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Australian Football: Five things we learnt from A-League semi-finals

Melbourne City and Central Coast Mariners will go head-to-head in the A-League grand final following their wins over Sydney FC and Adelaide United respectively.

Considering City finished top of the ladder at the end of the regular season, with Central Coast in second, it is fitting that they will scrap it out in the big dance.

Sydney FC will have fancied their chances heading into the semi-final second leg as it was delicately poised at 1-1, but the home side blew them away in devastating fashion, winning 4-0.

The Mariners also got the job done on home soil, winning 2-0, 4-1 on aggregate, to set up an intriguing showdown with City.

The grand final will take place on 3rd June, giving both sides plenty of time to rest up, recover and get ready to go again in the big one.

But now the semi-finals are done, what did we learn?

WhatMelbourne City v Central Coast Mariners
WhereCommBank Stadium, Sydney
When19:45 (AEST), Saturday 3rd June 2023
How to watchParamount+, 10Bold
OddsMelbourne City 1.95, Draw 3.80, Central Coast Mariners 3.50

Mariners peak at the right time

It is often said just how important it is to peak at the right time when it comes to playing finals, and the Central Coast Mariners are the perfect example.

Throughout January, February and March, Adelaide were the form team of the competition, scoring goals for fun and brushing the opposition aside.

At the same time, the Mariners were a bit up and down, until it came to the final month of the regular season when the tide turned.

Adelaide picked up just one win in the last five games, while the Mariners won four and drew one.

One of those wins was a 4-1 victory over Adelaide on the last day of the regular season which allowed them to take second spot, earning them a week off.

The momentum carried into finals with them seeing off Adelaide 4-1 on aggregate over the two legs in the semi-final.

The Mariners have peaked at just the right time, but now face their biggest test yet in the grand final.

Goal threat strong for Mariners

They do have goal threats all over the pitch and this was highlighted in the semi-finals as each of the four goals were scored by different players.

Without doubt Jason Cummings is the biggest goal threat. He has scored 17 times this season, including one in the first leg.

The Socceroos ace will once again be a big danger in the grand final, but the Mariners can get a goal from anywhere - James McGarry, Samuel Silvera and Marco Tulio netted the other goals in the semis.

City are on fire

Melbourne City could not be looking any stronger heading into the grand final after they smashed Sydney 4-0 in the semi-final second leg.

They have been the stand-out team all season and the same can be said over their semi-final performance.

The final could be a high-scoring affair as both City and the Mariners know where the back of the net is and have been fining it with ease.

Over 2.5 goals in the game can be backed at 1.53.

Related Football News

Australian Football: Central Coast Mariners v Adelaide United preview

Australian Football: Melbourne City v Sydney FC preview

Corica still the man for Sydney

Despite a heavy 4-0 defeat in the second leg, Steve Corica is still the man to lead Sydney FC into the future.

There has been a lot of speculation over his future and whether he is still the man for the job.

However he guided Sydney into the top six before they knocked out Western Sydney Wanderers in the elimination final, and then drew the first leg of the semi with Melbourne 1-1.

Corica says he still has the passion to lead Sydney and it would be a huge surprise if he moved on during the off-season.

Adelaide have a bright future

Adelaide United will be disappointed to miss out on the grand final, but they once again showed they have a squad full of quality and will be there or thereabouts next season.

Nestory Irankunda has been one of the highlights and the good news for Adelaide and the A-League is he is going nowhere next season.

Bayern Munich are keen to swoop, but FIFA regulations prevent him from moving on before his 18th birthday.

The only disappointing thing for Adelaide supporters would have been the fact he did not come off the bench earlier in the second leg when they desperately needed a goal.

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