's first action was a brilliant save to deny Brendon Santalab. Young was Roar's shootout hero after he parried Jumpei's spot-kick away but may be sidelined this week following his gruesome injury in Thailand.
FORM GUIDE (all competitions)
Melbourne Victory: WLLDW
Brisbane Roar: LWWWL
Melbourne Victory 2-1 Brisbane Roar (aet)