Sydney FC coach Steve Corica can help rewrite the A-League record books if his Sky Blues win next week’s grand final.
Beating Adelaide United 2-1 at Nestrata Jubilee Stadium on Saturday night has given Corica a dream opportunity to become the first boss to lead a club to a hat-trick of consecutive championships.
Sydney won’t know its grand final opponent until minor premier Melbourne City faces Macarthur in Sydney on Sunday in the other knockout semi final.
Adelaide’s championship hopes were in tatters after a bright start as VAR also threatened to ruin the contest.
Adelaide switched off when it needed to be lucid during critical times of the clash in a stadium where winds were reportedly recorded at 40km/h.
Adam Le Fondre scored from the penalty spot and Bobo from open play to give Adelaide nightmares after Reds’ Ryan Strain’s effort ricocheted off the crossbar when the score was 0-0 in the 13th minute.
Juande handed Adelaide a lifeline with a brilliant debut Reds goal which he fired in from 18m in the 64th minute.
Sydney’s sleeper hold
Two penalties – one which was saved – and a brilliant passage of Sydney play broke Adelaide.
A simple throw in from Paulo Retre seemed to be an off switch for Adelaide’s defenders and they paid dearly to concede in the first half.
Retre found Alex Baumjohann with the throw before the German Bundesliga veteran clipped a neat volley in the path of Barbarouses.
The All Whites striker was far too quick for advancing Reds keep James Delianov but he knocked the ball out of play after a collision.
Referee Alireza Faghani waved play on before VAR intervened.
“I hit the ball underneath him (Delianov) and he took me out,” Barbarouses told Fox Sports during the break.
A video replay saw Faghani change his mind before Le Fondre easily dispatched the perfect penalty in the 24th minute.
Bobo made it 2-0 when Adelaide again fell to pieces after Baumjohann sprayed a ball to left back Joel King.
His exquisite volley pass to the Brazilian was perfect before Bobo had the last laugh with a classy side-foot home from 10m.
Barbarouses won a second penalty early in the second half when Javi Lopez brought him down before VAR was again called into action for a potential offside call which was cancelled out.
However this time Delianov thwarted Le Fondre with a brilliant save from the spot kick.
Mohamed Toure’s introduction off the bench on the hour paid immediate Adelaide dividends when he won a free kick before Juande smacked the rebound into the back of the net.
VAR looked for a potential offside before Faghani made up his mind to award the goal.
Sydney FC’s two first half goals proved too difficult to recover from. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Christmas in June
Adelaide must have thought all their Christmases came at once before kick off.
Johnny Warren medal winner Milos Ninkovic, who was born on December 25, 36 years ago, was ruled out with a calf injury.
It should have decimated Sydney to the point of cracking but it didn’t.
On top of the loss of Ninkovic, Sydney was forced to start without three on duty Socceroos Ryan Grant, Ryan McGowan and Andrew Redmayne.
Sydney is boss
Sydney have never been beaten by Adelaide in three finals series matches since 2006 and the class of the home side was again evident on Saturday night.
The Sky Blues kept striker Tomi Juric isolated for much of the match but apart from that, they were far too disciplined all over the park.
Baumjohann and Luke Brattan controlled the middle of the pitch while Sydney’s defence was always on guard for counter attacks which usually fizzled due to the home side staying in shape despite the threat of the Reds speed kings.
Adelaide put up a good second half fight when the game started losing rhythm, shape and discipline.
Sydney FC 2 (Adam Le Fondre 24m, Bobo 43m) Adelaide United 1 (Juande 64m) at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Referee: Alireza Faghani
VAR: Chris Beath
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