The Bulls denied a home final but focused on finals campaign

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Macarthur FC had the opportunity to have a home final in their inaugural season but Wellington Phoenix wiped all hopes after winning 3-0 at Campbelltown Stadium.

The Nix found the opening goal on the stroke of half-time with Tomer Hemed assisting David Ball for a composed finish.

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The Bulls had a rough start to the second-half when a clearance kick bounced off Ulises Dávila into a clear path for Hemed to score from close range in the 46th minute.

It went from bad to worse for Macarthur when Loic Puyo was sent off after a high-foot challenge on Dávila in the 58th minute and the Nix finished the game off with a late goal by Ben Waine.

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Bulls’ coach Ante Milicic will play a different side for the semi-finals but said he was happy other players got some game time.

“A different [team] yes, of course because we have players coming back as I said that were rested but at the same time you got players that got the minutes in tonight that they needed,” he said.

Milicic understood that having the likes of Markel Susaeta and Matt Derbyshire out of play made the game challenging, but the semi-final was the main focus.

“Once we knew we have qualified for the semi-finals with certain players we weren’t going to take any risks,” he said.

“And again, any team that loses Susaeta and Derbyshire together, close to 17-18 goals from the line-up, that composure, that experience in the front third, it was always going to be a difficult night.”

Although the Bulls were not able to secure a home final, Milicic made it very clear that his team had proven to Australia they have every right to be in the finals of the A-League.

“We’ve been in the top six from round one and here we sit tonight we’re still in the top six in the last game of the season,” he said.

“So, we’re there for a reason because we deserve it, because we’re good enough.

“We’ve been there recently in the last few weeks, we’ve never looked at other results because we didn’t have to. We didn’t have to cheer for other teams, we didn’t have to rely on other results, we just worried about ourselves to get us to the semis and that’s why we are where we are.”

Featured image credit: Daniel Gualterio 

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Daniel Gualterio
Bachelor of Sports Media student from Charles Sturt University covering Macarthur FC. Passionate for the world game.
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