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Mar 13, 2022   |  10:19PM AET

Victory edge Adelaide in maiden final

Victory edge Adelaide in maiden final

Melbourne Victory defeated Adelaide United 2-1 in their Liberty A-League Semi-Final in a hard-fought, entertaining contest at Coopers Stadium on Sunday.

Defending champions Victory will now face cross-town rivals Melbourne City for a place in the Grand Final against Sydney FC.

Captain Lia Privitelli was instrumental for the visitors, opening the scoring in the first half before providing an assist in the second, after Reds midfielder Nanako Sasaki scored an audacious free-kick to equalise.

Victory enjoyed the majority of possession and territory early but it was the Reds who had the first chance.

In the 10th minute, a Fiona Worts’ cross from the left caused confusion in the Victory box between keeper Casey Dumont and her defenders.

Dylan Holmes stole in at the back post, on the blind side of her hesitant opponent, but the shot was kept out by Dumont.

The visitors had the next best chance eight minutes later when Melina Ayres collected a deflected pass and blasted towards goal, forcing Annalee Grove into an excellent reflex save with her legs.

Victory kept pressing and broke the deadlock in the 28th minute thanks to skipper Privitelli.

Zimmerman and Alex Chidiac exchanged passes before the former whipped in a cross to the back post where Privitelli coolly side-footed home from close range.

The lead only lasted a few minutes though with Adelaide equalising thanks to a goal-of-the-season contender from Sasaki.

The Japanese player stood over a long-range free-kick and with all the players lined up outside the penalty area waiting for the delivery, Sasaki caught Dumont off her line and lobbed the Victory keeper directly from the set-piece, the ball kissing the underside of the crossbar on the way in.

Adelaide attacked early in the second half and Chelsie Dawber had a great chance soon after the restart, starting out on the left before cutting inside and firing just over from inside the area.

Victory looked more polished in the front third and in the 57th minute they scored their second.

Goalscorer Privitelli this time turned provider, lofting a cross from the right for Ayres who drifted through the middle of the Reds penalty area to neatly volley past Grove.

The Reds pushed hard in search of an equaliser but failed to fashion any real clear-cut chances.

Victory still looked threatening in attack and with Privitelli the most dangerous.

She was involved again with 20 minutes, finding space on the edge of the area, but Grove rushed out to close the angle and the shot was saved.