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On Friday night Newcastle dispatched a disjointed Sydney FC outfit in a match where they outplayed Sydney in every department. Sydney had no answer to Newcastle's free flowing brand of football and Newcastle should have at least had a goal in the first half had decisions gone their way. But with Alex Brosque being send off late in the first half, it was a matter of time before Newcastle scored.
Sunday's match at the Dome should have been exciting for the neutrals I think but for the Victory fans the second goal came very late but in a way it was worth the wait. I think Adelaide's goal came a little bit too early for them because after scoring that goal they suddenly withdrew into their shell opting to defend that slender lead. I doubt it was their plan to defend for such a long period.
Despite the erratic and wayward passing on the part of Victory in the first half, Melbourne still finished the first half on top because Adelaide were content on defending resolutely and they knew that Melbourne needed two goals to win because of the away goals rule.
The need to defend restrained Adelaide and that gave Melbourne the impetus and the second half was one of the best I have watched for some time. It should be noted that this was Melbourne's first win this year and the first win at the Dome since November 9 last year. Melbourne threw everything that they had at Adelaide and the Adelaide goalkeeper Daniel Beltrame was equal to everything that Melbourne had to offer, well until James Robinson's header.
Now Adelaide will face Newcastle in what promises to be a cracker of a game. The Newcastle encounter is bound to be more testing than the Melbourne one going by the way Newcastle has been playing in the last fortnight.
This time there is no more away goals and whoever wins on the day will go and meet Melbourne at the Dome. To me Newcastle are favourites to win this tie and playing away from home sometimes has its advantages because there will be less pressure.
Last season Adelaide lost to Central Coast Mariners at the same stage and this should be at the back of their minds as they prepare for the Jets. Adelaide will have to bring their shooting boots because I think there won't be that many chances. I cannot see this match being a nil all after ninety minutes because I predict we are going to see some goals during normal time.
Being a Melbourne fan, I would rather meet Adelaide than Newcastle but I will have to wait and see.
However, I am actually worried about Sydney FC's venture into the Asian Champions League. Will Sydney FC be able to represent us well there given their current form? It will be a bad advert for the A-League if Sydney FC were to go in there and get flogged.
This is also the reason why I am tipping Adelaide to win this match because once they score a goal they are capable of defending it because their defence is solid.