Mon, Apr 24, 10:40am by Head Editor
The elimination final weekend saw Brisbane Roar squeeze past Western Sydney Wanderers in a penalty shootout on Friday night before Perth Glory did it easily against a disappointing Melbourne City outfit.
We’ll start on Friday night, in what was a pulsating contest at Suncorp Stadium. The Wanderers started well, pulling apart the Roar defence and moving them all around the pitch.
Just like they’ve done all season though, they failed to make the most of their dominance. They finally got on the board just before half-time through former Socceroo Terry Antonis.
I’m not sure what John Aloisi said to his charges at the break, but it was a different Roar side in the second half and Jamie MacLaren hit the back of the net in the 55th minute to level the score.
The sides then traded blows but with neither side able to land the knockout punch, we headed to a penalty shootout. The visitors won the coin toss but elected to kick second, a decision that has drawn some criticism – most teams like to have the advantage of going first.
Brisbane goalkeeper – Jamie Young – was the unlikely hero, saving the penalty that sees his club through to the semi-final in Melbourne on Sunday against the Victory. The early odds here see the hosts a $1.80 favourite with the Roar at $4.33.
Young slumped to his knees following the win, and was in tears, great to see from a man who was born in Brisbane, and came back from playing in Europe to play for his hometown club. He only came onto the pitch following a 99th minute injury to Michael Theo.
Sunday’s match did not see anywhere near the same amount of tension, or passion as Young showed on Friday, especially not from the most expensive squad ever assembled in this league – Melbourne City.
City showed that you can’t buy success, exiting the finals without giving a whimper.
Credit must go to Perth though, they came with a game plan, and they stuck to it brilliantly. They setup the win in the first half with a pair of goals and were compact and well organised in defence, denying the hosts the space they love.
Perth’s Diego Castro is such a special talent, you can learn so much by watching him, he scored the opening goal, and had a hand in the second. In defence, the rock was Dino Djulbic – who was also named man of the match.
Perth now face Sydney in the semi-final on Saturday night, another long trip for Perth, who must regroup after just a five-day break for their shot at a Grand Final. The early market here sees the Sky Blues at $1.57 with the Glory at $5.50.
Sydney FC $1.57 v Perth Glory $5.50 Draw $3.90
Melbourne Victory $1.80 v Brisbane Roar $4.33 Draw $3.50
Sydney FC $1.80
Melbourne Victory $3.30
Brisbane Roar $6.50
Perth Glory $8
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