The Unbelievable A-League Semi Finals
It's taken all season, but the A-League finally came to life on the weekend thanks to two dramatic semi finals.
After a season marred by low attendances, poor officiating and turmoil at board level, the A-League finally gave us something to really get excited about over the weekend, with two spectacular semi finals highlighted by drama and personal brilliance.
On Friday night, the Newcastle Jets - the underdog story of the year - defeated Melbourne City to seal their spot in the grand final, in a game which will long be remembered for one of the greatest goals in A-League history.
With his side trailing 1-0 with 35 minutes remaining, 19 year old Riley McGree equaled the score with an outrageous ‘scorpion kick’ goal, volleying the ball with the back of his heel from behind his body into the net. The goal has to be seen to be believed, and so does Jets’ coach Ernie Merrick’s listless reaction.
The goal immediately went viral, and the Jets were inspired, going on to win 2-1 and sealing a grand final spot for the first time since 2008.
Just 24 hours later, Melbourne Victory upset reigning premiers Sydney FC on their home turf, in one of the most dramatic A-League games we have ever seen.
Victory’s squad, along with their coaching staff and travelling supporters were ready to celebrate a grand final berth when they appeared to be cruising to a 2-1 triumph. But in the game’s dying moments, Terry Antonis inexplicably put the ball into the back of his own net, taking the game into extra time and handing Sydney some much needed momentum. However, there was one more twist in the tale.
With less than four minutes remaining in extra time and a penalty shootout seeming like the most likely outcome, Antonis unbelievably redeemed himself and went from zero to hero, scoring his first goal of the season (if you don’t include the own goal) and sparking wild celebrations by jumping into the crowd.
Antonis was visibly emotional and immediately in tears, and still could not believe his fortunes when the game concluded, sending Victory to its sixth A-League grand final and setting up a clash with the Jets on Saturday night in Newcastle.
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