Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC have been given a two week rest with automatic semifinals berths after finishing the regular season in first and second place respectively.
Melbourne Victory’s 3-1 win over Central Coast Mariners, with goals to Daniel Georgievski and marquees Archie Thompson and Besart Berisha, guaranteed Kevin Muscat’s side finished the regular season as premiers, three points ahead of second place Sydney.
Roly Bonevacia’s missed penalty early in the match helped Sydney FC stamp their authority to beat Wellington Phoenix in a 3-1 win that also saw the Sky Blues cap off the regular season without a single away loss.
Adelaide United finished their regular season with a dominant 4-1 home win against sixth place Melbourne City. A goal debut for short-term signing Miguel Palanca was outweighed by a goal of the year contender by newly-capped Socceroo Tarek Elrich. The 28-year-old defender made a solo run from his own half and shook off several defenders to finish one-on-one and wouldn’t have looked out of place in the world’s biggest leagues.
Brisbane Roar’s seventh place finish was enough for last year’s Finals champions to rest a majority of key players after their midweek journey to Beijing, clinching a 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets in a tight affair. Brisbane has earned a berth in the finals after Perth Glory were ruled to have breached the salary cap rules and therefore excluded from the finals as part of their punishment.
Watch Tarek Elrich’s wonder goal:
A-League Regular Season Standings (after Round 28):
1. Melbourne Victory 53pts (+25)
2. Sydney FC 50pts (+17)
3. Adelaide United 46pts (+15)
4. Wellington Phoenix 46 pts (+10)
5. Melbourne City 35 pts (-5)
6. Brisbane Roar 34 pts (-1)
7. Perth Glory 50pts (+10)*
8. Central Coast Mariners 23 pts (-24)
9. Western Sydney Wanderers 18pts (-15)
10.Newcastle Jets 17pts (-32)
*Perth Glory have been moved to seventh as punishment for salary cap breaches
A-League Finals dates:
Finals Week One:
Friday 1 May: Adelaide United (3) vs Brisbane Roar (6)
Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Sunday, 3 May: Wellington Phoenix (4) vs Melbourne City (5)
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Finals Week Two:
Friday 8/Sunday 10 May: Melbourne Victory vs lowest-ranked week one winner
Saturday 9 May: Sydney FC vs highest-ranked week one winner
Allianz Stadium, Sydney