7.45pm (AEST), Friday, April 22 at Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
After securing the Premier’s Plate and enjoying a break in the first week of the finals, Adelaide United host the first semi-final against a Melbourne City side fizzing from a superb elimination final triumph.
Adelaide: Galekovic, Marrone, McGowan, La Rocca, Goodwin, Isaias, Mauk, Carrusca, Kamau, Cirio, Djite
Melbourne City: Sorensen, Retre, Wilkinson, Kisnorbo, Clisby, Malik, Mooy, Caceres, Fitzgerald, Garuccio, Fornaroli
The teams have clashed 18 times previously, with Adelaide winning eight, Melbourne winning five, and five matches finishing in a draw. The last nine matches have been shared three wins apiece, with three draws. Melbourne won the first two matches between the sides this season – 4-2 and 1-0 – but Adelaide prevailed 2-0 in their final-round encounter.
Adelaide clinched the Premier’s Plate with a stunning 2-0 away win over Melbourne City in Round 27, which came on the back of impressive wins over Central Coast (4-2) and Sydney FC (2-0).
Melbourne City came into the final-round fixture with Adelaide off a 3-2 away loss to Perth Glory, who they turned the tables on with a 2-0 success in the elimination final at AAMI Park.
Bruno Fornaroli scored both goals in Melbourne’s win over Perth on the weekend, while Adelaide’s Bruce Djite found his way onto the score-sheet in the teams’ most recent clash. Fornaroli has scored 25 goals to Djite’s nine this season, however, and could be the game-breaker the away underdogs need to spring an upset.
Stats That Matter
Adelaide won 14, drew four and lost one (to Melbourne City) of their last 19 regular-season games. Melbourne City has won one, drew two and lost five of their last eight away games. Adelaide have scored 17 goals to four in their last eight games. Melbourne City have scored two or more goals in four of their last five games.
Momentum can be critical during the finals, and there’s no doubt Melbourne City’s solid win last week puts them on the front foot, while Adelaide will have to work hard to find their groove again after the week off. But Adelaide were deserving minor premiers, and their outstanding record since the start of December will have galvanised the home side’s confidence – look to United to be the first side through to the A-League grand final.
Adelaide United to win
Adelaide United 1-0