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Arsenal, Barca bow out
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Socceroos drawn in tough group
The Finals swansong
Adelaide nearly blew their chance of reaching the grand final by once again trying to defend a one goal lead by defending very deeply and more or less inviting Newcastle to attack. That allowed Newcastle more space and possession and they were able to equalise and Adelaide had to start chasing the game again and for me that was the most exciting phase of the match when both teams were trying to notch a winner on tired legs.
Newcastle's Nick Carle could have given Newcastle the lead four minutes after the Newcastle equaliser but he could not get the better of Daniel Beltrame who was in goal for Adelaide.
Looking at the grand final, Melbourne and Adelaide have met five times so far this season at three different venues, once at Olympic Park and twice each at Hindmarsh Stadium and Telstra Dome. Melbourne has won 3 matches and Adelaide one and the other match one was drawn.
In the five matches ten goals have been scored with Melbourne scoring seven to Adelaide's three. In the normal home and away season Melbourne had the better defence conceding 20 goals compared to Adelaide's 27 and Melbourne scored 41 goals and Adelaide 32.
The statistics would make Melbourne slight favourites and added to that they will also be playing at home. Adelaide's strength lie at the back where they have two good goalkeepers in Daniel Beltrame and Robert Bajic and a defence well marshalled by Angelo Constanco and Michael Valkanis.
Melbourne's strength are upfront where in Archie Thompson and Daniel Allsop they probably have the best strike partnership in the league and they have the goals to prove it, scoring a combined twenty two goals this season. Fred chips in to help in attack and he has scored four goals including one against Adelaide at Hindmarsh.
On the other hand Adelaide’s top goal scorer Fernando has only scored six goals and Carl Veart has scored five. But the grand final doesn’t look like its going to be a high scoring encounter and could easily won by a single goal just like last year’s one.
I think the grand final will be won and lost in midfield. If the Melbourne midfield can supply their strikers up front with good balls then they could come up with a goal or two but Rossi Aloisi and Diego Walsh will have a lot to say about it. Adelaide will be missing Mathew Kemp in midfield who got a second yellow card against Newcastle.
Whatever happens in the grand final, it’s good to see the top two teams fighting it out for the top prize and both teams will represent Australia in Asian Champions League in 2008.
I also think he took the most gamble this season when he brought Romario as a guest player.