Jamie Maclaren double fires Melbourne City into FFA Cup final
Former Brisbane Roar striker Jamie Maclaren returned to his favourite stomping ground to fire Melbourne City into the FFA Cup final.
Maclaren scored two and set up another as City defeated Brisbane Strikers 5-1 in Tuesday's semifinal at Perry Park.
The Socceroo took his tally for the tournament to six with a second-half double to guide 2016 winners City into their second FFA Cup decider.
Erick Mombaerts' team will face the winner of Wednesday's second semifinal between Central Coast and holders Adelaide in the final on Oct. 23.
Aiming to become the first club from outside the A-League to reach an FFA Cup final, the Strikers made a perfect start when red-hot striker Adam Pengelly notched his 52nd goal in all competitions this season.
Given space at the edge of the box, Pengelly arrowed a finish into the opposite corner past wrongfooted City goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis.
The strike sparked wild celebrations among the 3,706 crowd, an atmosphere that could not have been any more different when City equalised on the half-hour.
Maclaren pinched the ball inside the Strikers' half and fed 19-year-old Connor Metcalfe, who calmly slotted his first senior goal past Bon Scott.
The A-League team then upped the tempo as they tried to get a lead before the break with Ramy Naijarine, Josh Brillante and Maclaren all threatening in a frenzied two-minute period.
Naijarine was guilty of blasting over from 12 yards after Maclaren had beaten Scott to the ball in the 38th minute before Brillante stung Scott's palms with a long-range effort a minute later.
Maclaren then went closest for the visitors when his 39th minute looping header hit the crossbar.
He made up for that miss just three minutes into the second half when he got ahead of Strikers' defender Matt Richardson to poke home Florin Berenguer-Bohrer's knockdown from inside the six-yard box.
Some heroic saves from Scott prevented a complete rout but Uruguayan import Javier Cabrera came off the bench to score in the 62nd minute before Maclaren notched his second in the 80th minute.
Right-back Scott Galloway then iced the win with a thumping right-foot finish in stoppage time which gave the impressive Scott no chance.