Adelaide United booked their place in the A-League semi-finals following Sunday evening’s last minute win over Melbourne City.
The Reds literally left it to the last minute, when Ben Halloran’s tidy finish slid past Eugene Galekovic.
None other than injury-ridden Baba Diawara popped up to provide the assist in the 119th minute. Over 13,000 fans packed Coopers Stadium to roar their team into next week’s clash with the Perth Glory.
Adelaide United’s Spanish wizard was simply sensational once again. Fresh from winning the club’s Player of the Season award for a record fourth time, his intricate twists and turns and sharp in-and-outs had City players guessing for 120 minutes. Nearing a repeat of his 2015/16 Grand Final free-kick.
Often overlooked as some of the best performers, Michael Jakobsen put in another stand out performance at centre back. The Danish defender was a wall from start to finish alongside Michael Marrone, defending Paul Izzo’s goal from City’s dangerous strike force. He’ll be instrumental to Adelaide’s chances of progressing to the Grand Final.
A 119th minute winner, enough said? Halloran’s movement in and around the front three was a joy to watch. Denied by the bar early on, his sneakily smart play allowed the United midfield to link their passes with a front man.
Unfortunately for Adelaide, George Blackwood was virtually non-existent until he was eventually dragged in extra-time. The striker’s focus seemed to be anywhere but the ball when it mattered most, slow off the mark and failing to take up crucial positions.
United’s pacey winger failed to have much of an impact. Brought off by Marco Kurz in the 76th minute, his exit allowed striker Baba Diawara to make his entrance. Mileusnic struggled to win his one-on-one duels against Harrison Delbridge.
Compared to what the Socceroo is used to, it has been a relatively hard time since signing for Melbourne City. Maclaren wasn’t able to help his team as much as he would have liked on Sunday night, with just one shot on target.