Socceroos at Home Review: City stars knockout young Adelaide, Western United shock Victory

Melbourne City overcame an Adelaide United goal as Marco Tilio and Jamie Maclaren combined in a 2-1 victory at AAMI Park for the defending champions, while Melbourne Victory were stunned by Western United 4-1 at home.

Four matches. Two victors. This weekend past our A-League Men Socceroos and Australian U23 stars had respective battles in the final legs of the A-League Men Semi Finals played out at AAMI Park. 

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Melbourne City:

Marco Tilio, Jamie Maclaren, Connor Metcalfe, Mathew Leckie and Jordan Bos are all headed to the A-League Men Grand Final next Saturday.

Prior to facing off against each other for the second-time in a week, Adelaide United and Melbourne City met on Wednesday night at Coopers Stadium with neither side able to break the deadlock.

Indeed it was the Reds who struck first at AAMI Park just after half-time through Englishman Zach Clough. But the Socceroos duo of Tilio and Maclaren netted the two comeback goals that allowed the reigning champions to progress to a third successive final. 

Receiving the ball out wide, Andrew Nabbout whipped the ball into the Reds box and his cross flew across the face of the goal and into the path of  Tilio, who only had to head the ball home from inside the six-yard box to send the game into extra-time. 

Just two minutes into the extra session, City started at an immense speed, plying pressure on Joe Gauci's goal as they looked to take an early lead through Metcalfe's strike, however the 22-year-old's shot was blocked.

The ball ricocheted to the feet of Jamie Maclaren who blasted his strike into the back of the net to ultimately send Melbourne City to another A-League Men Grand Final against Melbourne rivals, Western United. 

Melbourne Victory:

Melbourne Victory came into the second leg following 1-0 victory over John Aloisi's side midweek. Nobody would have predicted the result that unfolded on Saturday evening as Western United dispatched the Victory 4-1 in the away leg. 

Leading into the match, all the odds were seemingly stacked against the Green and Black and few would have expected them to have dismantled the 2021/22  FFA Cup winners as much as they did at AAMI Park. 

Melbourne Victory will not progress to the A-League Men Grand Final after being defeated by Western United

Jake Brimmer was the hero in the first leg as his freak strike allowed Victory to hold the advantage into the second-leg. However, despite Brimmer netting an equaliser in the 37th minute, Western United added to Aleksandar Prijović's 18th minute opener with three unanswered goals in the second-half through Prijović once again, former Olyroo Lachlan Wales and Dylan Wenzel-Halls.

Both Ben Folami and Nick D'Agostino started for Melbourne Victory but could not find a way through the pious Western United backline. The Green and Black will now face Melbourne City in the A-League Men Grand Final in an attempt to claim their first ever piece of silverware.

Adelaide United:

Midweek, Joe Gauci had added another performance worthy of being named in the Australian U23 squad after a number of saves from the 21-year-old allowed the Reds to walk-away from Coopers Stadium with a clean-sheet, against the strong Melbourne City side.  

In what was a tight and hotly contested first-half on Sunday afternoon, the opening goal between the two sides was nothing short of world-class as Zac Clough's two-touch finish allowed United to take the lead on the 48th minute before Marco Tilio pegged back the Reds just before the 75th minute. 

Craig Goodwin featured as the Reds were knocked out by Melbourne City

Craig Goodwin once again led his side as captain, but could not add to his 10 goals and eight assists this season, while Kusini Yengi, a late call up to Australian U23's on Friday, led the line up front playing the full 120 minutes.

Fellow U23s Lachlan Brook, Louis D'Arrigo and Bernardo all featured off the bench as the Reds season came to a close at the Semi Final stage for the second consecutive season.