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A-League elimination finals preview panel

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6 days ago Vince Rugari and Ben McKay

PREVIEW OF A-LEAGUE ELIMINATION FINALS (all times AEST):

FRIDAY, April 21

Brisbane v Western Sydney at Suncorp Stadium 7.50pm

Head to Head: Roar 7 Wanderers 7 drawn 4

Last clash: Round 17 2016-17 - Roar 2 bt Wanderers 1 at Suncorp Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Roar $2.15 Wanderers $3.10 Draw $3.50

The Wanderers have never played a finals series without crossing paths with the Roar at some stage, and another enthralling chapter in their burgeoning rivalry awaits. No team has beaten Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium in a finals series and, with a squad laden with players who have titles at home and abroad, there's every reason to think that record will remain intact. Jamie Maclaren and Brett Holman are on fire, while left-back Corey Brown will return to restore the Roar's first-choice back four. Western Sydney haven't beaten them in three attempts this season but they are undefeated in their past six A-League outings and remain the only side to have knocked off runaway Premiers Plate winners Sydney FC. On their day, the Wanderers can do anything.

Key: Can the Wanderers stay focused for 90-plus minutes? As the Roar have showed countless times before with their tendency for last-gasp heroics, no A-League finals match at Suncorp is over until it's over.

Tip: Brisbane

SUNDAY, April 23

Melbourne City v Perth at AAMI Park 7.00pm

Head to Head: City 6 Glory 10 drawn 7

Last clash: Round 27 2016-17 - Glory 5 bt City 4 at nib Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: City $2.00 Glory $3.30 Draw $3.75

To borrow a phrase from the late, great Yogi Berra, this one is deja vu all over again. Melbourne City play Perth for the second time in eight days, and in an elimination final at AAMI Park for the second straight year. If there's one thing that's guaranteed on Sunday night, it's goals. Last Sunday's 5-4 result followed a 3-2 Glory win and a 3-3 draw at AAMI Park this season, so travelling to Melbourne holds no fears for Kenny Lowe's side. Unlike City, the Glory can mix it with the finalists - having beaten each of the top six this year bar Sydney FC. Perth's triple threat of Diego Casto, Andy Keogh and Adam Taggart (12 goals each) must be contained but any side with Tim Cahill and Bruno Fornaroli cannot be discounted. Expect another free-scoring classic.

Key: Fornaroli. Cahill has stolen the headlines this season but the Uruguayan ended Perth's season last year with an elimination final double and will be crucial again on Sunday.

Tip: Perth

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