Adelaide edge Wanderers to book Westfield FFA Cup final berth
Adelaide United are through to their second Westfield FFA Cup final after holding on for a gritty 2-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers on Tuesday night.
Goals in either half from imports Johan Absalonsen and Daniel Adlung had the Reds cruising midway through the second half.
But a Brendon Santalab penalty for the Wanderers with 20 minutes left set-up a thrilling finish at Cambelltown Stadium.
Despite their best efforts there would be no equaliser for the home side, as they fell to their first defeat of the campaign.
The only concern for the Reds was an injury to Absalonsen, who was forced off in the second half with a quad strain.
But Adelaide – who won the inaugural Westfield FFA Cup in 2014 – progress and now face a blockbuster final against Hyundai A-League champions and last year’s beaten finalists Sydney FC.
STORY OF THE GAME
*Both sides made a lively start but the Reds got the early breakthrough, with Absalonsen making the Wanderers pay for a sloppy defensive error.
*There was a bit of bite in the contest as well, with both Roly Bonevacia and Isaias getting early yellow cards for heavy tackles on each other.
*The Wanderers did finish the first-half stronger, with Oriol Riera going close with a header, but they never really forced Paul Izzo into a serious save.
*After another wasted chance to Riera, the Reds went down the other end soon after and doubled their lead through a cracker from Adlung.
*Santalab’s goal with 20 minutes left breathed life into the contest, as the Wanderers pushed hard for an equaliser.
*But led by their young centre-backs – 23-year-old Jordan Elsey and 21-year-old Ben Warland – Adelaide held firm to book their spot in the decider.
0-1 Adelaide United, Johan Absalonsen 13’
The Dane pounced or defensive confusion by the Wanderers. Jonathan Aspropotamitis scuffed an attempted clearance, allowing Absalonsen to steal in and squeeze his shot past keeper Vedran Janjetovic.
0-2 Adelaide United, Daniel Adlung 58’
Nathan Konstandopoulos found the German about 35 yards out from goal. Adlung took one stride forward before unleashing a powerful, swerving effort which flew in off the right-hand post.
1-2 Western Sydney Wanderers, Brendon Santalab 70’
After he was felled in the area by Reds skipper Isaias, Santalab stepped up and produced a cheeky panenka to score from the penalty spot.
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