Stats Preview: City aim for a feat last achieved by Postecoglou's Roar
Erick Mombaerts' Melbourne City outfit are aiming to become Hyundai A-League Champions in the club's first Grand Final appearance on Sunday evening, an achievement no side has accomplished since Brisbane Roar in 2011.
Ange Postecoglou's Roar outfit secured a dramatic penalty shootout win over Central Coast Mariners to secure their first Hyundai A-League Championship in the 2010/11 season; since then no side has been able to win a Grand Final at the first time of asking.
Both Perth Glory (2011/12) and Western Sydney Wanderers (2012/13) have both tried to no avail as experience has proven vital following Brisbane's inaugural title win.
The 2010/11 campaign was City's first in the Hyundai A-League, who were then known as Melbourne Heart; an appearance on the league's biggest stage has been a long time coming for the Victorian outfit who will take their first swing at securing a Championship when they face Sydney FC at Bankwest Stadium on Sunday evening.
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A win to the Sky Blues, however, will also present similarities to Postecoglou's 2011 Roar side; Brisbane built on their inaugural Grand Final victory to secure the 2011/12 Championship and win back-to-back titles, a feat no other side has accomplished in the league's history.
But Sydney FC can share that honour with a victory over City on Sunday, after beating Perth in the 2018/19 Grand Final to win their fourth Hyundai A-League Championship.
A fifth title would seperate the Sky Blues from Melbourne Victory as the club with the most Championships of all time.
This will be the first time City and Sydney meet in the post-season, but the recent head-to-head record between the sides falls in favour of Mombaerts' side: City have won two of their last three encounters with the Sky Blues by a score of 2-0, with the most recent result coming earlier this month as part of Sydney's sub-standard run of form heading into the Finals Series.
But City have never recorded two wins over Sydney on the bounce, a record they'll be hoping to break against a side preparing to make a record-equalling sixth Grand Final appearance.
As always in any game on the big stage, the star players of each team hold the potential to break the game apart and win the title for their respective sides.
Jamie Maclaren will be hoping to be that man for City; the Hyundai A-League's Golden Boot winner has scored three goals from as many shots on target in his two previous Hyundai A-League games at Bankwest Stadium.
The 27-year-old scored one of his 22 regular season goals against the Sky Blues in City's recent 2-0 win along with Craig Noone who will threaten Sydney's defence from wide areas on Sunday afternoon; he has played 36 successful crosses from open play this season, ten more than any other player in the competition.
In the middle of the park Sydney will look to former City man Luke Brattan to pull the strings and control tempo in their favour.
Brattan has the highest success rate of any player who has attempted at least 100 long passes throughout the season, with an accuracy of 65%.
Brattan's precise passing range has contributed to an overall team passing accuracy percentage of 83%, the second-highest of any team this season, while the Sky Blue's lethal attack of Adam le Fondre, Kosta Barbarouses and co. have shot at a league-high accuracy of 54% throughout the campaign.