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A-League Grand Final: 50-50 challenge

Australian A-League
 By Mike Wise

A-League Finals Series: Key stats ahead of the Elimination Finals

The A-League Finals Series kicks off on Friday night when third-placed Brisbane Roar take on reigning champions Melbourne Victory.

The second elimination final will take place on Sunday when Melbourne City host the resurgent Perth Glory.

Who will win through to get the chance to play Adelaide United and the Western Sydney Wanderers in the A-League semifinals?

Below is all the vital information you need to know:

Elimination Final 1

Brisbane Roar vs. Melbourne Victory (Friday, 7.35pm AEST)

Regular season finish: Third
Top scorer: Jamie Maclaren (18)
Most assists: Thomas Broich, Dimitri Petratos (6)
Key stat: Brisbane Roar have won six of their last eight playoff matches and have never lost a playoff match on home soil in the A-League (W6, D2).
What the experts say: Despite their youthful strikeforce, Brisbane have an ageing squad elsewhere and seem to struggle on the road. But playing at home against a familiar opposition, they should be able to grind out a narrow win -- Jason Dasey.

Regular season finish: Sixth
Top scorer: Besart Berisha (17)
Most assists: Kosta Barbarouses (7)
Key stat: Melbourne Victory have won four of their last six matches against Brisbane Roar, though they've lost and drawn each of their last two.
What the experts say: The defending champions have stuttered in the second half of their A-League campaign due to AFC Champions League commitments. However, any team who have Berisha in their squad will be in with a chance of winning an elimination final -- Mike Wise.

Elimination Final 2

Melbourne City vs. Perth Glory (Sunday, 5pm AEST)

Regular season finish: Fourth
Top scorer: Bruno Fornaroli (23)
Most assists: Aaron Mooy (20)
Key stat: Aaron Mooy creates a goalscoring chance with every 20.2 touches of the ball this season, the most of any player who's played at least 15 matches.
What the experts say: The City Football Group has plans of global domination and while it is happy to take the time, effort and resources to achieve that, incremental progress is a must. City's success in the A-League Finals Series is absolutely crucial -- Stephanie Brantz.

Regular season finish: Fifth
Top scorer: Diego Castro (13)
Most assists: Josh Risdon (5)
Key stat: Perth Glory are the only team in A-League history to have scored at least one goal in every one of their playoff matches.
What the experts say: Winning the A-League title in 2016 would send the ultimate message to the haters after last season's debacle -- Dave Mitchell.

Mike Wise is the associate editor for ESPN FC Australia and New Zealand. You can follow him on Twitter @wisey_9.


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