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A-League semi-finals preview panel

NZN 27/04/2017 Emma Kemp and Ben McKay

Preview of A-League Semi Finals matches (all times AEST):

SATURDAY, April 29

Sydney FC v Perth Glory at Allianz Stadium 7.50pm

Head to head: Sydney 21 Glory 8 drawn 9

Last clash: Round 24 2016-2017 - Sydney 3 bt Glory 0 at nib Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Sydney $1.45 Glory $7.00 Draw $4.50

After a season in which they've done it all, it all comes down to this for Sydney FC. The Sky Blues are favourites to lift this season's championship after losing just one game and smashing plenty of records on the way to the Premiers Plate. Now the pressure is on and Perth are talking up their underdog tag to drive home the point. They've already kicked off the mind games by suggesting Sydney might get complacent. But even the master of mind games Graham Arnold isn't biting, only expecting his squad to lift yet another gear. The Diego Castro-inspired Glory have found fine form at just the right time but can they mentally get past four losses and 13 goals conceded to Sydney in all competitions this season?

Key: Milos Ninkovic. The playmaker's recovery from an ankle scare a fortnight ago will be music to the ears of Arnold and the team, who are on another level with the hardworking Serbian at the fulcrum of their attacks.

Tip: Sydney

SUNDAY, April 30

Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park 5.00pm

Head to head: Melbourne Victory 16 Brisbane 14 drawn 8

Last clash: Round 24 2016-2017 - Brisbane 1 bt Melbourne Victory 0 at Suncorp Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Melbourne Victory $1.85 Brisbane $4.10 Draw $3.60

The two most successful clubs in A-League history meet on Sunday night for a shot at winning title number four. Both Victory and Brisbane have proven their excellence over the course of the season but come into this semi-final under more clouds than sunshine. Kevin Muscat's team were in a holding pattern for the last month and recorded results to match; just two wins in their last six. The Roar lost goalkeeper Michael Theo in their elimination final with the Wanderers and then jetted off to Thailand for an Asian Champions League match on Wednesday night. Key players including Jamie Maclaren, Thomas Kristensen and Jade North were spared the trip but given Victory have had their feet up for a fortnight, fitness will be a factor. Brisbane might get captain Matt McKay back after a month out, but if they're chasing the game after an hour it might prove too tough.

Key: Marco Rojas. The winger's feats have often come in the shadow of Besart Berisha's record-setting goal hauls and James Troisi's busy displays. But no one in the league has been involved in more goals (12 goals, 11 assists) than the Kiwi. A match-winner.

Tip: Melbourne Victory

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