McGree stunner helps Jets make Grand Final
An amazing goal from Riley McGree helped Newcastle Jets reach the A-League Grand Final with a 2-1 win over Melbourne City.
The teenager netted with a flying scorpion kick, back-heeling the ball over City keeper Dean Bouzanis to make it 1-1 in the semi-final at McDonald Jones Stadium.
It was just McGree's sixth career goal, but was a contender for the best ever scored in the A-League.
McGree collected a ball in midfield and played a one-two with marquee Ronny Vargas. The Venezuelan's return looped pass was just behind his stride, but McGree improvised and back-heeled the ball with his trailing foot over Bouzanis and into the net.
He said afterwards: "I did get a bit lucky but I had the momentum going forward and it happened to go in. I'm pretty happy."
City, bidding for a first Grand Final appearance, went in front on 13 minutes from Uruguayan Bruno Fornaroli's scuffed finish from a low cross. The ball took a deflection off defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley before reaching the net.
Newcastle had a number of decent chances in the first half but didn't level until after the break.
Jason Hoffman scored the winner with 15 minutes remaining, capitalising on Osama Malik's poor first touch to fire home a first-time finish with his left foot.
It means Ernie Merrick's side have the chance in the Grand Final to become the first in A-League history to go from wooden spooners to champions in the space of a year.
"I expected we would have a good run this year," said Merick. "I didn't expect to get in the Grand Final but I thought we would make big steps forward from where we've been the last few years.
"Because we had the right players, the right team and the right coaching and fitness staff. I had a good feeling right from the start. But to be in the Grand Final is a real bonus so now we're in with a real chance of doing something."
Meanwhile, Australia are 1000/1 to win Group C at the 2018 World Cup. The Socceroos are 5/1 to qualify from their group.
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