Glory awaits City

Melbourne City on the precipice of back-to-back championships. 282633 Picture: WISEMANSPORTS/TALKINGCITY

By Lachlan Mitchell

Melbourne City has secured its third consecutive A League grand-final after a hard-fought win in its semi-final encounter with Adelaide United.

City went into the clash at AAMI Park against Adelaide United on Sunday locked at 0-0 after the first leg in Adelaide was a heated stale-mate.

Western United had already booked its spot in the grand-final, after over-coming a 1-0 deficit against Melbourne Victory in the first leg to triumph 4-2 on aggregate.

Adelaide and Melbourne entered the clash knowing that missed opportunities in the first leg cost both sides taking an advantage into the second-leg.

Adelaide had the first real opportunity of the game through Kusini Yengi, who fired his shot in front of goal sky-high and into the crowd in the 14th minute.

City Keeper Thomas Glover was busy early, and had to make a crucial save in the 27th minute to deny George Blackwood the opener.

City was pressed on defence but quickly found the rhythm that has seen them claim the Premier’s Plate just two weeks earlier.

Andrew Nabbout found himself in a very dangerous position just outside the 18-yard box. Nabbout swung onto his trusted left leg only to be saved by United keeper Joe Gauci, who had a make a gallant diving save to his right.

City quickly had the Adelaide defence in trouble just before the half-time whistle. A quick-cross caught the United defence and keeper Gauci in an uncomfortable situation. A quick clearing kick from the United defence was required to scurry the ball to safety.

At half-time it looked like both teams had found their momentum and were continuing to find their space to threat the netting.

The second-half saw Adelaide have all the momentum and break the dead-lock. A well-directed lob from Zach Clough saw the ball sail over City keeper Thomas Glover’s head and into the back of the net.

The strike was Clough’s first goal of the season.

In an attempt to get his side back into the contest, City coach Patrick Kisnorbo brought on Marco Tilio to replace French-international Florin Berenguer.

After a few runs of slow-build up and patience from the City attackers, The Casey side got themselves back on terms.

Marco TIlio found himself linking up with Andrew Nabbout at the far post to head home City’s first to even the score.

The goal was Tilio’s eight goal of the season in all-competitions.

City continued to battle and fight in regular time but couldn’t push ahead. Extra-time was required to find a winner.

Shortly after the restart Jamie Maclaren found himself on the end of loose ball that had spilled free to drill his shot in to the bottom left corner to put City ahead.

The final 20-minutes of the game saw both sides have their fair share of chances in order to break the deadlock. Thomas Glover requiring his best work to deny Adelaide the leveller.

As the final whistle rung out the crowd was in euphoria as City will play Western United in an all-Melbourne final at AAMI Park on Saturday night.