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Melbourne City seek home comfort in finals

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/04/2017 Ben McKay

Melbourne City stars Tim Cahill and Bruno Fornaroli know there's no alternative but defeating Adelaide United on Friday night, if they are to challenge for the A-League title.

That's because City's rotten away record makes an already unlikely championship all but impossible if they're sent on an away trip in week one of the finals.

Third and fourth place are rewarded with a home elimination final in the A-League finals system.

With two rounds remaining, City sit in fourth place heading in to the match with Adelaide, with fast-finishing Western Sydney and Perth keen to supplant Michael Valkanis' side.

It's a nightmare scenario for City, who are on a 13-match winless run against sides they might have to travel to face in the finals series.

Brisbane Roar, Perth Glory, Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC all boast imposing home records over City.

City have never won at Western Sydney.

It's been two years since an away day success against Sydney FC, and three years since they've taken three points home from Brisbane.

And the last time City beat Perth - over five years ago - the club were known as Melbourne Heart; and Gold Coast United was still in the league.

Ahead of their last home match of the season, club captain Fornaroli stressed the importance of earning a final at AAMI Park.

"We need to finish in the best position to try to play at home," he said.

"We play a little bit more confident at home when we play with our fans.

"That's why it's important."

Should City earn and win their home final, a reward could be a semi-final against cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory.

The prospect of not having to leave Melbourne on their way to a grand final has crossed Cahill's mind, ahead of his first A-League finals series

"It's always great to play at home but you can only be dealt the cards you're given on the way you've performed all season," he said.

"We're at a stage now if we play Melbourne in Melbourne then we're home anyway.

"There's two games left and the biggest thing is we need a result against Adelaide.

"We'll concentrate on Perth afterwards ... and we'll worry about finals after."

Friday night's clash is the first top-tier league match in the world to incorporate Video Assistant Referees (VAR).

All A-League teams have been briefed on the matter and FFA claimed support from clubs and players leading in to the trial.

However, Cahill was staying strangely quiet on the matter on Wednesday.

"I've got no views. None," he said.

"We've been briefed. But no views. Refereeing, nothing."

MELBOURNE CITY: WOE ON THE ROAD

Melbourne City's last away day success against possible A-League finalists

Sydney FC - 20 March 2015

Melbourne Victory - 15 October 2016

Brisbane Roar - 8 November 2014

Perth Glory - 17 December 2011

Western Sydney - Never

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