Adelaide lock up third with victory over Melbourne

Adelaide United FC ensured itself third position on the table and gained a welcome confidence boost heading into the Hyundai A-League finals series following a 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory in front of a crowd of 21,038 at the Adelaide Oval.

Adelaide United FC ensured itself third position on the table and also gained a welcome confidence boost heading into the Hyundai A-League finals series following a 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory in front of a crowd of 21,038 at the Adelaide Oval.

Goals either side of the break from set pieces gave the Reds back to back victories over their fierce rivals for the first time since the inaugural Hyundai A-League season and confirmed that Adelaide will host either the Wellington Phoenix or Newcastle Jets in an elimination final at Hindmarsh Stadium next weekend.

It took just five minutes for Paul Reid to score the first goal of the frenetic and highly paced contest, before Victory striker Archie Thompson levelled the scores in the 65th minute as the visitors threatened to give United a nervous wait to see if they would be dislodged from third by Gold Coast United, who face Brisbane Roar tomorrow night.

But Travis Dodd made sure the Reds could not be caught as he headed home an Iain Ramsay free kick in the 78th minute.

Knowing the pressure was on his team after they had endured a lean run of recent results, United Head Coach Rini Coolen declared the Reds had gone a way to recapturing their best.

“There are a number of reasons you have to win a game like this. The first one is for position number three, if you keep it in your own hands you have to win the game, that-s what we did, so we don-t have to wait and see what happens tomorrow, that was important,” Coolen said.

“The second reason is we had to win the game to get some confidence back and everybody knows now that Adelaide is back in business again.”

The Reds went into the game without the fire power of Sergio van Dijk, Coolen deciding not to risk the lethal marksman as he struggled to shrug off a corked thigh, leaving Dodd with the job of leading the Reds attack.

The large crowd did not have long to wait long for the opening goal as the Reds struck inside six minutes. In his first start for the club, Andy Slory won the Reds a free kick outside the left edge of the penalty area and Reid-s resultant low teasing ball deceived everyone including Victory keeper Michael Petkovic on its way into the back of the net.

Just moments later Slory found himself one on one with Petkovic, but just as the winger went to round the Victory stopper, he lost his footing and collided with Petkovic. The speed of the incident initially gave the Reds had a case for a penalty, but referee Ryan Shepheard correctly waved away the pleas as replays showed the Dutchman slipped.

A fierce drive from Marvin Angulo in the 25th minute provided the first serious test for Eugene Galekovic, and it triggered a bright spell for the visitors as Mate Dugandzic and Robbie Kruse were both presented with chances but neither could test the Reds keeper.

Marcos Flores knocked on the Victory door after a fine build up involving Mathew Leckie and Dodd, but Petkovic was positioned perfectly to deny the Argentine.

Coolen was forced into an early change with Iain Ramsay replacing Slory, who was complaining of a calf problem caused by his earlier collision with Petkovic.

The Reds started the second half like they did the first as they took it up to the Victory, with Flores, Leckie and Dodd at it again shortly after the restart, but the latter-s finish lacked conviction.

But then just as it had happened in the first half, Melbourne started to arrest the momentum and while they could not convert in the opening 45 minutes, this time they would equalise, the goal coming from an all too familiar source. Danny Allsopp as good as pick-pocketed Croatian defender Dario Bodrusic before passing the ball to Thompson, who managed to beat Galekovic from close range.

Suddenly it was the Victory with their tails up, however another set piece would again reap rewards for the Reds. Ramsay-s in swinging free kick found Dodd totally unmarked and the Reds skipper directed his looping header inch perfect inside the top corner.

There was still time for Melbourne to respond for a second time, Galekovic breathing a sigh of relief as a deflected long range Carlos Hernandez strike cannoned into the woodwork.

Leckie made way for Lucas Pantelis to make his 100th Hyundai A-League appearance with seven minutes remaining, the noise around the Adelaide Oval continuing to rise as every minute ticked by as the Reds held on in another Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory epic.

The date and time of the Reds- final will be released by Football Federation Australia once all Week 27 games have been completed.

Match Details Adelaide United FC 2 (Reid 6-, Dodd 78-) Melbourne Victory 1 (Thompson 65-) Referee: Ryan Shepheard Crowd: 21,083 @ Adelaide Oval

Adelaide United: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 8.Adam HUGHES, 10.Marcos FLORES, 11.Andy SLORY (17.Iain RAMSAY 37-), 12.Paul REID, 13.Travis DODD (c), 14.Cameron WATSON, 16.Dario BODRUSIC (2.Robert CORNTHWAITE 69-), 19.Mathew LECKIE (7.Lucas PANTELIS 83-), 21.Francisco USUCAR

Substitutes not used: 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk) Yellow cards: Bodrusic 61-, Boogaard 65-, Flores 87- Red cards: Nil

Melbourne Victory: 1.Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 3.Mate DUGANDZIC (16.Carlos HERNANDEZ 58-), 4.Petar FRANJIC, 7.Matthew KEMP (5.Surat SUKHA 76-), 11.Marvin ANGULO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 13.Diogo FERREIRA, 15.Tom PONDELJAK (10.Archie THOMPSON 58-), 18.Danny ALLSOPP, 21.Robbie KRUSE, 23.Adrian LEIJER (c)

Substitutes not used: 20.Sebastian MATTEI (gk) Yellow cards: Kruse 69- Red cards: Nil