Adelaide United Youth Reserves produced a dominant 2-0 win over Raiders Reserves at SA Athletics Stadium on Saturday to progress to next weekend’s Grand Final.
Goals from Michael Cittadini and Dom Costanzo secured the Young Reds’ passage into the title decider in what was an impressive outing.
Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, said he was delighted with the way his team acquitted themselves as they were rarely troubled throughout the do-or-die final.
“I thought we controlled the tempo of the game and were able to dominate possession for large parts of it,” he stated.
“It was just a really composed performance as well so there were not a lot of times where we were put under too much pressure that we couldn’t deal with.
“So we defended well and played well with the ball and it was a good all-round performance.”
Stenta added that he was immensely proud of his players after reaching the Grand Final and how they responded to adversity during the regular season.
The Youngs Reds were sitting at the top of the table after 14 matches, but endured a six-match losing streak, before winning their last three matches to seal a finals berth.
However, during the dip in form, Stenta revealed his side never lost belief.
“I’m very proud of the boys because this year different to perhaps last year we went through that little rough patch,” Stenta said.
“But they never stopped working hard, never stopped believing, never stopped trying and so their attitude all season has been fantastic.
“So I’m really glad that they’ve been rewarded for their efforts.”
A difficult test awaits United as they will meet Adelaide Comets for the fourth time this year in the Grand Final.
However, success has been tough to come by with the NPL Reserves losing all three encounters; twice in the regular campaign as well as a dramatic Federation Cup semi-final defeat on penalties.
“We’ve come up against Comets quite a few times over the last couple of years,” he said of Comets, who incidentally also beat his team in last year’s Preliminary Final.
“And this year in particular, playing them in the cup as well. So we’ve already played each other three times this year and they’ve been really hard-fought games every single time.
“There’s a reason they’re in the grand final, they’re a good side. They’re going to provide some challenges for us.
“But we’ll back ourselves in to play at our best and hopefully that’ll be good enough to get a result.”