McGree magic sends Jets to Grand Final

A stunning scorpion strike from Riley McGree has propelled the Jets into their second Grand Final in A-League history, as the home side downed Melbourne City on a dramatic night in Newcastle.

The Jets were down 1 - 0 for much of the night until McGree equalised, before hometown hero Jason Hoffman struck the match winner.

Newcastle charged out of the blocks and had a flurry of early chances. First Dimi Petratos fired wide, before Jason Hoffman headed a golden opportunity from point black range over the bar.

And just before the quarter-hour mark the visitors made them pay.

With their first attacking foray, City found space down the left through Dario Vidosic who curled a ball back to Bruno Fornaroli who scrambled the ball over the line in the midst of pressure from Jack Duncan and Nikolai Topor-Stanley.

Just minutes later it seemed things were about to go from bad to worse for the Jets when Daniel Arzani stumbled on the edge of the box after contact, but after close inspection the VAR penalty appeals were waived away.

There was no luck soon after for the Jets, when Jack Duncan was forced off the ground with injury and Glen Moss headed out onto the park.

However, it didn’t stop the Jets attacking endeavours.

Nigel Boogaard found himself unmarked following a Petratos corner in the 39th minute and headed straight at City keeper, Dean Bouzanis.

Then, late in stoppage time, Petratos went within centimetres of equalising when he thundered a dipping free-kick from 30 metres into the crossbar.

City headed to the break up by a goal, and when the sides returned it was the Jets who continued their attacking barrage.

In the 51st minute, Nigel Boogaard chipped a pass over the top of City’s defence to a charging Roy O’Donovan, but the Irishman could keep his shot down from a tight angle on the right.

However, finally the dam wall burst in the 57th minute as Ronny Vargas flicked the ball up to McGree, who kicked the ball scorpion-style - from behind his body - up and over Bouzanis and into the back of the net for one of the most incredible A-League goals of all time.

The Jets weren’t content with just one goal though, as they smelt blood in the water.

Ronny Vargas made way for Joey Champness as the Jets probed for the go-ahead goal, and the youngster made an immediate impact.

He burst down the left edge and squared inside, and just as it seemed City centre-back Osama Malik had it covered, he took a heavy touch.

The ball fell to Hoffman, who slotted the ball home and McDonald Jones Stadium erupted.

From there, the Jets weren’t going to be stopped in front of an immense crowd of 19,131, as they ground the visitors down to seal a 2-1 victory and march on to their second ever A-League Grand Final.

The moments:

5’ | 0 - 0 | CHANCE! Wow! That missed everything and almost found its way into the back of the net as Dimi took aim from the attacking free kick! #NEWvMCY

8’ | 0 - 0 | CHANCE! Sublime delivery from Dimi into the area, as Hoffy heads from close range – just going over the crossbar! #NEWvMCY

14’ | 0 - 1 | Goal as City get off the mark #NEWvMCY

16’ | 0 - 1 | CHANCE! What a bullet from Riley McGree! His strike sails JUST over the crossbar #NEWvMCY

39’ | 0 - 1 | CHANCE! Boogaard at the back post! Dimi finds his man this time, but the skipper’s headed effort goes straight to Bouzanis #NEWvMCY

45’+3’ | 0 - 1 | CHANCE! Dimi, what a strike! He makes Bouzanis do plenty from long range! #NEWvMCY

 

55’ | 0 - 1 | CHANCE! Topor-Stanley goes close off the attacking free kick, as Petratos’ service is JUST out of reach! #NEWvMCY

 

57’ | 1 - 1 | GOAL! McGree! #NEWvMCY

57’ | 1 - 1 | We’re not even sure how that went in! McGree has somehow backheeled it over a helpless Bouzanis to draw us level! #NEWvMCY

74’ | 2 - 1 | GOAL! Hoffman! #NEWvMCY

74’ | 2 - 1 | Dimi releases Joe Champness wide, he squares it up in the area and it manages to find Hoffman, who makes no mistake in beating Bouzanis from close range!  #NEWvMCY

Newcastle Jets:  1.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Dimitri PETRATOS, 8.Ronald VARGAS, 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 17.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 27.Riley McGREE 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY

Subs: 16.Nick COWBURN, 20.Glen MOSS (gk), 24.Joe CHAMPNESS

Subs Not Used: 11.Pato RODRIGUEZ, 22.Lachlan JACKSON

Yellow Cards: 6.Steven UGARKOVIC (19’), 8.Ronald VARGAS (44’), 3.Jason HOFFMAN (85’), 7.Dimitri PETRATOS (87’)

Red Cards:

Goals: 27.Riley McGREE (57’), 3.Jason HOFFMAN (75’)

 

Melbourne City: 1.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 3.Scott JAMIESON, 5.Bart SCHENKEVELD, 6.Osama MALIK, 8.Oliver BOZANIC, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 13.Stefan MAUK, 14.Daniel ARZANI, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 26.Luke BRATTAN, 37.Nathaniel ATKINSON

Subs: 7.Nick FITZGERALD, 27.Marcin BUDZINSKI

Subs Not Used: 2.Manny MUSCAT, 4. Harrison DELBRIDGE, 18.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk)

Yellow Cards: 13.Stefan MAUK (42’), 18.Daniel ARZANI (54’), 26.Luke BRATTAN (84’), 5.Bart SCHENKEVELD (85’), 37.Nathaniel ATKINSON (90+5’)

Red Cards:

Goals: 23.Bruno FORNAROLI (14’)