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Cirio double sends Adelaide through to FFA Cup Final

FFACup_SF_ADL_v_CCMAdelaide United are through the FFA Cup final after downing Central Coast Mariners 3-2 at Coopers Stadium on Wednesday night.

Phil Moss made eight changes to his side that played Perth Glory on the weekend, as he was keen to try to get his team back on the winner’s list after Central Coast’s past three A-League games all ended in defeat.

Adelaide, on the other hand, made just the one forced change, with in-form striker Bruce Djite sitting out with a calf injury.

Adelaide’s win was set up by a dominant first half, which saw the Reds lead 2-0 at the break.

United’s supremacy was not limited to the score sheet, as the home team had 67% of possession in the first half, and had five corners to Central Coast’s zero.

After a slow start, the first good chance of the match came in the 14th minute with Adelaide’s Pablo Sanchez shooting just over the crossbar from inside the penalty area.

Several golden chances soon followed for the home team, including a one-on-one chance from Sergio Cirio who looked certain to score, but had his shot blocked by the outstretched arm of Liam Reddy.

Central Coast could have easily been blown away in the first half had it not been for Reddy. The Mariners ‘keeper kept his side in the contest, making several outstanding saves, including two off the boot of Cirio from close range.

Adelaide then finally broke the deadlock in the 39th minute through Cirio. Awer Mabil set up the goal with a wonderful run before being brought down just outside the area and earning his side a free kick from a dangerous position. A superbly well-rehearsed set piece then ensued, ending with Cirio netting his forth FFA Cup goal and sixth in all competitions this season.

Mabil then doubled Adelaide’s lead just five minutes later with a fantastic strike from a tight angle to beat Reddy at his near post, after a perfect lay off from Pablo Sanchez.

For the remainder of the first half, it looked a case of how many for Adelaide as it seemed a third goal was imminent, but the Mariners held on to remain two goals down at half time.

Mariners coach Phil Moss made two changes at half time to try to spark his side back to life, and it did just that with his two substitutions combining to score just three minutes into the second half. Anthony Caceres set up Matt Simon, who got his side back in the contest with a clinical finish from the edge of the penalty box.

However, the super substitution turner sour for the Mariners just ten minutes later, as Simon pulled up gingerly from a chase with what looked to be a quadricep injury. Simon was inconsolable when he was forced off, after making his first appearance in six months due to injury.

Despite the loss of Simon, the Mariners looked a different side in the second half, showing plenty of grit and tenacity.

However, Adelaide was able to put the game to put the game to bed in the 88th minute. A long range shot from Mabil was saved by Reddy, before Cirio was able to tap home his second for the game and third for the Reds. The goal sees Cirio now sit equal top of the FFA Cup golden boot race, with Central Coast’s Matthew Sim and Perth Glory pair Andy Keogh and Nebojsa Marinkovic.

The Mariners managed a late consolation goal through Josh Rose in the 93rd minute to make it 3-2, but it was a case of too little too late as referee Chris Beath called an end to proceedings less a minute later.

Adelaide United will now face off against Perth Glory on December 16th at Coopers Stadium, for the chance to be crowned the inaugural FFA Cup Champions.

About the author

avatarBen is a Journalism graduate, a Melbourne Victory fan and contributor to Ultimate A-League.

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