The following are previews with betting tips for the Semi-finals – Second Legs – of the 2022/23 A-League Men season.
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Friday, May 19
Melbourne City v Sydney FC
7:45pm AEST, AAMI Park
Last weekend at Allianz Stadium fire crackers were let off for the full 90+8 minutes as the hosting ‘Sky Blues’ and visiting City contested what can only be described as a highly frantic and edge of your seat type stuff 1-1 stalemate. It took just three-minutes for Kosovo international Valon Berisha to unleash an absolute monster of a shot, a strong sign of what was to come. And of course only six-minutes later up the other end of the pitch Adam Le Fondre thought he had struck gold when his strike went in, only for him to be ruled as being literal inches offside in the leadup. And if that wasn’t morale sapping enough then on the 18-minute mark after a dubious foul call made just outside the box, a sublime Matthew Leckie header as a result saw City go 1-0 up. It went to VAR and the end verdict was still City going up by one goal. Towards the end of the first half the crossbar saved Sydney’s blushes, as did Tom Glover for Melbourne.
The second half really came to life when an unwarranted foul via Nuno Reis gave Anthony Caceres a brilliant chance to equalise via his spot kick attempt. It was saved easily in the bottom left-hand corner by Glover. However an encroachment call meant that Sydney got to retake it and up stood Le Fondre who dispatched it with ease to equalise in the tantalisingly tasty affair. Banging home his sixth goal in as many games. And again 71-on VAR was a cruel, cruel mistress to the ‘Sky Blues’ as Rhyan Grant’s strike was only marginally offside. It was well and truly a clash that was there for the taking for both sides. But at the end of the day it has set up on hell of a second leg come Friday night!
Melbourne’s last five home games; Melbourne W 3-2 v Western Sydney, Melbourne W 4-1 v Wellington, Melbourne W 2-1 v Melbourne Victory, D 1-1 v Newcastle and Melbourne W 2-1 v Brisbane.
Sydney’s last five away games; Sydney W 2-1 v Western Sydney, Sydney W 2-0 v Brisbane, D 1-1 v Adelaide, L 1-0 v Wellington and L 3-2 v Melbourne City.
Clean sheets kept this campaign; Tom Glover has kept seven from 27 games and is averaging 2.96 savers per match. Meanwhile Andrew Redmayne has kept five from 28 games and is averaging 3.04 saves per match.
In Moore Park against Sydney last Friday night Socceroos Striker Jamie Maclaren was kept quiet in the entire 98-minutes that he was out on the pitch for. As he compiled a stats sheet of zero goals and zero shot assists. Now compare that to his overall season statistics of twenty-four strikes, the highest in the league by +7 and 23 shot assists as well. History and his career suggests that he doesn’t stay un-impactful for very long, especially at his beloved venue of AAMI Park, playing for a club he has collected four trophies for, despite joining the Melbourne-based franchise in just 2019. Only aiding the fact that Maclaren seems likely for a huge bounce back performance is the fact that he’s scored three times over the course of his last two appearance at City’s home ground. And only adding that potential train of thought is that prior to him being shut down against the ‘Sky Blues’, he had scored four goals from his last three H2Hs versus them. So it’s safe to say he knows how to exploit their defence rather well!
If Maclaren brings his scoring boots with him then it’s game, set, match for the hosts. However if he falters then Sydney will have a sniff and they are no strangers to beating City when they shouldn’t, see Rhyan Grant’s extra-time Grand Final winner versus them at Parramatta. Regardless either way we are set for one hell of a matchup!
Betting tips: Look for at least one of Jamie Maclaren – $1.66 or Adam Le Fondre – $2.30 (Bet365) to score throughout the clash
Also look for both teams to score at $1.53 (Bet365)
And don’t be afraid to look for there to be 9+ corners at $1.50 either (Bet365)
Saturday, May 20
Central Coast Mariners v Adelaide United
7:45pm AEST, Industree Group Stadium
With Adelaide reeling off the back of a last-start 4-1 thrashing at the hands of the Central Coast they were more determined then ever to get off on the right track at their beautiful boutique home of Coopers Stadium. And that they did as just four-minutes into the match Craig Goodwin powered home his spot kick attempt with vigour to give the ‘Reds’ a shock 1-0 lead and lock down his 15th strike of the season in the process. His right-footed effort coming after a silly handball from ‘Yellow Army’ Defender Brian Kaltack. However it didn’t take long for the Mariners to start their colourfully entertaining journey back to redemption that eventuated in a 2-1 triumph, as just 11-minutes later James McGarry’s absolute rocket from outside the box blasted into the back of the net, making the score one goal a piece and rendering rival Goal Keeper Joe Gauci helpless and on his knees. The young ‘Kiwi’ Defender bagging his third strike of the campaign and perhaps his most important one of them all!
And just before half-time a training-like goal from Jason Cummings saw him pick out Gauci and score his 17th goal of the campaign and give his side an unassailable 2-1 lead. The through ball from Beni Nkololo doing wonders for the Socceroo. The second-half presented more of the same as both sides exchanged blows throughout, however neither were quite able to source the required finishing touch. And it was a fast, fast finish to the affair indeed as wonderkid Nestory Irakunda threatened on multiple occasions. Whilst the George Blackwood & Goodwin combination also nearly sourced a goal a couple of times as well. With the lead being at just one goal, there is still everything to play for in Gosford throughout this should-be thoroughly intense and entertaining second leg.
Central Coast’s last five home games; D 1-1 v Melbourne City, Central Coast W 4-1 v Brisbane, Central Coast W 4-1 v Macarthur, D 1-1 v Wellington and D 2-2 v Western Sydney.
Adelaide’s last five away games; D 4-4 v Perth, Adelaide W 3-2 v Western Sydney, Adelaide W 4-2 v Newcastle, D 1-1 v Melbourne Victory and Adelaide W 3-2 v Western United.
Clean sheets kept this campaign; Danny Vukovic has kept four from 27 games and is averaging 3.26 saves per match. Meanwhile Joe Gauci has kept four from 28 games and is averaging 3.5 saves per match.
After a long, long season contesting for both the Socceroos and the ‘Reds’ it remains to be seen how much energy Craig Goodwin has left in the tank! Because if he’s running on close to empty then Adelaide may well fold like a house of cards right on the harbour. However if he can drag his side out to an early lead once again, then all bets are off. Because whoever wins this will be as tough to predict as which side a coin will land on, they are just that evenly matched. Plus somebody who is often neglected but needs to sep up more is the ‘Reds’ third time all-leading goal-scorer George Blackwood. Last Saturday night he could’ve well had one or two strikes and now is 100% the time for him to repay the constant faith showed in him by head coach Carl Veart. Having joined the club back in 2017/18 and having experienced plenty of success with them, the 25-year-old will be hungry for more. And contesting do-or-die Football, now is really the time for him to show his worth!
If Goodwin & Blackwood can work some magic then Adelaide can easily take this game and the two-legged series out. However if not then the Mariners will certainly be deserving of their first Grand Final appearance since 2013, such are the miracles that Nick Montgomery & Co have worked on a limited budget. Tune in, because this’ll be a wild one!
Betting tips: Back there to be over 2.5 goals produced throughout at $1.36 (Bet365)
Also back both sides to score at least 1+ goal a piece at $1.36 (Bet365)
And you can also back at least one of Jason Cummings – $1.72 or Craig Goodwin – $3.00 (Bet365) to score anytime throughout the match