A curtain raiser 'like no other'

After an exciting round of semi finals, Melbourne Victory will host the Grand Final of the inaugural Melbourne Asian Cup, as Australia take on Iraq.

After an exciting round of semi finals, Melbourne Victory will host the Grand Final of the inaugural Melbourne Asian Cup, as Australia take on Iraq.

The tournament, organised by Melbourne Soccer Association, and supported by Melbourne Victory, will be played between Australia and Iraq as a curtain raiser before Victory take on Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park on Friday March 7.

Gates will open at 5:20pm on Friday, so come on down to the match early to get an extra football fix ahead of our Round 22 clash.

In the semi-finals held at Darebin International Sports Centre, Iraq defeated Hong Kong and Australia defeated Lebanon

Ken Lam, President of the Melbourne Chinese Soccer Association said: "The semi finals were played with intensity and congratulations to Iraq and Australia for making it to the Grand Final at AAMI Park, the home of professional football in Victoria".

Iraq captain Denis Sadik said: "We are honoured and thrilled to play in the Grand Final before a Melbourne Victory game.

"Our team started slowly in the tournament but we got stronger and delivered for our loyal supporters," Mr Sadik said.

Australia captain Lachlan Lazaric said: "It has been an amazing journey for our young team who are looking forward to testing themselves against Iraq".

In the Golden Boot Award, Hong Kong's Vito Tsang leads with 11 goals over Lebanon's Dori Nasra with seven.

Ian Robson, CEO of Melbourne Victory said “We are looking forward to hosting the final of the Melbourne Asian Cup tournament here at AAMI Park.

“We understand that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these aspiring footballers, and we are thrilled that they will be able to represent their country in front of a big crowd at a world-class stadium.”

Mitchell Murphy, CEO of Football Federation Victoria said: “FFV wishes Australia and Iraq all the very best in the grand final as they play to become the Melbourne Asian Community Cup champions".

“FFV looks forward to to strengthening the relationship with Victoria-s Asian communities and continuously promoting, celebrating and engaging Victoria-s diversity in the lead-up to next year-s AFC Asian Cup being hosted in our own backyard."

Michael Brown, CEO of the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 said "We are thrilled that the final will be contested by Iraq and Australia, two of the AFC Asian Cup Heavyweights.

"We hope the fans and the players enjoy the opportunity to play at AAMI Park and may the best team win."

Grand Final: 5.20pm kickoff. Friday March 7, 2014 Curtain Raiser for Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners Hyundai A-League Game at AAMI Park. Gates open from 5:20pm