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WhoScored: Zabaleta-Sterling a key battle

Tactics And Analysis 8 hours ago
Read
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jun 19, 2012

Champions Roar play Perth in opener

They might be defending champions, but the Brisbane Roar will have to travel to Perth for the grand final re-match against the Glory that will kick off the 2012-13 A-League season.

However, the Roar will host the much-anticipated round-two showdown with the Melbourne Victory, facing off for the first time against the man who coached Brisbane to two straight championships - Ange Postecoglou.

The 10-team 2012-13 season - the A-League's eighth - that will feature the new Western Sydney outfit was released on Tuesday.

In other highlights, the regular season has been extended by one week to become a 26-week format. But the finals have been reduced by a week in a new cut-throat six-team system.

The double chance for the top two has been removed, with every finals game a knockout clash including extra time and penalties to find a winner if required. Instead of a double chance, top-two teams will receive the first week of the finals off.

The soon-to-be-named western Sydney team will have to wait until week three to enjoy their first derby clash against Sydney FC. While the season will kick off with the Melbourne derby on October 5 and conclude with the Glory hosting Brisbane at Patersons Stadium on that weekend.

Football Federation Australia CEO Ben Buckley said the new finals format replaced the "repetitive nature" of the previous system where teams played each other three times in a four-week format. Under the new system, the top two teams will slot straight into the semi-finals after a week one rest to take on the winners of 3rd v 6th and 4th v 5th.

Team one will host the lowest-ranked week-one finals winner and team two the highest.

The highest-ranked semi-finals winner will host the A-League championship decider.

Buckley believed the new finals format would create a "cup-like" atmosphere.

"Personally, I am excited by the revamped finals series," he said. "The decision to intensify the finals series lead to the removal of the preliminary final to replace it with two semi-final matches that will provide the platform for a highly energised and uncompromising cup style finals format and allow for a more challenging and thrilling 2013 finals series."

Other features of the upcoming season are a Good Friday match in Newcastle, Australia Day clashes in Melbourne, Western Sydney and Perth, a New Year's Eve showdown in Gosford and Adelaide and for the first time the A-League will have consecutive New Year's Day matches in Brisbane, Melbourne and western Sydney.

Community fixtures will return with games set to be played in Dunedin, Launceston and Campbelltown.

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