May 01, 2015 11:31:11 UK
Keeper Tando Velaphi believes Melbourne City can put their end-of-season slump behind them and defy the odds to beat Wellington Phoenix on Sunday.
Neither history nor current form are on the side of John van ‘t Schip’s team as they travel to Westpac Stadium for their elimination final.
They are the least experienced team in the A-League in terms of finals appearances, having only qualified once previously when they were knocked out in the first round in 2011-12.
City have been poor away from home in recent times, their final two matches of the regular season seeing them go down 3-1 to Perth Glory and 4-1 to Adelaide United. Their last nine away games have yielded just one win and two draws.
Velaphi, though, says the team will put their recent form out of their heads when they take on the Phoenix.
“You just have to,” he said. “It’s not what we wanted from the last couple of games but finals is a new ball game.
“We’ve looked at what we need to improve on and everyone’s up for the fight and the challenge.”
It will be the keeper’s second finals match, his first coming for Perth Glory at the same venue five years ago when his team lost on penalties.
The 28-year-old says City are prepared for spot-kicks if the elimination final isn’t settled within 120 minutes.
“We’ll do our homework but it’s not something we look at really, really closely,” he said. “If it comes down to that, we’ll be ready to step up, but everyone would prefer to end it finish off the game within 120 minutes.”
City are without the suspended Kew Jaliens so Jonatan Germano could slot in at right-back, while left-back Jack Clisby is also a doubt. Van ‘ t Schip’s options if Clisby is ruled out include youngster Paulo Retre, who is back in the squad, Jason Hoffman and Iain Ramsay.
A win for City is 3.30 and a draw is available at 3.50, while Wellington Phoenix are 2.10.
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