Marco Kurz insists Adelaide United were deserving winners after prevailing 2-1 over Western Sydney Wanderers in the last four of the Westfield FFA Cup 2017 at Campbelltown Stadium on Tuesday night.
In what was a physical and at times impetuous affair, Adelaide advanced to the title decider against Sydney FC thanks to goals from Johan Absalonsen and Daniel Adlung.
Brendon Santalab made for a nervy finish with 20 minutes to spare after audaciously dispatching a contentious penalty.
However, the Reds held on for the victory with Kurz commending his side’s strong defensive performance.
Remarkably, 10 of the 16 players that traveled to Sydney are from South Australia, with seven of them in the starting line-up.
“The team worked hard and I think in the second-half we make a fantastic game,” he told Fox Sports.
“We scored early, the second goal and then we defended very well and have a lot of chances on the counter-attack, but the last pass is not good enough.
“Look at the boys, it’s correct that Adelaide are in the final.”
The German boss discussed the phenomenal team spirit shown by his players with the side missing several experienced players as well as seeing Absalonsen depart with an injury in the second stanza.
“We have three experienced players that cannot play today,” he explained.
“Ersan (Gülüm), Taylor (Regan) and also Vince Lia and the young boys they did well.
“But in the first ten, twenty minutes we have problems but the team spirit make the coaches involved.
“And I’m very proud to be the coach of this team.”
Despite the WSW onslaught late on Kurz never doubted his side would progress to the Final.
“I think you have a feeling for a result,” he said.
“And tonight I’m one hundred per cent sure that we’ll win in the second-half.
“Also when they scored their goal, all the time I thought we’d win, that’s my feeling.
“But I’m happy that we finished after ninety minutes.”
The tactician also revealed his reasoning behind playing Captain Isaías as an auxiliary centre-back for the majority of the clash.
“I think we have two young centre-backs and with Ben Warland it was his first game (this season),” he said.
“And I will give him more stability in the backline, I also know Western Sydney make the move between the lines and we had to close the lines so that’s important.”
Adelaide United host Melbourne City in Round 4 of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season on Saturday, 28 October at Coopers Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.20pm ACDT.