The following are previews with betting tips for the semi-finals of the 2018/19 A-League season.
Friday, May 10
Perth Glory v Adelaide United
8:30 PM AEST, HBF Park
The Minor Premiers had a week of to rest after their most recent 5-0 shellacking of the Phoenix in the final game of the regular season. The Glory had four different players get in on the action and on the score-sheet as all of Keogh (double), Castro, Ikonimidis and Santalab found the back of the net. The Glory shot a powerful 17/37 shots on target! As well as that they dominated possession with 64% of the ball compared to Wellingtons 36%. They also kept the opposition to just 3/8 on target. Perth also had two shots bounce of the woodwork. The Glory completed 88% of their passes, good for 591/670. And they conceded just the four fouls to Wellingtons 15. This match meant that Keogh ended his impressive campaign on 15 goals, and just one of 2nd place in the A-League. It also means that Ikonimidis had nine from just 18 games, good for a strike every two games!
WOW, WOW, WOW!!! Playing at a packed out Hindmarsh Stadium, Ben Halloran was the hero as he struck the back of the net with professionalism and poise in the 119th minute, with one of the final few plays of the game, to send the stadium into absolute raptures and securing Adelaide the tight 1-0 win that sends them to the second week of the finals. It was such an incredible moment and one that the home side had been pushing and pushing and pushing for the entire game. City had come oh so close on a couple of occasions, but it was the reigning FFA Cup champs who prevailed when it mattered the most. Adelaide had only 10 shots the entire game and two of them were the only ones of target. Although they also did have two of their shots come of the woodwork. That while the possession was pretty delicately poised with Adelaide at 53% and City at 47%. Adelaide were however severely out-dueled losing that battle 97-71. And fouling was also pretty high with Adelaide conceding 18 and the opposition 24. While there were five yellows in their as well.
Adelaide have failed to register a victory from their past three meetings against Perth. And the last time these two teams faced off, the Glory eventually prevailed with a 2-0 win. However, their last game at NIB Stadium resulted in a close 0-0 draw. In Perth’s 2-0 win, Castro scored in the 35th minute and Keogh in the 70th minute to secure the win for the away side. Despite Adelaide having 58% of the ball in that game, the Glory managed to shoot 8/14 on target. While for Adelaide that number was a respectable 5/11. Adelaide completed 79% of their passes that game and Perth did so at a 73% rate. While the foul numbers were pretty low, Marco Kurz’s side gave away only nine and Perth just four more. Although there were four yellow cards involved, with two being handed out to each side.
Craig Goodwin is the man for this game. He registered two shots on target vs Melbourne and won 8/13 duels despite him not being a particularly physical player. He also completed 88% of his passes. His skill-set and what he can offer makes him the only Adelaide player who can truly match the likes of Castro and Ikonimidis in that regard. And he brought it big against Melbourne and he’ll have to do it again against Perth to give his side literally any chance of sniffing out the un-likeliest of victories. This campaign he has 10 goals and nine assists as he’s been at the fore-front of Adelaide’s attack. He also secured the double in Adelaide’s 2-1 FFA Cup final win over Sydney. The former Rotterdam player is one for the big moments. And whether or not his side get the win, expect him to come up big time once again.
Adelaide threw City out of the comp and now they’re looking to do the same against Perth. And although the Glory are an entirely different kettle of fish to Melbourne, the fighting, never say never spirit that they displayed at home should serve them well in this game. Castro (seven goals, five assists), Keogh (15 goals, two assists) and Ikonimidis (nine goals and three assists) will all come at Adelaide hard, so they need to stay solid at the back. The Glory have the potential to rain in the goals and at a very quick rate so Adelaide will need to do all they can defensively to keep themselves in the game. And the possession could be very lopsided as well in favour of the home-team. But if Izzo & Co can do what they do best, then expect Adelaide to ever so slightly have a chance of taking this one away from Tony Popovic’s men.
