Halloran the hero as Reds down City after extra-time


After 119 gruelling minutes, Ben Halloran has produced a last-minute extra-time winner for Adelaide United, sending the Reds into the A-League semi-finals at the expense of Melbourne City.

Halloran sent a packed Coopers Stadium into delirium and his team into a clash with Perth, ending City's season on Sunday night just as both sides appeared to be settling for penalties.

The forward latched onto a cut-back from Baba Diawara after Ryan Kitto's through-ball was misjudged by City's marquee defender Ritchie De Laet - a painful end to an otherwise fine season from the Belgian.

While City trudge out of the finals, perhaps ending the fine career of the 37-year-old goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic, Adelaide will prepare for Friday night's formidable challenge of Tony Popovic's Glory.

Popovic, sitting high in the stands at Coopers Stadium scouting his opponents, can't have seen much he'll fear.

Perth will start as clear favourites, given their record and the benefit of a week off after United and City had slogged it out for 120 minutes.

Although Halloran smashed a first-half effort onto the bar, the home side didn't put a shot on target for 112 minutes.

City weren't much better, at least working Paul Izzo, but without a cut-through moment to capitalise on their late-match dominance.

If the first elimination final, won 3-1 by Melbourne Victory, was an example of an explosive all-out brawl of a final, this was a war of attrition.

Accusations of diving were more commonplace than shots for the first hour as the teams dug into their safety-first styles.

Both sides scored five in their round-27 outings but there were no signs of another goal-fest in Adelaide.

City made six changes from their last-out 5-0 belting of Central Coast, including dropping captain Scott Jamieson to the bench in favour of the more-athletic Harrison Delbridge.

United kept faith with the side that beat Brisbane 5-3, but encountered stiffer resistance against Warren Joyce's possession-oriented side.

The first half could only be described as tepid affair, with the Reds marginally more adventurous.

That changed as the match went on and City's forwards fashioned chances.

South Australian Riley McGree and Shayon Harrison had Izzo at full stretch with curling rockets but couldn't break through.

City looked the only side likely to win it until Halloran stepped up - his last minute, gut-busting run to finish at the far post before sliding into the corner of the ground to celebrate Adelaide's fine success.

Source AAP