Adelaide United ensured a home final in the first week of the A-League Men playoffs with a 2-1 win over Western United at Coopers Stadium.
Adelaide United coach Carl Veart has applauded the Reds' grit after they came from a goal down to win 2-1 against Western United and secure a home final next Sunday.
Adelaide United - Western United
- Adelaide beat Western 2-1 on Sunday.
- The sin secured a home play-off match for the Reds.
- Western finished third in the ladder, Adelaide fourth.
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The visitors struck first in the sixth minute of Sunday night's match at Coopers Stadium through Dylan Wenzel Halls but Adelaide regrouped and hit back 10 minutes later via Javi Lopez before Ryan Kitto scored the winner on 51 minutes.
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Ryan Kitto with a gorgeous finish that currently has @AdelaideUnited in fourth spot!
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"They stuck at it and that's five wins in a row," said Veart after his team locked in fourth spot on the A-League Men ladder.
"Western are a good side and they really challenged us tonight so it made it very difficult for us.
"Full credit to the boys, they dug in because it's important to get that home final."
United are set to face Central Coast Mariners who sit in fifth spot, three points above sixth-ranked Wellington Phoenix who take on Melbourne City on Monday, and with a far superior goal difference.
Like Adelaide, Central Coast have recorded five consecutive wins on their way to the finals series and Veart is anticipating a thrilling encounter.
The Reds coach admitted he'll likely face a selection headache next week with young gun Kusini Yengi starting and getting through 60 minutes in his first game back since mid-December.
Veart also welcomed back Zac Clough, who came off the bench and looked likely after a few weeks' absence while Michael Jakobsen is fit and was also named in the match-day squad but didn't feature.
"It's going to be a great game next week - I suppose us, Central Coast and Melbourne Victory are the teams that have a little bit of form at the moment going into the finals," he said.
"It's important that you go into the finals with a full squad, a fit squad and we're fortunate enough that we've got all of our players back and they're all battling for that starting position in the eleven."
Western United coach John Aloisi remains confident his side will be a force in the playoffs despite the loss.
Aloisi's side look certain to face Wellington Phoenix in Melbourne and will welcome back a handful of regulars for the clash, but appear to have lost skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley who limped off with a foot injury.
"First up we've got to beat whoever we're facing but we believe we can beat anyone," Aloisi said.
"We're not scared of any team. And we've shown, whoever we've faced we're able to beat anyone.
"We know that we're getting players back in next week so we're confident. We'll be playing at home, we haven't played at AAMI Park for a long time now."
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