Maclaren double helps City see off resurgent Adelaide
Jamie Maclaren's double helped Melbourne City sink Adelaide United 2-1 ahead of the pair's FFA Cup 2019 Final on Wednesday.
The returning Caltex Socceroos striker notched two poacher's efforts in the space of four first-half minutes to put Erick Mombaerts' men in cruise control.
Adelaide improved after the interval and were right back in the contest when Riley McGree fired a goal back in the 68th minute.
United dominated the encounter after the strike from McGree, who missed a great opportunity to pull level and capitalise on his side's resurgence just minutes after tallying his first goal of the campaign.
Ultimately, however, Maclaren's quickfire double gave Gertjan Verbeek's visitors too much of a mountain to climb.
Adelaide will need to build on their display in the second half if they are to retain their FFA Cup title against City in South Australia in 72 hours time. You can watch the two meet again in the FFA Cup 2019 Final LIVE on FOX Sports 505, kick off 7.30pm (AEDT).
Najjarine hits the post
An Adelaide defence missing Jordan Elsey look vulnerable in the opening stages, and it was City teenager Najjarine, fresh from signing a contract extension on Thursday, who nearly made them pay after his shot squirmed under Paul Izzo's gloves and hit the foot of the post.
Maclaren - who scored a hat-trick for Australia against Nepal on October 10, and was also on the scoresheet against Chinese Taipei last Tuesday - consolidated his reputation as one of the hottest strikers in the Hyundai A-League right now by taking on a deflected Connor Metcalfe shot under control and prodding the ball past Izzo to give Erick Mombaerts' side the lead.
Two for Maclaren
Just four minutes and 28 seconds after breaking the deadlock, the predatory Maclaren pounced again. This time, City worked a corner short to Scott Jamieson - the fullback's delivery eventually dropped to Maclaren, who volleyed home amid a crowd of bodies.
McGree gives Adelaide hope
Adelaide were much improved after the half time break and it was well and truly game on when McGree fired home against his former employers, after City had failed to clear their lines from a corner.