April 05, 2015 09:59:07 UK
The two-team shoot-out for the last A-League Finals Series place will come down to whether Melbourne City or Brisbane Roar cope better with their tough schedule.
City, who are 13.00 to win the Grand Final, will end the current round occupying the precious sixth spot in the table, six points clear of Frans Thijssen’s side but having played a game more.
With three matches to come against premiership contenders, though, City coach John van ‘t Schip knows things are far from secure for his side.
Brisbane gained two points on their rivals after they thrashed Central Coast Mariners 6-1 while City were held to a 1-1 draw by Western Sydney.
We have to look at ourselves. We have to gain as many points as possible and then see.
John van’t Schip
The problem for the Roar is that before they finish their campaign with a home game against bottom side Newcastle Jets, they have to cope with a horrendous schedule.
Brisbane have to travel to Asia twice for Asian Champions League games in South Korea and China as well as facing top side Adelaide United and taking on premiership-chasing Melbourne Victory twice in the space of four days.
Van ‘t Schip, who had seen his side win three in a row before the draw against Wanderers, said: “We have to look at ourselves. We have to gain as many points as possible and then see.
“It will be a race to the end. We can’t start calculating. We still have three big games coming up.”
City started the campaign with all the talk being about their big three signings of David Villa, Robert Koren and Damien Duff.
Things didn’t turn out the way they had hoped with Villa playing just four matches and Duff suffering a season-ending injury.
However, the man van ‘t Schip signed as an injury replacement for Duff scored the vital goal to earn them a point against Western Sydney.
French winger Harry Novillo’s thunderbolt from 25 yards drew praise from his coach after the match, with van ‘t Schip saying: “He showed he can make something happen and that why we got him in. He’s unpredictable and he can score a goal like he did tonight or set up something.”
City are 2.10 to win their next game against Wellington Phoenix, who are 3.00 with the draw 3.50.
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