Melbourne's Etihad Stadium hosts the first final of the 2012-13 A-League season, with Perth Glory arriving confident after winning in the Victorian capital just two weeks ago
|By GOAL AUSTRALIA
Geria, Mullen, Leijer, Galloway
Celeski, Milligan, Broxham
Rojas, Thompson, Pain
Risdon, Pantelidis, Thwaite, Jamieson
McGarry, Burns, Miller, CordobaSmeltz, Nagai
Ange Postecoglou will be confident that his Melbourne Victory side can dispose of Perth Glory to reach the semi-finals on Friday, as the first elimination final takes place at the Etihad Stadium.
After seeing Victory's form suffer over recent weeks, the 3-2 win against Wellington on Sunday will provide a welcome reprieve going into the finals, which will see them as slight favourites for the upcoming tie.
Marco Rojas and Archie Thompson marked their return to domestic action with a goal apiece against the Phoenix, with the duo likely to be pivotal to their finals campaign.
Perth, however, will be going into the tie with a stronger run of form, winning their last two away games and looking to extend that to three on Friday - a record the Glory have not yet achieved in their A-League history.
The Glory's last visit to Melbourne ended in a 3-2 victory for the away side in Week 26 at AAMI Park, but the return of players such as the clinical Rojas, Thompson and Mark Milligan will pose a tough task for a Perth side potentially missing the influential Travis Dodd.
Neither club has an impressive defensive record this season; Victory have only managed to maintain one clean sheet in their past 10 games, while Perth have not had achieved the feat in their past 15 matches.
Although Victory's much-admired attack will be a handful contain, their defence have been incredibly inconsistent throughout the course of the season, with another high-scoring game beckoning.
Perth possess threats of their own, with wingers Adrain Zahra and Ryo Nagai causing plenty of problems in their last few games. But with such a shocking defensive record, it may not be enough to progress to the semis.
Victory will be deprived of a host of players, with Gui Finkler [knee], Nick Ansell [groin], Adama Traore [ankle] and Jesse Makarounas [hamstring] all missing.
New Zealand striker Shane Smeltz has been passed fit for the clash after recovering from a head injury, while former Manchester United and Sunderland midfielder Liam Miller returns from suspension.
Dodd [knee] and Chris Harold [calf] remain long-term injury casualties for the Glory.
The winners on Friday will come up against a formidable Central Coast Mariners side on April 14.