A-League top four decided - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

A-League top four decided

By Guy Hand 29/01/2006 10:25:51 PM Comments (0)

Adelaide United, Sydney FC, Central Coast and Newcastle will be the A-League's inaugural finals series participants after Sydney FC's 2-1 win over Perth Glory in Perth decided the top four.

With one round of fixtures remaining before the finals, Sydney FC now has the inside running for second place thanks to its dominant first half performance and ability to hold off a second half Glory fightback.

It is now two points clear of Central Coast, which beat Melbourne 3-1 on Friday night, and Newcastle - hammered 5-0 by Queensland on Thursday night.

Perth, which needed a win to keep its hopes of making the finals alive, paid for its poor start.

The Glory trailed 2-0 at halftime after being shredded by Sydney's attack, with Mark Rudan and Ruben Zadkovich netting for the visitors.

Perth's woes deepened when Bobby Despotovski's 47th minute penalty was well saved by Sydney keeper Clint Bolton.

Despotovski made amends with a well-taken goal in the 55th minute, but the Glory was unable to conjure the win it needed to keep its finals hopes alive.

Sydney's victory also ended Queensland's slim hopes of making the finals, which had been boosted with its 5-0 hammering of a poor Newcastle side at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

The visitors shocked Newcastle with first half goals to Reinaldo Elias da Costa and Jonty Richter, before Alex Brosque made it 3-0 early in the second term.

Midfielder Matt McKay added a fourth with seven minutes remaining, before Massimo Murdocca scored a fifth in injury time to leave Newcastle as the only finals side without any real momentum.

In the other match of the round, bottom side New Zealand held top-of-the-table Adelaide to its second successive draw - a 1-1 result in Auckland.

Despite dominating the match and having plenty of chances, Adelaide was unable to grab a winner, with coach John Kosmina admitting his side needed to start finding the net ahead of the finals series.

"We should have had double figures, simple as that," Kosmina said.

"We played well enough, we made a lot of chances.

"That's two weeks in a row where we haven't put our chances away and we are going to have to fix that going into the finals."

Adelaide now has the chance to partly determine which side it meets in the major semi-final when it plays Sydney FC at Aussie Stadium on Friday night.

Central Coast travels to Queensland on Saturday, with Newcastle hosting Perth on Sunday in matches which will decide the order of the final four.

If Sydney FC loses to Adelaide, it will give both Central Coast and Newcastle an opportunity to snare second spot and the opportunity to host the grand final, plus a second chance in the finals series.

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