Melbourne Victory vs. Brisbane Roar
MATCH UP STATS
Melbourne Victory vs. Brisbane Roar
Season record:Melbourne Victory: 14-4-8Brisbane Roar: 11-9-7
Last 5 results:Melbourne Victory: WDLLWBrisbane Roar: DWLWW
Sunday, April 30, 2017, 5pm AEST, AAMI Park, Melbourne, watch on SBS, Fox Sports.
EVERYONE is talking about the supposedly inevitable Melbourne Victory vs. Sydney FC top two A-League grand final clash.
But they have to get their first.
And this semi final battle between Victory and Brisbane Roar might just be the best of the entire finals series.
Two of the competition’s most potent, attacking sides, sporting the two highest scorers in the league, will go head to head on Sunday night for a spot in the grand final.
It’s a mouthwatering proposition to see the A-League’s all time leading goal scorer in Besart Berisha at one end and perhaps the most talented striker in the competition in Jamie MacLaren at the other.
It means that the respective defences are going to have their work cut out for them trying to stop the attackers from doing some serious damage.
The Roar made it past the Western Sydney Wanderers in a tough elimination final on penalties after the two teams could not be split after 120 minutes of play at 1-1.
Goalkeeper Michael Theo was near on impenetrable for the Roar as they allowed the Wanderers too much time on the ball and plenty of shots. He saved them all, but a Terry Antonis penalty after Brendan Santalab was brought down in the box in the shades of half time was too hot for him to handle and the deadlock was broken.
That prompted a renewed aggression from the Roar and, 10 minutes after the break, star attacker Brandon Borrello connected with that man McLaren whose scorching shot found the back of the net to even the scores.
As neither team could find the deadlock breaker, Theo went down with injury, bringing back up keeper Jame Young onto the field.
He would prove to be the hero, saving a sole penalty that would give the Roar victory in the shootout, after no score was found during extra time.
The Victory have not played since a 1-0 win over the Central Coast Mariners in the final round of the season – a two week break which Socceroos midfielder James Troisi says is not ideal.
But he says Roar’s extra time elimination final, coupled with a midweek Asian Champions League tilt, could tip the scales in Victory’s favour.
“It definitely it won’t be easy for them,” Troisi said.
“The game the other day was tough, going into extra time and penalties. In saying that I am sure they will rest a few players (for the ACL game).
“The thing is, however, we can’t allow ourselves to focus on that and say it is going to be easy for us because of what they have had to go through.
“If we think like that we will get punished on Sunday night, so we just have to prepare the way we normally do. As long as we are doing the right things it won’t matter what type of squad they put out against us.”
We will find out on Sunday night.
First goal scorer tips
The legendary striker will go down in A-League folklore as its greatest ever and certainly its most prolific. After releasing the pressure valve of chasing his 100th career goal, Berisha will be primed for this finals tilt as his career enters its twilight. And he’s just about unbackable at $4 to score the first, but you just have to do it. You know he always comes up with something special against his former club and with three goals in his last five outings against the Roar – two of those at home – you can just about pencil him in for at least one.
Jamie MacLaren ($6.50 with Sportsbet.com.au)
If Berisha is the master, then MacLaren is the apprentice. And he is fast becoming the Darth Vadar of the A-League, tormenting opponents with his superior pace and dead eye finishing. With 20 goals this season, he owns the A-League’s golden boot award and he is the man most likely to strike a dagger through the heart of Melbourne Victory’s hopes. Neither of our picks are very original, but this is finals footy, where the big guns stand up.
Match result: Draw ($3.50 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Correct match score: 2-2 ($11 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Total match goals: Over 2.5 ($1.64 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Every one wants the Melbourne Victory vs. Sydney FC grand final, but we don’t think it’s going to be that easy. The Roar sport a superb recent record against the Victory, having won three and drawn two of their past six and the last two times they have met in the finals have been Roar wins, although neither of those were in Melbourne. This is by no means an easy task for Victory, who narrowly escaped with a 3-2 result the last time these teams met in Melbourne – the Roar haven’t won a finals match away from home for four years. With potent attacks we are predicting a high scoring match, with the two teams unable to be split at full time. We do think Victory might win in the end, with a goal in extra time.
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