Betting tip: Pick Adelaide to remain resolute defensively and claim the shock victory at $4.40 (Neds)
Also pick Adelaide to score the last strike of the game at $2.80 (Neds)
And also pick there to be over 2.5 goals at $1.83 (Ladbrokes)
Sunday, May 12
Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
7:00 PM AEST, Jubilee Stadium
Sydney lost 2-0 to the Jets in their last A-League game. But also close to that match was Sydney’s 2-2 draw against Shanghai SIPG. And given the Sky Blues fielded a much-weakened line-up against Newcastle, I’ll focus on the ACL draw instead. Sydney struck first through O’Neil in the 33rd minute. Then in the 47th the home-side got it back to 1-1. Then in the 59th minute they took a 2-1 lead. Then just three minutes later in the 62nd minute, Adam Le Fondre made it 2-all. To their credit Sydney did well with 43% possession as they shot 5/11 on target. However, they also allowed the opposition to shoot nine on target and take 20 shots! The Sky Blues also completed a nice 83% of their passes, 353/426. And the away side were very impressive as they conceded only seven fouls with no yellows or reds in the process of doing so. And that’s compared to SIPG who leaked 11 and gave away two yellows. This is a very encouraging performance for Sydney to take into the Big Blue Derby.
The Victory fought of a resilient Phoenix side as they eventually wore them down to win 3-1 and advance to the A-League Semi Finals. Niedermeier struck first in the 42nd minute for Melbourne. Barbarouses then scored in the 54th minute to make it 2-0. Roy Krishna then bought it back in the 64th minute to 2-1. And that was before Toivonen scored a superb chip over Kurto to make it 3-1. That was Barbarouses’s 15th goal of the season and Toivonen’s 13th. Both players having a huge, huge impact against the Nix. There was also a red card in the 93rd minute of the match to Kopczynski of the Phoenix. The Victory impressively managed to shoot 5/12 on target despite only having 37% of the ball. And despite the opposition having 63% possession, Melbourne managed to keep the to only 3/14 on target. This was also a high-fouling affair as Melbourne conceded 17. While the Nix gave away 25 including five yellows and the previously-mentioned red.
The past three encounters between these two sides have resulted in two 2-1 wins to Melbourne and one 2-1 win to Sydney, with Sydney’s victory being the most recent encounter between these two sides. Ninkovic scored the late 93rd minute winner in that one to deliver Sydney the most crazy of results and that goal is all that separates the two on the ladder with the Sky Blues being on 52 points and the Victory on 50. However, the most memorable game between these two sides was one of the ones played last year where these same two teams met in the semi-finals and Melbourne prevailed 3-2. A Terry Antonis own goal against his former side in the 95th minute somehow meant that the game would be going to ET. That was before he avenged that horrible mistake by scoring the 117th minute winner at Allianz Stadium as he sent his side through to the Big Dance. Sydney will be looking to make amends big time in this one!
Adam Le Fondre is the key player here. The former Bolton player and English born marquee man has been massive for Sydney this season in all of the A-League, ACL and FFA Cup. He has delivered goals in all competitions when it’s mattered the most and will again be heavily relied upon by Sydney in this Big Blue Derby. This A-League campaign he’s had 16 goals (good for 2nd in the A-League), along with 28 shot assists). He also scored Sydney’s only goal in the FFA Cup final, a strike that kept them in the game for the majority of the match. He is a big time player and will need to come up big once again to counter the likes of Barbarouses and Toivonen on the other team. Sydney need goals to win this game and they will more then likely have to be from Le Fondre as he seeks to guide his side to yet another Grand Final.
Expect Sydney to win this one, but only ever so slightly. Andrew Redmayne and Lawrence Thomas will have to come up big in goals given the various attacking threats of both sides. In 18 games across all competitions this season, Sydney have scored 2+ goals. For the Victory that number is 17. Le Fondre, Ninkovic, Brosque, Barbarouses, Toivonen and Honda will all have a massive say on the outcome of this game as they will determine whether their sides attacks are either like volcanoes or matches. Both these sides countless times have produced frenzied and entertaining affairs whenever they’ve played in each other in the past and you can expect this one to be no different at all!
Betting tip: Pick Sydney to win at $2.25 (UniBet)
Also pick them to score first at $1.66 (Bet365)
And also pick both teams to find the back of the net by scoring at $1.70 (Bet365)
Best Bet of the Round
My favourite/best bet for this round is for Sydney to win at $2.25 (UniBet). That match against the Victory in which Antonis killed of their hopes will be running high in their minds and they’ll want to prove differently on the big stage that they won’t choke against their rivals!