Melbourne Victory should have too much class for Glory this time around with a different side compared to the one that lost to Perth at AAMI Park.
Date: Friday, April 5 2013 Kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT Venue: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Head-to-head: Played: 24, Wins: Victory 9, Glory 10, Draws: 5
Previous encounter: Victory 2-3 Glory, March 23 2013
Form: Past five matches:
Victory: WLDDW Glory: DWLWW
The Game: With a revamped finals series, the winner of the elimination final will be just a victory away from the grand final on April 21.
Ange Postecoglou wanted Victory to be carrying momentum into the finals series and while they have been unable to reach the levels he wanted, a 3-2 win over Wellington at least gives them winning form.
A home final against Perth would normally make Victory hot favourites but Glory were 3-2 winners at AAMI Park in Round 26. Postecoglou says there are no fresh injury concerns for Victory after their 3-2 win at Wellington on Sunday.
Glory striker Shane Smeltz is reportedly a chance to be fit for the final after missing the draw with Adelaide having needed 15 stitches to his forehead. Dean Heffernan played as the central striker but coach Alistair Edwards would be eager to have the New Zealander available.
The Big Issue Victory: tight defences go a long way to winning games, but with just one clean sheet in their past 10 outings it is an area Postecoglou's men must improve. Regular changes to the back four have been unhelpful but conceding puts a lot of pressure on the star-studded attack to score regularly.
While it may not be such a problem against Glory, it will make it tough later in the finals series against the compact Central Coast and Western Sydney.
Glory: consecutive wins on the road have been rare for Glory and three in a row has never happened when the club have been in the A-League.
Without a clean sheet in their past 15 matches, Glory have still managed to win away from home under Edwards. Making it three in a row in a final is a huge task and they will need to do it five straight times to win the championship.
The Gamebreaker Marco Rojas: the Kiwi winger has enjoyed playing against his former club Wellington and his goal against the Phoenix on Sunday made it 15 league strikes for him this season. His ability to run at and beat defenders is crucial for Victory, as well as his combination with fellow attacker Archie Thompson.
With plenty of reported interest from abroad, this could be Rojas' last game in Victory colours if they fail to win. His one-on-one duals with both Josh Risdon and Scott Jamieson will be a key on Friday night.
Prediction: Victory 3-2 Glory Postecoglou's men should have too much class for Glory this time around with a different side compared to the one that lost to Perth at AAMI Park. But given both these sides' defensive records, goals are likely to flow in front of a strong crowd at Etihad Stadium.
If Smeltz is unable to take his place and with Travis Dodd sidelined, it will be tough for Glory, despite impressive wingers Ryo Nagai and Adrian Zahra. Expect an entertaining encounter, but Victory have too much class and should progress to a meeting with Central Coast in the semi-finals.
Ticketing information Category A - $60 Adult, $30 Concession, $30 Child, $150 Family Category B - $50 Adult, $25 Concession, $25 Child, $125 Family Category C - $35 Adult, $15 Concession, $15 Child, $85 Family Transaction and Credit card fees apply