Get your A-League tips for Elimination Finals weekend, featuring a pair of fascinating sudden-death showdowns in Melbourne and Adelaide.
History: Played 36: Victory 19 V Wellington 8 (9 Draws)
Last meeting: February 15, 2019: 1-1 draw at Westpac Stadium
Final Thoughts: The third-placed Melbourne Victory host the sixth-placed Wellington Phoenix in the first A-League Elimination Final.
The Victory tuned up for the playoffs with a 1-0 away win over Wanderers in Week 27, their fourth win in six games. Ola Toivonen scored the only goal and has found the back of the net in each of their last three wins.
The Phoenix rested several stars in going down 5-0 to the Glory in Perth last weekend, opting to keep his side as fresh as possible for this showdown. Roy Krishna – the league’s Golden Boot winner with 18 regular-season goals – shapes as the visitors’ key man.
All three of the teams’ clashes this season – two of them in Melbourne – finished in a draw. Roy Krishna notched a brace for Wellington in a 3-all draw at AAMI Park in Week 14. The Phoenix have an overachieving record against the heavyweight Victory in recent years, winning four of the previous eight games between the clubs.
Finals experience could be crucial here. The Victory stormed from third to win the A-League title last year; the Phoenix are playing their first finals match since 2015 – and haven’t won one since 2012. This shapes as a wild ride, but leaning towards the Victory looks like the smart option.
19:00 (AEST), Sun 5th May @ Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
History: Played 28: Adelaide 10 V Melbourne City 10 (8 Draws)
Last meeting: April 13, 2019: 0-0 draw at AAMI Park
Final Thoughts: Adelaide United have timed their run perfectly to earn a home Elimination Final, hosting up-and-down Melbourne City on Sunday night.
Fourth-placed United won four (including wins over fellow finalists the Victory and Phoenix) and secured a scoreless draw away to Melbourne City in their last five regular-season games. The least potent attacking outfit of the six finalists, Adelaide scored four second-half goals to down Brisbane 5-3 last weekend.
Melbourne City crushed Central Coast 5-0 at home in Week 27, but it was just their third victory from the last 12 rounds. They have only beaten one fellow finalist (a 2-0 upset of Sydney in Week 22) since downing Adelaide in mid-December.
Melbourne City are unbeaten in their last seven matches against Adelaide, winning four. City prevailed 2-0 at Coopers Stadium in Week 8, while their other two encounters – in Melbourne in Week 18 and Adelaide in Week 25 – finished in low-scoring draws.
Adelaide are hunting their first playoffs win since 2016, but they have been far more reliable than City of late and should be favoured to grind out a semi-final berth.