The FFA Cup semi-finals wrapped up last night as two A-League sides bought their ticket to the inaugural final.
Marinkovic magic downs Bentleigh
Perth Glory were the first team to reach the FFA Cup final after eliminating the Lone State league side Bentleigh Greens 3-0. The valiant Victorian Premier League outfit were unable to withstand the current A-League table toppers, with free-kick specialist Nebojsa Marinkovic finishing two stunning goals either side of the interval.
Marinkovic bettered his strike that helped defeat the Central Coast Mariners on the weekend, swirling a set-piece into the top corner to lead 1-0 after half an hour.
The Serbian was on hand to double the advantage for Kenny Lowe’s men in the 50th minute. Assisted by Andy Keogh, the attacking midfielder beat Jack Webster with his first touch before slotting his shot past Green custodian Alastair Bray. Their spot in the final was sealed when substitute Chris Harold scored a third from close range.
Bentleigh had their chances in front of a healthy 3,330 crowd at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex however long range shots from Luke O’Dea and Wayne Wallace were sent over the bar.
Marinkovic spoke after the game about Perth’s rich vein of form.
“It’s very nice to be first in the league and we go to the final of the FFA Cup. It’s not an easy game because before today we play only 48 hours after the league game but I think we deserved to win.”
Adelaide made to work by improved Mariners
Adelaide United will meet table toppers Perth Glory in the inaugural FFA Cup final after defeating the Central Coast Mariners 3-2 last night.
Josep Gombau’s men were in control throughout the match and would have had many more goals if Mariner custodian Liam Reddy had not been in such fine form.
Reddy denied Adelaide three times before finally being beaten by Sergio Cirio in the 39th minute. A rehearsed set play from Marcelo Carrusca and Pablo Sanchez played in Cirio who made no mistake the fourth time around. The floodgates seemed to open when Awer Mabil scored to make it 2-0 prior to half time.
Phil Moss brought on Matt Simon at the break and the striker made an immediate impact scoring in the 48th minute to get the yellow and navy back in the game. However, the returning striker tore his hamstring and had to be replaced by Isaka Cernak at the hour mark.
Cirio then scored his fifth goal of the tournament to send the Reds through to the final before Josh Rose scored a consolation deep into to stoppage time to salvage some pride for the Gosford based side.
The FFA Cup final will take place on December 16 at Coopers Stadium, Adelaide. – Chris Matthews-Darby
Top photo from Peter Nowakowski’s Flickr photostream