A-league Semi Finals: Previews and Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for the Semi-finals of the 2019/20 A-League season.

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Wednesday, August 26

Melbourne City

Melbourne City vs Western United FC

2nd vs 5th
5:00 PM AEST, Bankwest Stadium

Western United

Last RD: City’s latest match was a rather easy 3-1 victory over Western United, their opponents for this all-crucial semi-final match-up. They opened the scoring through Najjar in just the 12th minute of the match. Whilst Maclaren scored twice, in the 57th and 86th minutes of the match. Those were his 21st and 22nd strikes of the campaign, as he claimed the Golden Boot for top scorer in the A-League. And those 3 critical goals are what gave Melbourne their all-important 14th win of the season, as they ended the campaign in 2nd place, only 2 wins of 1st and 2 wins ahead of 3rd. With 52% possession of the ball, they managed to shoot an impressive 8 of 21 shots on target. They also completed a strong 83% of their passes. Something which was good for 411/498. They also won 49 duels, as well as 14 aerial duels. Whilst they made 20 tackles and leaked 13 fouls. However, they conceded no cards either. City have had some good rest in the lead-up to this clash, in complete and utter contrast to their rivals who have seemingly been playing non-stop since the season resumed. Will this ultimately give Melbourne the edge?

As for Western United, they proved to be absolutely clutch as they won their elimination final vs Brisbane 1-0. This was their 13th victory of the season and their most important one! As they finished the regular campaign in 5th place and ultimately they were only 2 points of the 3rd placed Nix. Their sole-goal came via a simply stunning Diamanti free-kick in the 21st minute. The Alex Tobin winner rocketing the shot into the corner of the net. With 45% ownage of the ball, W.U., managed to shoot an impressive 5/12 on target. Whilst they kept the Roar to only 3/16! They also completed a solid 80% of their passes. That being something that was good for 328/412. They also won 63 duels and 22 aerial duels. And they made 14 tackles, but also gave up 5 fouls. 3 Of which were yellows. However that was mild in comparison to the 21 fouls Brisbane gave up. Given City beat them not that long ago by 2 goals, how much will that play on W.U.’s mind? They fielded a weakened team back then, but the question still remains. The mental aspects to this game, ultimately, should be just as big/or close to, as the physical ones.

Past History: When these sides contested their first-ever clash, it was way back in RD3, at GMHBA Stadium. That day, City prevailed 2 goals to 1. A double to Maclaren in the 32nd and 85th minutes are what won them the match. Whilst W.U.’s goal came via Berisha, in the 66th minute. That was a bit of a fiery affair, as W.U. leaked 14 fouls, + 3 yellows. As for City, they were even worse. They leaked 12 fouls, 2 yellows and a red. The red came for Delbridge in the 64th minute, after a second yellow, for a hand-ball in the box. After that in RD13, it was 3-2, also in favor of City, at AAMI Park this time round. Maclaren also scored a double that game, in the 5th and 44th mins of the match. Luna also scored 8 mins prior to Maclaren’s 2nd goal. And it was Berisha (75th min) and Diamanti 4 mins later who found the back of the net for W.U. And Delbridge again saw red, this time in the 78th minute. That was also for a hand ball in the box! And then it comes down to the most recent clash between the two sides, where in-front of an empty stadium, City won 3-1. Their goals came through yet again, a double to Maclaren (57th and 86th mins) and Najjar (12th min). Whilst Berisha again scored against his newest rivals, with a fine goal in the 70th min, to peg the score back a bit. Safe to say City have the historical advantage headed into this one.

Key Player: Besart Berisha- The 35 year-old Kosovo Striker has 19 goals this season, +20 shot assists. With every game that comes and goes, he continues to defy his age and in-turn, tear the A-League apart. Expect him to have a massive, perhaps some-what controversial impact on this no-doubt exciting encounter.

What Should Happen: The fairy-tale run continuing for United. City will start as the strong favorites for this game and rightfully so. But it would be incredibly stupid to discount the experience in Australia from the likes of Rudan, right through to the lads including Berisha and Durante. And then they have the foreign magic being produced by absolute super-stars such as Diamanti (a former West-Ham and Serie A player) and Kurto (an ex-Poland youth international player). They are like fine-wine and ultimately, despite this being their 1st season in the A-League, they have the experience, the talent and the poise to go on and win this elimination semi-final. + When you throw in lads such as Burgess (6 goals, + 5 assists this season) and Lustica (54 games alone for the Roar, excluding the rest of his A-League experience), their prospects just get better and better and better!

Pick Western United to be victorious at $3.10 (BetEasy).

And when further match odds are released, pick Berisha to score at any-time and for W.U. to score first.

