Marco Kurz says he is proud of the way his Adelaide United players acquitted themselves in their heartbreaking 2-1 Elimination Final loss to Melbourne Victory.
Nikola Mileusnic opened the scoring in the 57th minute before Leroy George immediately replied to restore parity at AAMI Park on Sunday night, only for Besart Berisha to grab all the headlines late on.
Kurz said his side could hold their heads high for the manner in which they played after their campaign came to an abrupt end.
“I think we saw a very good quarter final from two strong teams,” Kurz said in the post-match press conference.
“I’m very proud about the behaviour and also about my team.
“I think it was very close and we got 1-0 in front and after the goal from Niko (Nikola Mileusnic) we can score the second goal from Baba (Diawara).
“But then Victory came back and also they had a good moment and also it was very close.
“We’re disappointed in the moment because now the season is finished, but I’m not disappointed with the playing style from our team the whole season and everybody in Adelaide can be proud of these boys.”
Berisha produced a moment of magic to steal the winner as his spectacular bicycle effort found the bottom corner to break United’s resolve on 89 minutes.
Kurz praised the striker’s goal and said it was impossible to defend against as centre-back Jordan Elsey did everything right.
“The cross is good and the quality from the striker in this moment is very good,” he said.
“And you cannot defend the goal, it’s not a mistake because the body is between Elsey and the ball and he did it well and that’s football.
“Sometimes it’s very close and also for us it was a very successful season and I think we’re looking forward for our young players it was a big experience to reach the finals.”
However, despite the demoralising result, Kurz was pleased with aspects of his side’s game but admitted it was difficult to limit the involvement of Victory’s attacking players for the entire 90 minutes.
“I think we played a good first-half we stayed very compact,” he continued.
“Also our counter-attacking situation was good, maybe not the last pass.
“But we know against Victory it’s one of the best teams in the league, last year’s finalists.
“They’ve high quality in the offence and you must eliminate the quality if you’ve a chance to reach the next round.
“Today they were the lucky winner, but also they had more quality in the finishing in the box and that was the reason for their win.”