By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Tom Glover's dreams of representing Australia at the Tokyo Olympics this year were crushed by the COVID-19 pandemic but the Melbourne City goalkeeper says reaching his first A-League Grand Final is no small consolation.
Man-of-the-match Glover kept a clean sheet and made a slew of fine saves in the 2-0 semi-final win against Western United on Wednesday as City booked their place in Sunday's title-decider against champions Sydney FC.
"Sunday would be the icing on the cake, obviously with the Olympic stuff and the national team and the season that we have had this year," the 22-year-old told reporters in a video call on Thursday.
"Making the Asian Champions League, coming second with the highest points total for the club and reaching a Grand Final ... it would be the icing on the cake."
Melbourne, part of the same Abu Dhabi-controlled group as Manchester City, reached their first A-League decider after four fruitless trips to the semi-finals since joining the league as an expansion side in 2010/11.
Their repeated failures in big matches, despite classy squads and the City Football Group's backing, have saddled them with a reputation for being brittle under pressure but Erick Mombaerts' side have been anything but soft this season.
They finished second in the standings at the end of the regular season despite having to play all their matches since the July restart away from Melbourne due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the city.
They held firm while A-League debutants Western United attacked relentlessly in the first half at Parramatta Stadium on Wednesday before counter-punching their way to victory.
"Melbourne City teams in the past possibly in that situation could have crumbled but it just shows the character of the team," said Glover.
"At the end of the day we weathered the storm.
"It was great last night to celebrate ... But at the end of the day we've still got 90 minutes to play."
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)