Adelaide United became the first side to win two FFA Cups in an enthralling match up with Sydney FC.
The setting, Coopers Stadium, home to inaugural winners of the FFA Cup Adelaide United. The opposition, last year's winners Sydney FC.
In spite of a fairly uneventful (by VAR’s standards) 1-1 draw to kick off the 2018/19 A-League season, the FFA Cup finalists of 2017 played out a thrilling culmination to the FFA Cup for 2018.
The lack of a starting striker, following injuries to both Baba Diawara and George Blackwood, was a familiar problem that did not seem to faze Marco Kurz and his side as they continued the theme of playing Ben Halloran as a converted striker up top.
VAR’s absence would have been a welcomed by all, as the focus was purely on the football, and was of the highest quality.
Craig Goodwin maintained his record of scoring in each FFA Cup game he’s been part of, ultimately scoring a double and claiming the Mark Viduka Medal for the Man of the Match in the final.
A first half full of hefty and often unnecessary challenges seemed to carry over in to the second half as neither team looked like relenting.
For Steve Corica’s side, the defeat was one they can knowingly accept, with either side struggling to break the deadlock in a match that could have gone any way.
Paul Izzo — 6
The Adelaide #1 custodian was left stranded by his central defender and forced by the experienced Brosque to give away a penalty, one which he could do nothing about as le Fondre levelled for his side. Saved outstandingly at his near post to deny Ninkovic. Made a mare of his clearances all night long, doing little to ease the pressure on his side.
Michael Marrone — 6.5
Physically, the right back was an unforgiving presence, rarely giving the likes of Zullo and Ninkovic room to breathe. The downside was the amount of challenges that went against him and his side.
Jordan Elsey — 4
Culpable completely for Sydney’s immediate equaliser as the defender found himself under pressure from a determined Alex Brosque resulting in an unwelcome backpass that left Izzo dumbfounded and forced into giving away a penalty. Followed up his error with another ‘hospital ball’ a minute later, only to see the Sydney opportunity prevented by his teammates.
Michael Jakobsen — 6
The Dane’s experience came to fruition throughout as he frequently kept his backline aware when the pressure was on them.
Scott Galloway — 7
Stood up strong in moments where his team needed someone to step up. Always an effective presence down the left for his side, which was demonstrated well as he sent in a wicked cross for Halloran to lay off for Goodwin’s second.
Isaias — 7
An intense outing for the Spaniard, finding himself having to display some real tenacity in competing for the midfield against the likes of Brillante and O’Neill.
Vince Lia — 7
Rescued Michael Jakobsen from what would have been a horrid blooper-reel worthy error with a fantastic turn in what was a good performance by the former Wellington Phoenix man.
Mirko Boland — 5
The ex Eintracht Braunschweig man did not particularly stand out as his teammates shone. Arguably played up some of the challenges of the opposition, especially in one instance that sent Brosque wild.
Ryan Strain — 6
Found himself unable to make a real impression on the game although it was not for a lack of trying. Has real potential to have a breakout year reminiscent of fellow right winger Nikola Mileusnic.
Craig Goodwin — 10
Scorer of the opener; a fantastic, sumptuous thumping free kick which evaded Andrew Redmayne completely and buried itself in to the top left hand corner. Significantly, he stood up when it counted again, smashing an absolute piledriver of a shot beyond Redmayne for his second. Notched a double nutmeg following a nice piece of skill to get out of a tight situation near the corner flag. Well deserving of the Mark Viduka Medal in a 10/10 performance.
Ben Halloran — 6.5
Genuinely seemed lost at times as to what his position involved for a large part of the match. Frequently caught in two minds as to whether to make a run or hold up the ball. Despite such shortcomings as an out and out striker, his deft touch allowed Goodwin to seize his opportunity for a second, firing Adelaide ahead.
Ken Ilso — 6
Time froze at Coopers as he found himself at the near post following a cross, ultimately hitting it at Andrew Redmayne.
Nikola Mileusnic — N/A
Replaced the undoubted hero of the night Craig Goodwin just as the clock ticked in to extra time.
Taylor Regan — N/A
Brought on late to wind down the clock.
Andrew Redmayne — 6
Consistently made his huge stature felt, climbing tall to latch at each bomb of a cross dropped in to his area. Could do nothing about either of Goodwin’s goals.
Rhyan Grant — 5
The mullet haired maestro was fired up throughout the 90 minutes, especially in a moment where he sent Ilso into an advertising board. Otherwise, he was poor up the opposite end of the pitch.
Alex Wilkinson — 6
Not much can be said against Wilkinson’s performance, a continuous theme throughout his career as he truly is the hallmark of consistency.
Jop van der Linden — 7
Intercepted and challenged wholeheartedly. Like his centre back partner, the Dutchman could not really be considered at fault for the loss.
Michael Zullo — 6
Heavily involved down his flank in an effort to provide his side with a way back in to the match. Always looked to bring in his teammates in to the game.
Josh Brillante — 5
Battled with those around him, but was unable to find a way to truly put a stamp on the game.
Brandon O’Neill — 6
In classic fashion, he showed no backing away in all his challenges, effectively shielding his back four.
Paulo Retre — 5
Hardly sighted for most of the first half, but started to impose himself in the game in the second period.
Milos Ninkovic — 6
Occasionally dazzled with his silky array of skills but was most important in his imperious defensive performance. Went missing in the second half at times, as his energy deteriorated.
Alex Brosque — 7
Chased incessantly, never showing his age or any sign of giving up. His impressive work came to the forefront as he put Elsey under the pump and subsequently forced an awful backpass and the hand of Paul Izzo, earning Sydney an instant reply.
Adam le Fondre — 6.5
A definite poacher, ALF was on penalty duty, driving home what would be a devastating equaliser from 11 yards away. Maintained his record of scoring in each of his competitive appearances for Sydney FC.
Daniel de Silva — 5
Returning from a seven week injury lay off, he looked to shape some sort of a play for his side but found little space to work with.
Charles Lokoli Ngoy — 6
Threw himself about to no avail as he tried to create something for his side.