North Eastern MetroStars will welcome Melbourne City to the T.K. Shutter Reserve in the quarter-finals of the Australia Cup on Thursday.
The hosts have qualified for the knockout stage of the competition for the first time since the 2017 edition when they were eliminated by the Bankstown Berries. In their previous outing, they recorded a 1-0 home win over Inter Lions last month, keeping a clean sheet for the second match in a row.
The visitors recorded a comfortable 3-0 win over Wellington Phoenix in the round of 16. Tolgay Arslan scored the opener in the 37th minute while prolific striker Jamie Maclaren bagged a two-minute brace in the second half to seal their win. They avenged their 2-1 defeat from last season and will look to go all the way this time around.
Just like last season, three of the eight teams left in the quarter-finals of the competition this season are from the National Premier Leagues (NPL), the second-tier of Australian football.
The hosts played in the semi-finals of NPL South Australia earlier this month, suffering a 3-0 defeat to Modbury Jets in the second leg, negating their one-goal lead from the first leg.
The visitors will kickstart their AFC Champions League group-stage campaign against Ventforet Kofu next week at home.
North Eastern MetroStars vs Melbourne City Head-to-Head and Key Numbers
- The two teams will meet for the first time.
- The hosts have scored at least four goals in five of their six games in the competition thus far (including preliminary rounds).
- They have kept clean sheets in their last two games in the competition.
- The visitors have scored three goals apiece in their two games in the competition thus far with Tolgay Arslan scoring three times in two games.
North Eastern MetroStars vs Melbourne City Prediction
Metro have enjoyed a prolific run in the competition thus far, scoring 23 goals in six games. They might fail to reproduce this goalscoring form against the visitors, who are significantly better than the opponents they have faced thus far.
As Metro have won eight of their last 10 home games in all competitions, they'll look to count on the home advantage.
City have been in good form in the competition thus far, scoring six goals in two games. They will be without the services of Mathew Leckie, who was named in the squad for Australia's national team in the ongoing international break. He has since picked up an injury.
Nonetheless, the visitors have the upper hand in terms of squad quality and, considering their record against teams from the NPL, we back them to record a comfortable win.
Prediction: North Eastern MetroStars 1-2 Melbourne City
North Eastern MetroStars vs Melbourne City Betting Tips
Tip 1: Result - Melbourne City to win
Tip 2: Goals - Over/Under 2.5 Goals - Over 2.5 goals
Tip 3: At least a goal to be scored in the first half - Yes
Tip 4: Jamie Maclaren to score or assist any time - Yes