April 16, 2015 16:31:48 UK
Melbourne City keeper Tando Velaphi knows his club will have to do it the hard way if they are to win their first A-League championship.
No team has won a Grand Final after finishing outside the top two, so the odds are stacked against John van’t Schip’s side.
City have secured their spot in the finals, thanks to Perth Glory being banned from the series for breaching the salary cap. Fifth place is the best they can achieve, though, and that means all their games for the rest of the season will be away from home.
For Velaphi, that means they can use their last two regular season matches – at Perth Glory and Adelaide United – to prepare for what is to come in the finals.
City are 2.75 to beat Perth, who are 2.40 with the draw 3.50.
“They don’t get too much tougher than that in terms of away games,” he said. “It’s going to be really good preparation for us.
“It’s never easy playing away games in the finals but with this preparation if we can get our mindset focused, it will lead us well.”
City could very well be heading back to Perth or Adelaide in their Elimination Final – they will have to travel to the team that finishes either third or fourth. With the top four places separated by just a single point after last weekend’s round, nothing will be settled until the final minute of the regular season.
I’m enjoying my football and enjoying being at this club.
It will be van ‘t Schip’s second finals with the club – though they were known as Melbourne Heart when he coached them the first time in 2011-12.
Velaphi’s previous finals campaign came with Perth Glory in 2010 when they finished fifth and lost on penalties away to Wellington Phoenix in the first week.
This could be the 27-year-old’s final season with the club, as he is out of contract at the end of the campaign.
“I’m enjoying my football and enjoying being at this club. I just want to continue doing that,” he said. “Whatever happens will sort itself out in the end.”
Melbourne City are 4.33 to beat Perth Glory by a one-goal margin.
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