Adelaide leaves it late to seal home FFA Cup final


Form team Adelaide United made heavy weather of beating depleted Central Coast Mariners 3-2 in a FFA Cup semi-final at Coopers Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Reds' victory gave them a spot in the final against Perth Glory on Tuesday 16 December at Coopers Stadium.

Football Federation Australia announced the venue soon after the final whistle.

Adelaide gave the Mariners a football lesson in the first half and took a two-goal lead into the break.

But a goal early in the second period brought the Mariners back into the game and the home team had to survive a few nervous moments before they sealed their win with a late goal before the Mariners scored a consolation goal with almost the last kick of the match in front of 4500 fans.

Adelaide's Josep Gombau picked a near full-strength side while his Mariners counterpart Phil Moss made nine changes to the team that lost 1-0 to Perth Glory at the weekend.

The Reds were the first to take the initiative and went close with a rising shot from Pablo Sanchez that narrowly missed the bar.

Sanchez then brought the best out of Liam Reddy with a crisp volley after he was served by Marcelo Crrusca.

Reddy was at it again moments later when he denied Sergio Cirio with a point-blank save when the winger was through on goal.

The Spaniard had another chance when he was served by Isaias's imaculate lofted pass and he came face to face with Reddy but his poor shot was blocked by the goalkeeper.

Adelaide was enjoying the lion's share of possession but in a rare attack burly striker Malick Mane made space for himself on the left and tested Eugene Galekovic with a firm low drive to the near post that the goalkeeper saved at the second attempt.

The Reds were not to be denied however and six minutes from halftime they deservedly went ahead with a goal straight out of the training ground.

Carrusca took a free kick and passed low to Sanchez who promptly played in Cirio and the striker slipped the ball home past the advancing Reddy.

There was more agony to come for the Mariners and three minutes later the Reds made it two when Sanchez laid the ball off for Awer Mabil and the young winger beat Reddy with a stinging shot from an angle.

Substitute striker Matt Simon gave the Mariners a lifeline when he received a pass from fellow substitute Anthony Caceres and he beat Galekovic with an angled shot two minutes into the second half.

Unfortunately Simon had to go off in the 58th minute after he appeared to damage his left hamstring.

The Mariners tried hard to get back on level terms but Adelaide was more menacing in its fewer attacks.

Four minutes from time Mabil hit a powerful drive that was saved by Reddy but Cirio was on hand to slot home the rebound from three metres out.

Josh Rose made the score more respectable with a goal deep into injury time but it was just a consolation.