David Zdrilic’s A-League Semi-Finals Preview: Sydney FC v Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar

Sydney FC v Perth | Saturday, April 29, 7.50pm (AEDT), Allianz Stadium

Sydney FC have enjoyed a week off thanks to their top-placed finish and the extra rest has served them well.

Star man Milos Ninkovic (pictured below) limped off injured against the Jets in the final round and has now had sufficient time to recover and be ready for this clash.

Tactically, Sydney FC will continue to play the same way, which has served them so well this season. 

Graham Arnold has been excellent in changing minor details game to game to suit each opponent.

Glory have hit top form at just the right time and their Elimination Finals win over City highlighted their counter attacking threat.

They created plenty of chances and scored two great goals to secure a deserved win over Tim Cahill’s boys. 

But perhaps the most pleasing aspect against City was they were able to keep a clean sheet.

Having conceded a massive 53 goals in the regular season, it will be a huge confidence boost to the squad they were able to keep Melbourne's potent frontline quiet.

KEY BATTLE: Milos Ninkovic v Diego Castro

This is the battle of the playmakers who have excelled for their clubs this season.

Ninkovic has nine goals and 10 assists, so it’s crucial for the Sky Blues he's fit and firing.

Castro (pictured above) is equally important for Glory with 13 goals and seven assists to his name.

The Verdict 

They’ve played three times this season with Sydney winning all three convincingly.

With the Sky Blues well rested and all players fit, they'll be too strong for Perth.

Unibet Odds: Sydney FC 1.44 Draw 4.85 Perth 7.10

Tip: Sydney FC 

Double chance: Sydney FC and Draw (1.10)

Total goals: Over 2.5 (1.44)

Both teams to score: No (2.38)

Correct score: Sydney FC 3-0

Melbourne Victory v Brisbane | Sunday, April 30, 5pm (AEDT), AAMI Park

Melbourne Victory also had the week off after finishing in second place and will be in a confident mood after their 1-0 win over the Mariners in the final round of the regular season.

Having been down on form lately, the Central Coast game gave Kevin Muscat’s side a chance to build momentum and confidence for the finals and that’s exactly what they did.

Roar advanced to the semi-finals after a thrilling penalty shootout win over the Wanderers.

After weathering an early first half onslaught, Brisbane came back into the match in the second half, which sent the match into extra time and then penalties.

The big question will be just how much did that game take out of them?

And when you take into account their midweek Champions League trip to Thailand to face Muang Thong United on Wednesday night, the task becomes even tougher.

 KEY BATTLE: Besart Berisha v Jamie Maclaren

This is the battle of the top scorers with both players finishing the regular season on top on 19 goals.

Berisha scored against the Mariners in round 27 and you could see the relief on his face while Maclaren (pictured above) has been a constant threat and scored another against the Wanderers in their Elimination Final win.

The Verdict 

Victory have the benefit of playing at home which is a huge advantage considering the three games played between the sides this season ended with a home win apiece, while the other resulted in a draw.  

Unibet Odds: Melbourne Victory 1.85 Draw 3.85 Brisbane 4.15

Tip: Melbourne Victory 

Double chance: Melbourne Victory and draw (1.24)

Total goals: Over 2.5 (1.56)

Both teams to score: Yes (1.52)

Correct score: Melbourne Victory 2-1 

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