Four teams from four different states will contest this weekend’s A-League semi finals, after the Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory navigated their way through last weekend’s elimination clashes to join Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory in the final four. Here is a wrap of how it all happened in the first week of the A-League finals series.
Roar triumph deep into penalties
They couldn’t be split over 90 minutes, or in the half hour of extra time which followed, and even after five penalties it looked as if the Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers simply wouldn’t be separated in their must-win clash at Suncorp Stadium. In the end Tommy Oar calmly converted Brisbane’s sixth kick from the spot, while Western Sydney’s Jumpei Kusukami had his attempt saved by Roar keeper Jamie Young, giving Brisbane a dramatic 6-5 victory on penalties.
The fact that Young was even on the park was surprising, after he was a 99th-minute substitution following starting keeper Michael Theo’s injury, while Wanderers had done well to hold on and get to penalties after being reduced to 10 men following Jaushua Sotirio’s second yellow card on 103 minutes. Earlier Terry Antonis had given the visitors a 1-0 lead from the penalty spot right on half-time, before Golden Boot Jamie Maclaren equalised for Brisbane 10 minutes into the second period. The Roar now advance to face Melbourne Victory on Sunday.
— Brisbane Roar (@brisbaneroar) April 22, 2017
Slick Glory send City home
A sizzling start from the Perth Glory saw them net twice in the opening half hour to down Melbourne City and advance to the semi-finals where a record-breaking Sydney FC side await. A brilliant goal from Diego Castro got things going on 16 minutes, with the Spanish midfielder staying composed to hold the ball up and create an angle, from which he powered a curling effort home. Joel Chianese then backed it up with a similar effort from the opposite side of the goal to double the advantage heading into the break.
City had their chances to come back in the second half, with star recruit Tim Cahill pushing a header just wide following a corner and Nick Fitzgerald blazing a good chance up over the top of the bar. Glory keeper Liam Reddy also produced a number of good saves to keep his side at a comfortable distance. Perth will likely need to find another level come Saturday night, when they travel to face Premier’s Plate winners Sydney FC, who have lost only once this season and will be refreshed following a week off thanks to qualifying top of the table.
— Hyundai A-League (@ALeague) April 23, 2017