A-League semi-finals preview

Ben McKay
AAP

A LOOK AT THE A-LEAGUE SEMI-FINALS:

FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2018: Newcastle Jets v Melbourne City

7:50pm, McDonald Jones Stadium

Head to Head: Newcastle 9, City 11, Drawn 4

Meetings this season: Rd 9: Newcastle 1-2 City, R18: City 2-2 Newcastle, R25: Newcastle 0-3 City

TAB odds: Newcastle $2.40 City $2.70 Draw $3.65

Whichever way this semi-final goes, an underdog is heading for the A-League's biggest stage. Plucky Newcastle have been revitalised by Ernie Merrick's coaching and are favourites to make their first decider since winning the title a decade ago. For all their wealth, City have never made it to a grand final and are desperate to make one. City were terrific in eliminating Brisbane on Friday night and have won on their two trips to the Hunter this season. Newcastle saw their form and results collapse since securing second place, until a final-round demolition of Central Coast that reminded all of their attacking weapons. With the benefit of a bumper home crowd and a week off, the Jets should see their fairytale season end in a grand final.

Tip: Newcastle Jets

SATURDAY, APRIL 28, 2018: Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory

7:50pm, Allianz Stadium

Head to Head: Sydney 15, Victory 13, Drawn 17

Meetings this season: R1: Victory 0-1 Sydney, R18: Victory 1-3 Sydney, R27: Sydney 1-0 Victory

TAB odds: Sydney $1.80 Victory $4.20 Draw $3.75

The A-League's two biggest clubs meet in a blockbuster semi-final - a step down from last year's grand final but there will be no reduction in intensity. Melbourne Victory will be desperate to atone for last year's defeat, which was one of seven straight losses for Kevin Muscat's side against the all-conquering Sky Blues. The sides were separated by a sole Bobo strike a fortnight ago in the last round after a bring Victory showing. But it's tough to look past Graham Arnold's side, which is gunning to be the first club to win the triple - the premiership, championship and FFA Cup - in a regular season, as well as backing up their double from last year. Another grand final would be the perfect send-off for Arnold to the Socceroos job, and it would be a serious upset if it didn't happen.

Tip: Sydney FC