Mon, Apr 30, 11:22am by Staff Writer
Two gripping semi-finals took place to decide which teams would make the 2018 A-League Grand Final.
In one of the most entertaining and dramatic contests in A-League history, Melbourne Victory stunned Sydney FC on Saturday night at Allianz Stadium as big outsiders to make their sixth A-League final.
The Sky Blues took the lead in the 24th minute thanks to a Stefan Nigro own goal. Victory did not wait long for a response, with Kosta Barbarouses drawing scores level just after the half-hour.
Despite the Sky Blues being short priced favourites for consecutive A-League titles all season and having a dominant recent record against Melbourne Victory, it was the visitors who looked more threatening in front of goal all game.
Sydney FC had over 60 per cent of the possession in the match but failed to capitalise on it in the first half and Victory seized upon an opportunity in the second period.
A James Troisi goal early in the second half put Victory ahead and looked to be the match winner.
A dramatic 95th minute own goal from Terry Antonis gifted Sydney FC an unlikely lifeline as all looked lost for the hosts.
Players were out on their feet during extra-time until a brilliant move from halfway by villain turned hero Terry Antonis led to an unlikely goal three minutes from time and Victory were winners 3-2.
It was a devastating loss for Sydney who have been the most dominant and consistent team all year. It was only their second loss at home all season and the last game for coach Graham Arnold before he coaches the Socceroos after the World Cup.
Victory will play Newcastle on Saturday night as $2.65 underdogs, with the Jets $2.50 favourites to win the match in regular time.
To win the title, the Jets are $1.72 favourites at Sportsbet, with Victory priced at $2.
The Jets managed their own stunning victory on Friday night, beating Melbourne City 2-1.
An early Bruno Fornaroli goal silenced the capacity crowd in Newcastle before a Riley McGree stunner drew scores level.
His now famous goal has received millions of online views and has to go down as one of the most spectacular goals in A-League history.
City had the majority of possession in the match at 56 per cent but managed a meagre four shots at goal, as their early lead made them a more defensive outfit than they are used to being.
Jason Hoffman scored a second goal for the Jets in the 75th minute and it proved to be decisive, with Newcastle going through to the Grand Final.
It ends another underwhelming season for City who were once again well hyped but failed to deliver.
Melbourne Victory $2
A-League Grand Final *Market after 90 minutes + injury time
Newcastle $2.50 Draw $3.50 Melbourne Victory $2.65
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