Adelaide United has produced a resilient, back-against-the-wall performance to defeat Brisbane Roar 2-1 and progress to the next round of the A-League Finals Series.
The Reds had never won a finals game outside of South Australia in nine previous attempts, while Brisbane had never lost a finals clash on home soil in 10 matches.
But that all changed when Tomi Juric scored a quick-fire brace in the first-half.
Adelaide conceded 11 minutes into the second-half as Alex Parsons connected with Corey Brown’s set-piece and were forced the defend deep and desperately for the remainder of the game.
However, through sheer determination, spirit and a bit of luck, United survived a few nervy moments to hold on and live to fight another day.
Carl Veart’s side will play Sydney FC next weekend for a spot in the Grand Final.
It was a tentative start from both teams to begin proceedings but Adelaide tactically played a flawless first-half, preventing Brisbane from finding any rhythm to their play.
Juric drew first blood in emphatic fashion on 15 minutes, controlling Ryan Strain’s lowly driven long ball on his chest and dispatching his strike into the far corner.
The home crowd would be stunned again when Juric completed his brace four minutes later.
He flicked the ball beyond Tom Aldred inside his own half and dribbled forward at pace, firing a low, left footed shot beyond Jamie Young.
Adelaide navigated the rest of the first-half largely untroubled.
The Reds anticipated the Roar to come out firing after the break and they did just that as Warren Moon made two changes to spark them into action.
United gave an unnecessary foul away which the Roar took full advantage. Brown’s cross was nodded in by Parsons and Adelaide absorbed relentless spells of pressure.
The late drama would continue as Louis D’Arrigo was in the right position to make a crucial clearance off the line two minutes from time.
James Delianov then produced a huge save, making himself big to block Golgol Mebrahtu with Adelaide going on to make history.
Carl Veart made three changes for the must-win clash. Jordan Elsey returned from suspension to partner Michael Jakobsen in defence. Juande returned from injury to push Javi López to left-back and Ryan Kitto onto the left wing after Craig Goodwin suffered an ankle injury in training yesterday.
Tomi Juric was entrusted to lead the line ahead of Al Hassan Toure. Meanwhile, Louis D’Arrigo made his 50th appearance for the Reds in midfield. Kusini Yengi, who was also pushing to be back for the matchday squad, was ruled out too after re-aggravating his hamstring that had recently kept him on the sidelines in training.
15’ | GOAL! Juric brings down Strain’s laser of a ball on his chest, turns and unleashes a clinical strike into the bottom corner.
19’ | GOAL! Kitto plays a pass to Juric who passed it past Aldred before sprinting half the length of the field and finishing at the near post.
56’ | GOAL: Parsons gets free at the back post and heads in Brown’s crossing free-kick.
88’ | D’Arrigo clears Mebrahtu’s effort off the line before Delianov makes a great block his shot moments later.
Sunday, 13 June 2021
A-League 2020/21 – Elimination Final
Brisbane Roar 1 (Parsons 56’)
Adelaide United 2 (Juric 15’, 19’)
Venue: Moreton Daily Stadium