An extra-time masterclass from Adelaide United Youth Reserves has helped secure a 4-1 Grand Final win over Adelaide Comets Reserves at VALO Football Centre on Sunday evening.
The Young Reds were the better side throughout the course of 90 minutes despite Domenic Costanzo’s second-half opener being cancelled out.
With the affair locked at 1-1 extra-time was needed and it was there where United’s fitness and clinicality shone through.
Daniel Bressan, Alex Popović and Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio all etched their names on the scoresheet as the NPL Reserves sealed a second title in three years.
Jason Konstandopoulos forced the Comets gloveman into an acrobatic save seven minutes into proceedings.
The midfielder unleashed a stinging effort from distance that appeared destined for the top corner before it was brilliantly parried away.
United Youth dominated for the rest of the first-half but were unable to create any genuine chances.
Bressan produced a decent strike from around 25 yards four minutes from the interval though it landed straight into the hands of the goalkeeper.
Konstandopoulos was denied by the woodwork after his volley struck the post on 55 minutes, but a minute later Costanzo put Adelaide ahead.
Comets failed to clear their lines and the winger leaped highest to head the ball into the net.
However, the lead last only 12 minutes as Konstandinos Tsalamangos restored parried with a sumptuous volley from a deep in-swinging cross.
United Youth had chances to win the match in normal time but could not break the goalkeeper’s resistance.
In the 103rd minute Bressan unleashed a first-time rocket from the edge of the box before the onslaught ensued.
Popovic made it 3-1 with a back-post header and Lawrie-Lattanzio finished off a low cut-back into an empty net on 117 minutes.
Following the match, Head Coach, Adrian Stenta, praised the team’s performance and added he had no concerns with his team’s fitness levels once the match went to extra-time.
“I thought the boys did really well,” he said.
“We were in control of the game from my perspective for the majority of it and just trying to find ways we could unlock Comets’ defence.
“We had to be patient but the performance overall was very pleasing.”
It was the Young Reds’ first win over Comets in two years, so to break that drought in the title decider meant Stenta was immensely proud of his players.
“We had struggled a little bit against Comets over the past two seasons,” he said upon reflection.
“We always found ways to not quite get over the line. So just really proud for the boys because I know how hard they’ve worked and I know how much time and energy and effort they’ve put in.
“So it’s a fantastic reward for them and I’m just glad that we were able to perform so well throughout the whole finals series really and just really proud of the boys.”