Four things Melbourne City need to do to win the Elimination Final

Melbourne City are sure to embrace the underdog tag when they head to Coopers Stadium on Sunday night to take on Adelaide United in their Elimination Final (kick-off 7pm AEST).

City may be on the road but they have not lost any of their three previous meetings with the Reds in the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season.

ELIMINATION FINAL PREVIEW: Adelaide United v Melbourne City
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Those clashes included a 2-0 win at Coopers Stadium early in the campaign so they will arrive in the City of Churches with a firm belief that they can get the job done.

Here’s four keys for City if they are to unlock another victory against the Reds and move on to the last four.

Get Jamie Maclaren firing again

In Caltex Socceroos striker Maclaren, City possess one of the most lethal finishers in the Hyundai A-League.

After arriving mid-season, Maclaren proved just that as he scored five goals in his first four appearances while striking up an exciting partnership with Tottenham Hotspur loanee Shayon Harrison.

But the goals have dried up since then for the 25-year-old, who has failed to find the net in his last four games.

While the likes of Harrison and Riley McGree have picked up the slack, if Maclaren – who will play his 100th game in the Hyundai A-League on Sunday night – can rediscover his scoring mojo, City will take some stopping.  

WATCH: Jamie Maclaren's first goal for City came against the Reds

Keep Craig Goodwin quiet

Easier said than done. In an Adelaide forward line that has chopped-and-changed for much of the season, the form of Goodwin has been the one constant.

The 27-year-old has scored 10 goals and had nine assists in a sensational return to the Hyundai A-League after a couple of years playing in the Dutch Eredivisie.

It means Goodwin has been directly involved in more than half of the Reds 37 goals in 2018/19.

It’s clear he is the one City must stop, and his battle with Ritchie De Laet down the Adelaide left flank will be a ripper.

Craig Goodwin
Craig Goodwin celebrates one of his 10 goals for the campaign

Play to their strengths

City have built much of their season on a strong, defensive game-plan which – while it has at times frustrated their fans – has enabled to club to comfortably book a finals berth.

Now they are there, you would not expect coach Warren Joyce to tinker with what has worked so effectively up to this point.

Behind a solid back-four is experienced keeper Eugene Galekovic, who has kept nine clean sheets and knows all about playing at Coopers Stadium from his decade of service with the Reds.

Joyce has come up with an excellent game-plan against Adelaide all three times the teams have met this season so City should do all they can to produce more of the same.

Galekovic
Eugene Galekovic has been a pillar of strength in the City goal

Forget about their travel sickness

City booked their finals spot on the back of a formidable record at AAMI Park, where they have not lost in their last 11 games.

But things are much different whenever they have to get on a plane to go and play a match.

Joyce’s troops have managed just one win in their last eight games outside of Melbourne (a 2-0 victory over Sydney FC in Round 22), losing six of those matches.

If there are any mental barriers lingering from that string of road losses, City's players will need to overcome them pretty quickly or their title hopes will go up in smoke.