Melbourne City dispatch Western, march into maiden grand final

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Second-half goals have given Melbourne City a 2-0 win over leg-weary Western United to secure a place in their maiden A-League grand final.

Melbourne City have advanced to their maiden A-League grand final but they needed a second-half penalty to break the spirit of Western United.

The semi-final on Wednesday evening between two well-matched sides remained on a knife-edge throughout until Jamie Maclaren converted from the penalty spot on 68 minutes.

United defender Tomoki Imai turned the ball into his own net under heavy pressure from a corner with six minutes remaining as City ran out 2-0 victors at Bankwest Stadium - as the competition new boys finally saw their debut campaign come to an end.

Maclaren crashed home the spot-kick for his 23rd goal of the season after the A-League's golden boot was deemed to have been fouled after minimal contact from Aaron Calver.

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United were aiming to become just the second club to reach the A-League decider as an expansion club, but it was too tough an ask after they fell behind in their sixth match in just 19 days.

Mark Rudan's men suffered a blow pre-game when central defensive cornerstone Andrew Durante was ruled out due to a heavy knock in Sunday's tough finals win over Brisbane Roar.

City thought they had broken the deadlock on 19 minutes but Maclaren's strike was correctly ruled out for offside.

Socceroos fullback Josh Risdon momentarily appeared like grabbing a rare goal soon after but goalkeeper Tom Glover palmed away at full stretch and it proved to be a rare sight of goal for United.

Fleet-footed Max Burgess proved the best attacking outlet for United in a high-tempo first half but there were relatively few goalscoring opportunities for the leg-weary outsiders.

 

City's Florin Berenguer had a superb chance to break the deadlock but, after creating the space, failed to find the target from a 45-degree angle with only goalkeeper Filip Kurto to beat.

It wasn't until the second half was well under before United were able to put sustained pressure on their opponents' goal and they should have scored the decisive opening goal.

However, Steven Lustica's under-hit close-range effort allowed Glover the chance to finger-tip the ball over the crossbar.

The grand final will be played on Sunday with City to face Premiers Plate winners Sydney FC of Perth Glory.

Source AAP