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'Verge of a dynasty': Three things we learned - Semi-Final Second Leg

City fans will be gearing up to watch their boys contest a third consecutive Grand Final next Saturday following our 2-1 Semi-Final win against Adelaide United after extra time.


Zach Clough had City fans' hearts in mouths in the second half as the striker opened the scoring with an unlikely goal, reminiscent - though not as spectacular - of Riley McGree's scorpion kick to cruelly end our season in 2018.


However, in what would turn out to be a game-winning performance from Marco Tilio, the diminutive midfielder came off the bench to net the all-important equaliser in the 74th minute when he met Andrew Nabbout's cross at the back post to head home.


After the game was sent into a decisive extra-time period, City's mercurial #9 Jamie Maclaren netted the winner when he buried a loose ball into the back of the net, securing our progression to the 2022 A-League Men's Grand Final.


With so much action and drama having taken place over 120 minutes, let's unpack some of the biggest lessons from today's blockbuster:


Source: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

Jamo's second wind

Just as some justifiable calls for the impressive breakout form of Jordan Bos to be rewarded with consistent starts began to intensify, Scott Jamieson has pulled out a string of captain's performances in high-stakes fixtures to reassure fans that he is still as reliable as ever as our first-choice left-back.


Jamieson (in fairness, our entire back four) was immense against the Reds earlier this afternoon, conducting himself well in high-pressure situations when isolated against tricky wingers.


Source: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

Unrelated, but worth mentioning, Jamieson also consistently demonstrates his genuine care for the enjoyment and wellbeing of fans, proven both by his reactions after the Premiership win and tonight on the full-time whistle and also his willingness to offer support following today's fan incident.


For all of Bos' exciting potential, Jamieson looks like holding down his place at left-back in Season 2022/23, with the City veteran - slowly creeping towards City legend - set to reach 150 club appearances if he does so.


Tilio goes god mode

At Daniel Arzani's peak, the lad was unstoppable. There was a belief, both within himself and from the fans, that any time he picked up the ball, he could beat multiple defenders and make something happen.


Whilst Tilio has already surpassed his frequent measuring stick in regards to having developed as a more well-rounded individual with reliable end-product, today's performance was further confirmation of the fact that he's also just as good with his dazzling dribbling ability.


Source: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

The youngster was operating on a different plane to his opposition today, seemingly untouchable as he changed the game for City with his crucial ball progression.


Alongside Mathew Leckie, this ability to keep the ball also proved vital in the game's latter stages as City looked to hang on, with the pair retaining the ball and picking up handy fouls.


The 'away goals' rule could have cost us everything

This is just as much something that we haven't quite yet learned as something that we did: Is the rule a more accurate way of determining who the better side is than going to extra time and penalties?


On the rules that applied to our two-legged tie, City progressed fair and square - that can't be denied.


But would neutrals have felt that Adelaide were the better side based on the fact that the much-maligned Zach Clough scored one single 'one-in-a-hundred' away goal?


Given we've failed to beat Adelaide in a 90-minute contest out of five attempts this season... are they?


How would City fans have felt had the script been flipped?


Whilst tonight's achievement should be celebrated unconditionally, it remains a point worth considering, so let us know your thoughts in the comments.


For now, it all comes down to a fourth and final meeting with Western United next Saturday night at AAMI, where the stakes will be higher than ever before.

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