David Zdrilic’s A-League Elimination Finals Preview: Brisbane v Western Sydney, Melbourne City v Perth

Brisbane v Western Sydney | Friday, April 21, 7.50pm (AEDT), Suncorp Stadium

Roar will enjoy home ground advantage in this Elimination Final, which is a huge boost for John Aloisi’s side who have a great record at Suncorp.

With last year’s 5-4 finals loss to the Wanderers still fresh in their minds, Brisbane will be out for revenge.

It was one of the A-League's most memorable games with the Roar leading 3-0 after only 23 minutes before eventually losing the match in extra time.

Players often use previous games as motivation for revenge and this will certainly drive Brisbane in this match.

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic was under fire earlier in the season, but has since guided his team to another finals series and will be motivated to prove the doubters wrong.

Popovic rested key players in the final round of the A-league, so he’ll have a fresh squad to pick from.

Momentum is key in finals football and Western Sydney have enjoyed their best form of the season in recent weeks, so they’ll be a real threat.

KEY BATTLE: Jamie Maclaren v Brendon Santalab

Maclaren (pictured above) finished the regular season level with Besart Berisha on 19 goals.

He scored in their 4-3 win over Wellington last weekend and is full of confidence leading into this big clash.

Wanderers don’t lose when Santalab (pictured below) scores. He has netted in nine games this season with the Wanderers winning six and drawing three.

He's Western Sydney’s player of the year after scoring 14 goals in total.

He has been the main man in their push for a finals spot and will again be key here.

The Verdict

Despite some very even matches between the two sides this year, the Wanderers have been unable to secure a win.

They’ve played twice at Suncorp this season losing 2-1 in January, while it finished 1-1 back in December.

It will be a case of third time lucky with the Wanderers coming out on top.

Unibet Odds: Brisbane 2.25 Draw 3.55 Western Sydney 3.20

Tip: Western Sydney 

Correct score: Western Sydney 2-1

Melbourne City v Perth | Sunday, April 23, 7pm (AEDT), AAMI Park

City and Glory renew their rivalry a week after their incredible nine-goal thriller in the final round of the A-League season at NIB Stadium.

Perth had a great chance to leapfrog City and win a home final, needing a four-goal aggregate win. 

But with the score locked at 4-1, Glory were unable to keep City out, meaning they now travel to Melbourne and lose home advantage.

Both sides will no doubt look to focus on their defence but having conceded 97 goals between them, it may be a little late for that.

The good news is that up front, City and Perth are lethal with 102 goals in total including 20 goals in the three matches played between them this season.

City have Cahill, Fornaroli, Kamau and Colazo while Perth are also blessed with multiple options such as Keogh, Castro, Taggart and Marinkovic.

KEY BATTLE: Tim Cahill v Diego Castro

Cahill is the man for the big occasion and his experience will be crucial to City’s chances.

He has 11 goals and most of them in key moments, which we’ve come to expect from the Socceroo.

Castro (pictured above) has had another great season with 12 goals and 6 assists to his name.

He’s a player who can create and score and like Cahill is a match winner. 

The Verdict

Despite City being the home side, Perth will be confident they can cause an upset.

They have played twice at AAMI, a 3-3 draw in December and a 3-2 win back in October.

Whatever the result, we should expect goals, but I feel City will make home advantage count.

Unibet Odds: Melbourne City 2.05 Draw 3.60 Perth 3.50

Tip: Melbourne City 

Correct score: Melbourne City 3-2

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