Melbourne City will be out to quash Western United's hopes of reaching a Grand Final in their inaugural Hyundai A-League campaign when the two local rivals meet in a blockbuster Semi-Final on Wednesday evening.
It's a feat City are yet to accomplish in their own history in the competition, but with Golden Boot winner Jamie Maclaren leading their line City will feel confident of overcoming the Green and Black and progressing to their first Grand Final, which will take place on Sunday afternoon.
United have won seven of their last nine games; they stormed into the Finals Series on the back of their red-hot form to edge Brisbane Roar 1-0 in an Elimination Final bout thanks to a special Alessandro Diamanti free kick.
The result set up the all-Melbourne Semi-Final contest which City approach with great confidence after their three league meetings with United throughout the season.
Erick Mombaerts' side won all three of those fixtures - however one of those fixtures came in the last round of the season against an understrength United side with one eye on the Elimination Finals.
The battle between the Hyundai A-League new boys and their talent-laden neighbours may boil down to a tussle between two strikers - City's Maclaren and United's Besart Berisha - who are both in frightening form heading into the Semi-Finals.
Maclaren bagged six goals in three games against United this season scoring a brace in each fixture, while Berisha has proved time and again throughout his illustrious Hyundai A-League career that he's a player built for the big occasion.
Melbourne City v Western United
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Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Tom GLOVER (gk), 2.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Harrison DELBRIDGE, 6.Josh BRILLANTE, 7.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Florin BERENGUER, 11.Craig NOONE, 13.Nathaniel ATKINSON, 19.Lachlan WALES, 20.Adrian LUNA, 21.Ramy NAJJARINE, 22.Curtis GOOD, 30.Moudi NAJJAR, 34.Connor METCALFE, 35.Raphael BORGES RODRIGUES, 39.Idrus ABDULAHI, 40.Richard WINDBICHLER, 46.Joe GAUCI, 49.Stefan COLAKOVSKI
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 10.Florin BERENGUER (returns from injury), 11.Craig NOONE (returns from suspension)
Unavailable: 3.Scott JAMIESON (personal leave)
Western United FC squad: 1.Filip KURTO (GK), 2.Aaron CALVER, 4.Andrew DURANTE, 5.Dylan PIERIAS, 6.Tomoki IMAI, 9.Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS, 10.Steven LUSTICA, 11.Connor PAIN, 14.Max BURGESS, 15.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 17.Joshua CAVALLO, 18.Besart BERISHA, 19.Joshua RISDON, 21.Sebastian PASQUALI, 22.Tomislav USKOK, 23.Alessandro DIAMANTI (c), 25.Luke DUZEL, 26.Patrick ANTELMI, 28.Oskar DILLON, 30.Ryan SCOTT (GK)
**2-4 to be omitted**
Ins: 15.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS (promoted), 26.Patrick ANTELMI (promoted)
Unavailable: 3.Brendan HAMILL (knee - season), 13.Ivan VUJICA (groin - season), 20.James DELIANOV (GK) (knee - season)
Did you know?
- Melbourne City have won all three of their previous Hyundai A-League meetings with Western United.
- Western United are undefeated in their four Hyundai A-League games at Bankwest Stadium (W3, D1).
- Melbourne City have lost four of their last five finals fixtures in the Hyundai A-League.
- Max Burgess has completed 18 dribbles since the Hyundai A-League resumed in July, more than any other player in the competition in that time.
Melbourne City v Western United - pick a winner
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