Big-game Bulls ready for City in A-L semi

Macarthur FC are the underdogs in their A-League semi-final against Melbourne City but goalkeeper Adam Federici has backed their mix of experience and youth.

MARK MILLIGAN.
MARK MILLIGAN. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Macarthur FC will back their mix of big-game experience and youthful enthusiasm to deliver when they face Melbourne City seeking an unlikely A-League grand final berth in their inaugural season.

Ante Milicic's Bulls failed to beat City in their two regular-season matches and scraped into the finals in sixth place.

But after upsetting Central Coast in their elimination final, Macarthur head into Sunday's semi-final confident they can step up and stun the premiers.

"We knew that with this team and (these players) if we got an opportunity to play in the finals that in a one-off game we could beat any team," goalkeeper Adam Federici told AAP.

"We're still very much the underdogs.

"... (City) finished first for a reason and the pressure's on them, really. I don't think we've got too many expectations outside the club.

"We knew going into the finals that we've got a good team and players that can produce match-winning performances, so hopefully someone does that on the weekend and we just play our best football."

Nominally City's home final, the game has been moved from AAMI Park to Sydney's Netstrata Jubilee Stadium after crowds were banned from Melbourne this weekend - a timely boost for Macarthur, who are based in to south-western Sydney.

Between Federici, captain Mark Milligan and the likes of Benat Etxebarria, Markel Susaeta and Matt Derbyshire, the Bulls have a plethora of seasoned players unfazed by big games.

Federici, 36, noted Macarthur's cool heads "played the game, not the occasion" in their elimination final against the Mariners - opening the door for the less-experienced Charles M'Mombwa and Michael Ruhs to have an impact.

"We've got experience right through the team from front to back, but that wasn't by luck, that was by design and Ante's got to take a lot of credit for that because obviously he's been at a new start-up club and recognised what you need," Federici said.

"That first year is very important, it could have very easily gone in a different direction. So to be such a positive season, we had good experience throughout the team - and through the spine of it."

Sunday's clash could also be the last for Milligan, who will retire at season's end and join the Bulls' coaching staff.

"Hopefully whatever happens Sunday we have given him a good send off. He deserves it," Federici said.

"He's not only been a good servant for the club this year, with setting things up and helping with the culture ... he's been an unbelievable servant for Australian football in general."

STATS THAT MATTER

* City are unbeaten in their two games against Macarthur, with one win and one draw

* City are winless in their past three games, with two losses and one draw

* Macarthur's Matt Derbyshire has scored 14 goals this season