Preview: Semi Final showdown on home turf

The Newcastle Jets will play host to Melbourne City tomorrow night in the first of two Hyundai A-League Semi Finals this weekend, with the winner booking a place in the Grand Final.

The Jets, fresh from a week off and buoyed by a last-start demolition of the Central Coast Mariners will face a City side that comfortably took care of the Brisbane Roar in an Elimination Final.

The home side has welcomed back Nigel Boogaard and Ronald Vargas into the match day squad, with both aiming to prove their fitness and break into the starting XI.

Jets’ boss, Ernie Merrick said his side had prepared well over the last fortnight.

“We’ve really focused on ourselves in this preparation and getting forward into goal-scoring positions, which I felt came together really well against the Mariners,” said Merrick.

“There’s been a couple of close games (against City) and I think we’ve played some pretty good football.

“I think one game their goalkeeper was man of the match, we dominated the first half and then didn’t do well the second half.

“Another game was a draw and the third game was three set pieces; two corner kicks and a free kick, so we worked on those things and hopefully we’ve improved.”

Merrick added that a focus for his side had been adopting a finals mentality for the do-or-die clash.

“There’s no team that will make the semi-finals or even the elimination finals that’s not a good team – so every team we’re up against is going to be a real battle,” added Merrick.

“It’s not going to be easy in any way, shape or form and sometimes it will just come down to someone doing that little bit extra and that’s what we’re looking for from the boys.”

By the numbers:

  • Dimitri Petratos is set to make his 150th A-League appearance; the Jets’ striker has created 71 scoring chances this season, the second-most of any player behind Leroy George (73).
  • Newcastle have made six shots on target per game this season, more than any other club in the competition.
  • Newcastle Jets have won their last three finals games at McDonald Jones Stadium; their only defeat in the post-season at home came in the inaugural campaign in a 1-0 loss to the Mariners.

Friday 27 April 2018

Newcastle Jets v Melbourne City

McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

Kick-Off: 7:50 PM (local) (7:50 PM AEST)

Referee: Shaun Evans

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 501 from 7pm (AEST), ONE from 7pm, and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: myfootballnation.com (Classic Rock Melbourne & SRN). ABC News on Radio, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Listen App – A-League Live.

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #NEWvMCY

Newcastle Jets: 1.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Dimi PETRATOS, 8.Ronald VARGAS, 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 10.Wayne BROWN, 11.Patricio RODRIGUEZ, 16.Nick COWBURN, 17.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 20.Glen MOSS (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 24.Joseph CHAMPNESS, 27.Riley MCGREE, 32.Angus THURGATE, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c)

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (return from injury), 8.Ronald VARGAS (return from injury), 10.Wayne BROWN (return from injury), 32.Angus THURGATE (promoted)

Outs: 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI (hamstring – 3 weeks)

Unavailable: Nil

Melbourne City: 1.Dean BOUZANIS (Gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Scott JAMIESON, 4.Harrison DELBRIDGE, 5.Bart SCHENKEVELD, 6.Osama MALIK, 7.Nick FITZGERALD, 8.Oliver BOZANIC, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 11.Bruce Kamau, 13.Stefan MAUK, 14.Daniel ARZANI, 18.Eugene GALEKOVIC (Gk), 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 26.Luke BRATTAN, 27.Marcin BUDZINSKI, 37.Nathaniel ATKINSON

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 22.Michael JAKOBSEN (returns from injury), 11.Bruce KAMAU (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: Nil