Fiasco Sports reviews yet another exhilarating weekend of A-league finals football, as the Western Sydney Wanderers and Brisbane Roar both booked tickets to this season’s grand final.
Western Sydney Wanderers vs Central Coast Mariners at Parramatta Stadium
The Central Coast Mariners headed to Parramatta Stadium in search of a crucial win which would keep their dreams of a title defence alive.
However goals in each half from Youssouf Hersi and Iacopo La Rocca dealt a crushing blow to Phil Moss’ team.
The Mariners were the better of the two sides during the early stages as Bernie Ibini and Mitchell Duke provided serious threats to Ante Covic’s goal.
However, the Wanderers were able to defuse the Mariners’ momentum and it wasn’t long before they found the breakthrough.
It arrived when Brendon Santalab‘s pinpoint cross found an onrushing Hersi who finished with ease to put the roaring contingent of active Wanderers supporters into a state of ecstasy.
The pressure on Mariners gloveman Liam Reddy wasn’t about to ease as Japanese legend Shinji Ono unleashed a cracking free-kick which tested Reddy before half-time.
The Wanderers iced the cake in the 81st minute of the encounter when Italian La Rocca slotted the ball home after his subtle foray into the Wanderers’ attacking third.
Brisbane Roar vs Melbourne Victory at Suncorp Stadium
In the weekend’s other semi-final, Brisbane Roar emerged from a clash that was labelled as a bout between current Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou‘s two former projects.
Postecoglou won a Championship with the Roar in seasons 2010/11 and 2011/12, before moving to the Victory where he implemented his popular style of play.
However, it was to be Postecoglou’s maiden A-league club, currently coached by Mike Mulvey, which booked their place in the competition’s showpiece event next weekend.
Albanian superstar Besart Berisha livened up the contest spectacularly with his 57th minute goal which ultimately provided decisive.
Berisha has already signed to play for the Victory next season, but as a current employee of the Brisbane Roar, his impact on the clash proved to be enormously damaging for his future club.
The Victory were largely outplayed at times during the cagey contest, with statistics providing clear evidence as the Roar enjoyed 55% of possession to Melbourne’s 45%.
An unbelievably frantic final few minutes brought the Victory to life as Roar fans held their breath through an extremely nervy stoppage-time period.
A hopeful ball was played into the heart of the Victory goal, before a header from veteran striker Archie Thompson was excellently saved by Michael Theo.
Victory captain Mark Milligan then went down in the box after he appeared to make contact with Roar captain Matt Smith, and incredibly the Victory were denied a last-minute penalty for the second time in a week.
Referee Strebre Delovski blew his whistle signalling full-time seconds later, before the sight of an infuriated Victory coach Kevin Muscat emerged.
The Roar and Wanderers will meet at Suncorp Stadium next Sunday to decide this season’s championship winners.
Written by Ellis Gelios