MELBOURNE VICTORY 2 SYDNEY FC 1
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 1 ADELAIDE UNITED 0
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS v CENTRAL COAST MARINERS
BRISBANE ROAR v MELBOURNE VICTORY
And then there were four
Melbourne Victory and Central Coast Mariners secured their semi final spots over the weekend with home wins over Sydney FC and Adelaide United respectively. The result means that the Final Four for this season are the same four teams as last year only this time they are playing different opponents.
Melbourne Victory’s game against Sydney FC was an entertaining free-flowing affair that wasn’t particularly high on quality but delivered the goods when it came to pure entertainment. Both teams had swiss cheese defensive formations that offered up chance after chance for the strikers. Evergreen Archie Thompson put the Victory ahead after 20 minutes but the lead lasted just 15 minutes before Seb Ryall pulled one back for the visitors. Alessandro Del Piero, possibly playing his penultimate game for the Sky Blues, would then hit the woodwork shortly before the end of the half. The second half was a tighter, tenser affair and it took until the second minute of injury time for Gui Finkler to unlock the Sydney FC defense and send them crashing out of the competition.
The loss for Sydney ends a rollercoaster season that had some soaring highs (a 5-0 away win over Victory) and terrible lows (the home crowd turning on the team when they lost to Adelaide). The board’s expectation of Farina was that he lead the club to a top four finish. They finished one short, in fifth. ADP has also been coy about his future at the club. He seems keen to stay on but age has rapidly caught up with Del Piero. He is still capable of scoring goals but lacks the fitness to offer anything in defense and was basically at fault in the lead up to the Archie Thompson goal. Half the starting squad for Sydney come out of contract at the end of the season too so everyone from the manager, to the marquee player to half the squad are subject to change before the start of the next season.
I didn’t catch the Mariners vs Adelaide game but by all accounts I didn’t miss much. The game had the prospect to be a barn burner but for whatever reason, Adelaide United opted to play a conservative and cagey style of football that yielded just two shots on goal. Bernie Ibini’s second half strike was enough to seperate the two teams and set up a grand final rematch next week against Western Sydney Wanderers. You get the feeling though that Adelaide only need to tweak one or two positions to be a real threat next season.
When assessing the results, the Roar are well placed to advance to a third grand final. They have had the measure of Melbourne Victory for several years now and are the only team out of the four that won’t be playing a midweek Asian Champions League fixture. Considering the home field advantage, the track record of the last five years against Victory and the freshness of the squad, surely a home final beckons. As I’ve mentioned time and again in the past month, all eyes are on Besart Berisha. Berisha is moving to Victory next season and through injury or suspension, has actually managed to not participate in any of the three games against Victory this season. Which Berisha turns up for the semi final is anyone’s guess.
My Tips To Advance To The Grand Final: Brisbane Roar and Central Coast Mariners
News and Notes
- The Roar are rumoured to have signed Adelaide United defender Daniel Bowles for next season. He only played five games for Adelaide and I have no real opinion on him.
- Its kinda fun watching Manchester United flounder #moyesin
- The actual leaking of news stories about Moyes’ dismissal is rather unsavoury. Poor guy. Who would want to be a top flight football manager?
- On the opposite end of the spectrum, it looks like Perth Glory will stick with Kenny Lowe after being unsuccessful in their pursuit of Graham Arnold. Doesn’t particularly bode well for their chances next season.