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Melbourne City ground Jets in ALW semi-final first leg

Melbourne City have taken a huge step towards qualifying for the A-League Women grand final after destroying Newcastle 3-0 on enemy territory in the semi-final first leg.

A fifth-minute strike from Daniela Galic and a tap-in by midfielder Emina Ekic just after the hour mark set up the win for City at Maitland Sports Ground on Sunday.

Junior Matildas captain Shelby McMahon added the icing to the cake with a 77th-minute strike after the Jets defence inexplicably dropped off the 15-year-old.

The Jets almost scored a consolation goal in the final minute, but City scrapped hard on the goal line to ensure the clean sheet.

City will have home ground advantage for next Sunday's second leg at AAMI Park, putting the premiers in an excellent position to secure their spot in the decider.

The Jets entered the first leg still not knowing whether the ownerless club would still be around next season.

Newcastle bucked the odds just to reach the finals.

Coach Gary van Egmond left in mid-January to take up a role with the Chinese Football Association, but the Jets won their last three games to scrape into sixth spot.

Newcastle's 4-2 elimination final win over Western United last week marked the women's team's maiden finals victory - but they couldn't repeat those heroics in the first leg against Melbourne City.

City needed less than five minutes to open the scoring.

Rhianna Pollicina's shot cannoned off the woodwork, and Galic was on hand to score from the rebound and silence the 6836 crowd.

City lost defender Karly Roestbakken in the 20th minute to an ankle injury.

Despite dominating the early part of the match, the visitors endured some nervous moments in the lead-up to halftime as the Jets pushed hard for an equaliser.

None of their efforts produced a goal, with interim Newcastle coach Ryan Campbell expressing his frustration to the officials as the players came off at the break.

The scoreline was 2-0 in the second half when Ekic bundled in a dangerous low cross from Laura Hughes.

The Jets' slack defence was squarely to blame for the third goal, with Newcastle players dropping off McMahon to allow her time to trap the ball, turn and shoot.