City One win away from the A-League crown in the semifinals

Jamie McLaren’s 2-1 win over Adelaide United in extra-time semifinals is one win away from Melbourne City being the first team in a drawn A-League Men’s Championship-Championship doubles.

McLaren’s 92nd-minute goal made a dramatic second-leg comeback and sealed the first All-Victorian ALM setter against Western United at AAMI Park on Saturday, City’s third consecutive Grand Final appearance.

This will be the first All-Melbourne National League grand final since 1998.

The score was locked 0-0 after Wednesday’s first leg at Coopers Stadium, and Jack Cliff’s great 48th-minute dunk put Adelaide ahead at Aami Park, with Marco Tilio equalizing in the 74th minute before taking the game into extra time.

This is City’s first win against the top four teams with 11 attempts this season.

The first half was defined primarily by Adelaide goalkeeper Joe Gauss and City opponent Tom Glover’s big save.

Then, three minutes after halftime, Xavi found Lopez Clock, who had touched his left foot, then coldly chipped a looping, dipping volley over Glover’s head.

Adelaide almost doubled their lead in the 57th minute when Cusini beat Yangi Curtis Good and tried to finish from a solid angle, only Connor Metcalfe could clear it over the bar.

In the 58th minute Patrick Kisnerbo returns to Tilio off the bench and 16 minutes later, Sakaru delivers.

Andrew Nabout floats on a cross and it flies over the head of a jumping Matthew Leakey, but Tilio bursts into the rear stick and heads home from the post.

In the 84th minute, Tilio forwards charges and bursts with a cracking long-range effort, forcing a great diving save from Gaussian.

Yengi tried to tip Bernardo in the 90th minute but the youngster could not get a shot on goal.

Within two minutes of extra time, McLaren held the ball for Metcalfe and Michael Jacobsen blocked the midfielder’s shot, he couldn’t clear it properly.

Shallow releases fell directly to McLaren, who buried his 16th goal of the season to seal the grand final berth and denounced Adelaide for returning from the semifinals.


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