The home & away season has finished and the A-League finals series is here. Two huge elimination finals await A-League fans this weekend. Only three points separated third place from sixth place, so the stage is set for an enthralling weekend of A-League action. It’s win or go home for all teams this weekend, with a trip to the Semi Finals for the winners.
Of the teams outside the top two, the Mariners look the most likely to have a legitimate chance at taking out the A-League title. The Mariners spent fifteen of the first sixteen weeks of the season at the top of the table and have proven that their best is good enough to beat any team in the competition. Macarthur come into the Elimination Final with just one win from their last four games, after suffering a 3-0 defeat at home to Wellington in their final game of the home and away season. The Mariners have beaten the Bulls in all three games they played against Macarthur this season and will be full of confidence facing them at home.
It has been a remarkable turnaround from the Mariners who are playing a home final for the first time in seven years, and there’s some serious momentum within the club. It’s going to be a tough task for the Bulls, and it could be an overwhelming one given this side hasn’t faced an occasion this big before. A raucous Gosford crowd will be an intimidating prospect for a Macarthur side that is facing their first finals match.
It’s a battle of attacking firepower vs a stringent defence when Adelaide head to Moreton Daily Stadium to take on the Roar.
The Reds have the fourth-ranked attack in the competition scoring 39 goals this season and the second best conversion rate in the A-League. Whilst Brisbane rank seventh for goals for this season, and tenth for conversion.
With Adelaide having a near full strength lineup with Tomi Juric back fit and firing, Adelaide have some serious attacking weapons that will cause Roar plenty of troubles. There are massive concerns about Brisbane’s lack of proven avenues to goal and if they go down early, it’s difficult to see them reeling the Reds in.
Roar have lost two of their last three games leading into the finals and Adelaide defeated Brisbane when these two sides met a month ago. Brisbane are lacking momentum at the wrong time of the season, and their inability to score is worrying, Adelaide are well-positioned to cause an upset.
Thirteen of Brisbane’s twenty six matches this season have hit under 2.5 goals and under the pressure of elimination it’s hard to see their game style opening up. Roar have conceded only 28 goals from their 26 matches in the home and away season, the second fewest in the A-League. In attack, Brisbane averaged 1.3 goals per game this season, and they lack potent goal-scoring threats.
Three of the last five matches between Adelaide and Brisbane have gone under 2.5 goals, and this match looks destined to follow that trend. Brisbane have struggled at home this season, with a 5-5-3 record, scoring just 17 goals from the 13 games at home. Whilst Adelaide are an excellent attacking side, with the way the Roar play it’s hard to see this game having much attacking flow to it. With the pressure of an elimination final, expect this to be a cagey encounter at Moreton Daily Stadium.