Marco Kurz praised Adelaide United’s never say die attitude in their pulsating Semi-final clash against Perth Glory at HBF Park on Friday night.
The Reds lost 5-4 on penalties after the match finished 3-3 in extra-time.
Diego Castro’s brace was cancelled out by Baba Diawara and then a 94th minute equaliser from Ryan Kitto.
The premiers would re-take the lead in extra-time through a Scott Neville header before Michael Marrone replied with a thumping header, restoring parity.
Kurz said while losing on penalties in sudden death was shattering, he could not fault the players for their desire and energy.
“In the first moment we’re disappointed, but in the end we played a fantastic season and I’m proud to be the coach of the boys,” he told reporters in the post-match press conference.
“A penalty shootout is always a lucky game and Perth were the lucky winner and congrats and all the best for the final.”
Kurz lauded the team’s will to fight until the very end as they came back twice in arguably the greatest Finals Series game since the Hyundai A-League’s inception.
“That is the quality from the group they never give up,” he said.
“They always believe and trust and fight until the end and it’s a high-quality group.
“Everybody is disappointed but the positive side is more important.
“We had the chance to beat the premiers this season away, it was very close but we weren’t the lucky winner.”
The German, whose two-year stint now comes to an end, was thankful for the experience of coaching in Australia and at Adelaide.
“When I came here I was so proud to be a part of the A-League,” he said.
“I’m so thankful to have this experience in Adelaide… I’m thankful.
“(Australia) is a fantastic country, fantastic people especially in Adelaide, very lovely and helpful and it was a fantastic time.”