2018-19 Australian A League, Elimination Finals
  • Ben Halloran (119')

Adelaide into A-League semifinals after last-gasp extra time win over Melbourne City

Ben Halloran produced a last-minute extra-time winner for Adelaide United, sending the Reds into the A-League semifinals at the expense of Melbourne City.

Halloran sent a packed Coopers Stadium into delirium and his team into a clash with Perth, ending City's season on Sunday night just as both sides appeared to be settling in for penalties.

The forward latched onto a cut-back from Baba Diawara after Ryan Kitto's through-ball was midjudged by City's marquee defender Richie De Laet -- a painful end to an otherwise fine season from the Belgian.

Halloran, Craig Goodwin and goalkeeper Paul Izzo were all brilliant in the win. Adelaide coach Marco Kurz was a jubilant figure among many at Coopers Stadium on the final whistle.

"It was another fantastic night for the boys and the supporters," he said. "To see the supporters together with the boys in celebration -- that is my job.

"It's not fair to say one player was outstanding ... the team is the star."

City boss Joyce, after missing out on the Asian Champions League qualification his club had set as a goal but never managed, was distraught.

"It's raw. It's tough to take," he said. "You can't say much really. [The players] are obviously flat."

Adelaide face a quick turnaround to prepare for Friday night's formidable challenge of Tony Popovic's Glory.

Popovic, sitting high in the stands at Coopers Stadium scouting his opponents, cannot have seen much he will fear. Perth will start as clear favourites, given their record and the benefit of a week off after United and City had slogged it out for 120 minutes.

Although Halloran smashed a first-half effort onto the bar, the home side didn't put a shot on target for 112 minutes.

City weren't much better, at least working Paul Izzo, but without a cut-through moment to capitalise on their late-match dominance. If the first elimination final, won 3-1 by Melbourne Victory, was an example of an explosive all-out brawl of a final, this was a war of attrition.

Accusations of diving were more commonplace than shots for the first hour as the teams dug into their safety-first styles. Both sides scored five in their previous outings but there were no signs of another goalfest in Adelaide.

City made six changes from their last-out 5-0 belting of Central Coast, including dropping captain Scott Jamieson to the bench in favour of the more athletic Harrison Delbridge.

United kept faith with the side who beat Brisbane 5-3, but encountered stiffer resistance against Warren Joyce's possession-oriented side. The first half could only be described as tepid fare, with the Reds marginally more adventurous.

That changed as the match went on and City's forwards fashioned chances. South Australian Riley McGree and Shayon Harrison had Izzo at full stretch with curling rockets but couldn't break through.

City looked the only side likely to win it until Halloran stepped up -- his last minute, gut-busting run to finish at the far post before sliding into the corner of the ground to celebrate Adelaide's fine success.