City to treat Sydney semi-final like GF dress rehearsal

·2-min read

Coach Rado Vidosic has urged Melbourne City to treat their upcoming first semi-final leg against Sydney FC like a grand final and a potential dress rehearsal if they reach the A-League Men decider.

The premiers face the Sky Blues at Allianz Stadium on Friday night then host Sydney at AAMI Park a week later, with the winner on aggregate goals progressing.

"I would like us to treat this game as a grand final," Vidosic said on Wednesday.

"So in my mind, we need to win the game on Friday.

"So then we are ready for the grand final, keeping in mind that we know we're going to play another game in Melbourne regardless of how this game goes.

"But let's prepare, treat this game as the grand final and we need to win this game to win something, win a trophy.

"I haven't spoken to players about that, but I will talk to them about that just before the game so that we give everything that we've got, we treat this game one-off, and we try to do our best on the day."

The grand final will be controversially held at CommBank Stadium on June 3, meaning top-ranked City will have to travel if they make it.

It means this week's trip shapes as the perfect opportunity to rehearse for the away decider.

"Because obviously the grand final will be in Sydney we have to do it all over again in that game - and you have to win that game, there's no game back in Melbourne a week later," Vidosic said.

"So it is a dress rehearsal and hopefully we can win this game and prepare ourselves the best we can for the grand final."

Socceroos star Mathew Leckie is fit to start for the first time since returning from a hamstring injury while Valon Berisha has recovered from a hip issue.

Friday's final is Vidosic's first at the helm of City's men's side but he drew on his experience as Ange Postecoglou's assistant at Brisbane when emphasising the need to kill the semi-final fixture early.

"I had several orange Sundays back in the day in Brisbane. You had 52,000 people, 2-0 down, three minutes to go in extra time and to win it on the penalty shootout, anything is possible," he said.

"You can never write off, especially the whole team, in those situations."

"That's why I would like us to treat this game as a rehearsal because it is important that you kill off this game before the home crowd gets behind the home team in the grand final."