The rewards are sweet for a Perth Glory side who finished top of the table and claimed the Premiers Plate and the luxury of having the week-off, leading into their home semi-final at HFB Park.
Where Adelaide United by contrast, went through an epic 120-minute Elimination final win against Melbourne City and a five day turn around.
No-one from the Reds are complaining as Craig Goodwin said “it is what it is.” As they believe that they deserve nothing more than a Grand Final spot.
Glory are keen and desperate to get things going as Andy Keogh said, “the wait is too long.” The west is best, their famous ‘shed's’ passionate fans having the edge over United, winning two of their last three meetings.
120 minutes of football and a penalty shoot-out started as a cagey affair from both sides, moving the ball around the park. Jason Davidson's cross for Dino Djublic's header hit against the cross bar and then bounced down onto the goal line, acted as an early warning for Adelaide.
On the 30th minute mark, sublime play from Alex Tobin award winner Diego Castro with a delightful back heel flick to Chris Ikonomidis, then his returned pass, sliding Castro into the penalty area, who perfectly slotted the past Paul Izzo near left -hand side, six-yards out.
It was all about Perth in the second-half, Adelaide United looked off-the-pace and it was Castro again who seemingly put the contest to bed.
The Reds did pull one back through Baba Diawara's toe-poke in the penalty area and in the 95th minute the Reds equalised, when they did look finished, but Ryan Kitto picked up the ball inside the eight-yard area and fired the ball into the back of the net. Echoes of the European Champion League semi-finals anyone?
Another epic final in the A-league: fresh legs of Scott Neville coolly headed Perth into the lead in extra time, as Paul Izzo was scrambling to get across to save from Davidson's cross. Hats off to Adelaide, they have shown a huge amount of character, as Michael Marrone headed the ball into the back of the net 3-3, taking the game to a penalty shoot- out.
PENALTY SHOOTOUT: BLOW BY BLOW
Adelaide United go first.
Craig Goodwin cheeky shot straight down the centre of the goal but scores…1-0
Juande powerful strike into the roof of the net…1-1
Jorden Elsey sweet penalty kick deep into the low of Reddy left-hand side….2-1
Castro saved by Paul Izzo…remains 2-1 to the Reds
Vince Lia give the Reds 3-1 lead coolly taken penalty shot into the left-hand side
Santalab scores with confidence 3-2 to United
Isaias missed and saved by Reddy diving low to his right-hand side…3-2
Reddy scores his penalty against Izzo…3-3
Ben Halloran nice strike putting Reds 4-3 in front.
Jake Brimmer well taken penalty kick 4-4
Baba Diawara saved by Reddy diving to his right-hand side again 4-4
Jason Davidson to seal victory but Izzo saves the penalty…4-4 still
Nikola saved again to his left hand-side Adelaide can’t get the penalty right
Lowry penalty save by Izzo, wow 4-4 still
Nathan saved by Reddy, four saves so far and again his right-hand side…4-4
Chianese scores for Perth and sends Glory into the Grand Final….5-4