Sydney FC

Sydney FC vs Perth Glory

1st vs 6th
8:10 PM AEST, Bankwest Stadium

Perth Glory

Last RD: Sydney finished the regular season in 1st place, as they claimed yet another Minor Premiership. However in the post-COVID resumed campaign, they have looked like anything but the reigning champs of Australia. Their last game was a tight 2-1 defeat to Western United. Mark Rudan’s men thoroughly outplayed the Sky Blues in this encounter and it just continued a rather worrying run of form for them. And despite Le Fondre bagging his 20th of the season in the 52nd minute, it just wasn’t enough to get the job done at home. As Berisha scored in the 21st minute and Lustica scored the insane winner in the 90th minute. This was just  Sydney’s 5th defeat of the season, but a worrying one at that! Sydney shot 5/16 on target, with 54% possession of the ball throughout the match. They did however complete a strong 85% of their passes. Something that was good for 440/517. They also won 53 duels and 19 aerial duels. Whilst they made 16 tackles and leaked just the low-digit 7 fouls, + no yellows or reds. Whilst W.U. were at 14 fouls and the 2 yellows. In the lead-up to this match, several high-profile lads from the Sky Blues such as Brattan and Wilkinson have talked all about how they can turn their form around in time for this big clash. Will that prove to be true? Or will it ultimately be just all talk?

Perth have been a scrappy, yet persevering side at various points throughout this season and they were at it again vs Wellington, as they came through with a rather shock 1-0 victory in their elimination final this past Saturday evening. Joel Reddy was tremendous in goals for the Glory, as his gritty, hard-work, laid the foundations for Chianese to score the games only goal in the 18th minute. And before the match, it was announced that at the conclusion of the season, Chianese would be departing the Glory for an overseas adventure. So one has to wonder if that motivated him just the little bit more to perform well at Bankwest Stadium? Glory held just 33% of the ball and went only 5/15 on target. And they did so incredibly well to with hold a Nix attack that had 67% possession of the ball, shot 11/31 on target and had a shot come of the woodwork! Fair play Glory, fair play indeed! They also completed 73% of their passes. Something that was good for 185/252. And they leaked 13 fouls, + 3 yellows. The Glory’s record against Sydney is undeniably poor. But they made it this far. Who’s to say that they can’t cause another upset? The Glory will bring it in this encounter. That’s for sure!

Past History: Sydney FC have won 13 of their past 15 games against the Glory. The game that breaks that record goes all the way back to 2016, FEB 13, at the SFS, where the Glory prevailed 2-1. That day goals via Keogh and Harold are what got them the win. But that was back when Smeltz was repping Sky Blue colours, + he also was Sydney’s sole goal-scorer in that match. The most recent clash they contested ended in a tight 0-0 score-line. That match played at Jubilee Stadium, saw Sydney with 49% of the ball, go 4/13 on target. And Perth with 51% of the ball, go just 1/9 on target!. It was also a high-fouling clash, as Sydney leaked 12. And Perth were at 17, + a yellow. Prior to that, it was 3-1 to Sydney, at Nib Stadium. Their goals came through Le Fondre in the 12th min, Barbarouses in the 58th min and Ninkovic in the 65th min. Whilst Fornaroli scored the Glory’s only goal in the 44th minute of the match. SYD went 4/7 on target and PER were 6/18 on target. The Sky Blues completed 77% of their passes and the Glory 87% of theirs. Those were good for 266/347 and 412/475 respectively. And prior to that game, Sydney won the GF at Optus Stadium on penalties. That after a Le Fondre offside call was wrongly made during regular-time, which meant that a goal that should’ve counted, ultimately didn’t count. The Glory have a lot of history to overturn here. But they were resilient against the Nix and can be so again against Sydney. + This Sky Blues side is struggling as of late, if they were ever going to get it done against a great Sydney squad, this might be the one to do it against (insert staring eyes emoji here).

Key Player: Kosta Barbarouses- The 30 year-old A-League veteran has been displaying some rather poor form as of late. However, to his credit on the season, he still has 7 goals and 6 assists to his name, including an awesome late winner against City from earlier in the campaign. He’s a big-name player, who arises to the big-name occasions. Expect him to do just that right here and in-turn have an awesome impact on this encounter.

What Should Happen: Sydney advancing to yet another GF, via their worldly attack. Up front you have former Bolton Wanderer Le Fondre, a man who’s bagged 20 this season. There’s also the Kiwi Barbarouses, ably backing him up (his stats have already been mentioned). Then there’s Ninkovic, a guy who has a pretty great 5 goals and 3 assists this season. Whilst in the previous campaign he bagged 7 assists and 35 shot assists. Brattan, the much-loved Aussie is also there, with an amazing 18 shot assists. He doesn’t always get the stats he deserves, but he is the ultimate team-player! He always does the perfect pass or a great swerve to get his Sky Blues into a great attacking position. Then rounding out the crew is Baumjohann. He has a goal, + 6 assists so far this campaign. Then there’s the equally awesome duo of Buhagiar and Ivanovic of the bench. And those are only some of the Sky Blues potent attackers. That is how they’ll win this one! No doubt about it!

Pick the Sky Blues to be victorious at $1.90 (BetEasy).

And when further match odds are released, pick Le Fondre to score any-time and for Sydney to strike first with the games first goal.

Best Bets of the Round

When further match odds are released, pick the 2nd half to be the highest-scoring half for each side and also within both games, pick both teams to score at least one goal each.

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