Adelaide United hold off Mariners to seal semi-final spot

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Finals football returned to Coopers Stadium for the first time since 2019 and the Reds did not disappoint their home fans.  

It was Central Coast Mariners that took control of the game early and it was the right side of the pitch that was doing the damage. 

Beni Nkololo and Jason Cummings continuously darted down the right wing, attacking Ryan Kitto time and time again as the Mariners found themselves deep in Adelaide’s penalty area.

But the Mariners lacked the quality needed to create any serious chances.

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But despite all of the Mariners positive work, it only took one slip up to undo it all. 

Alexandar Popovic won the ball in the midfield and then lofted over a through ball – that looked too short – but it floated its way over the Mariners last line of defence and into the path of Craig Goodwin. 

And Adelaide’s man for all occasions made no mistake.  

The game plan was the same for the Mariners in the second half, as Kitto struggled to keep up with Nkololo’s pace. 

Central Coast finally had their break in the 56th minute as Cummings got in behind Adelaide’s defence and was able to roll one past Joe Gauci and into the back of the net, but the celebrations were hushed instantly as he was called for offside. 

Exactly 10 minutes later, it was the home fans that were up and out of their seats again as Goodwin was yet again proving to be the difference. 

Goodwin crossed in a perfect pass to Kusini Yengi that was harder to miss, as Adelaide’s number nine scored his first goal since returning from injury. 

However, the Mariners were not done just yet as within second of entering the game, super sub Storm Roux curled in a magnificent goal into the top-right corner to give the visitors some hope. 

But that hope was shortly snuffed out as Carl Veart sent all the troops into defence to hold on to their one-goal advantage.  

Bernardo would put the icing on the cake in stoppage time to make it 3-1 and lock in a semi-final date with the reigning champions Melbourne City.  

Adelaide United: 3 (Goodwin 26’, Yengi 67’, Bernardo 90′) 

Central Coast Mariners: 1 (Roux 71’) 

Coopers Stadium 

Referee: Daniel Elder 

Assistant Referees: Matthew Cream, Andrej Giev 

Fourth Official: Alireza Faghani 

Adelaide United: Joe GAUCI (GK), Ryan KITTO, Kusini YENGI (Louis D’ARRIGO 87’), Isaias, Craig GOODWIN, Hiroshi IBUSUKI (George BLACKWOOD 68’), Javi LOPEZ, Michael JAKOBSEN, JUANDE, Alexandar POPOVIC, Lachlan BROOK (Bernardo OLIVEIRA 68’) 

Unused subs: Zach CLOUGH, Jacob TRATT, Nestory IRANKUNDA, Steven HALL (GK)  

Central Coast Mariners: Mark BIRIGHITTI (GK), Lewis MILLER (Storm ROUX 69’), Cy GODDARD (Garang KUOL 45’), Jason CUMMINGS, Beni N’KOLOLO (Matthew HATCH 76’), Marcos URENA (Nicolai MULLER 69’), Kye ROWLES, Maximilien BALARD, Jacob FARRELL, Harrison STEELE (Joshua NISBET 69’), Cameron WINDUST  

Unused Subs: Ruon TONGYIK, Lawrence CARUSO 

Feature Image Credit: Jordan Trombetta

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Cameron Ottenhoff
Sport, media and communications student at Flinders University in Adelaide. I was forced to hang the boots up at a young age after discovering I'm no good at sport, so now I just talk about it instead.

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