Sydney FC books A-League final berth - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sydney FC books A-League final berth

By Philip Henderson 19/02/2006 07:20:00 PM Comments (0)

Sydney FC will host the inaugural A-League grand final after beating Adelaide United 2-1 in the second leg of the major semi-final in front of a competition-record 30,377 crowd at Aussie Stadium.

Sydney claimed the two-legged playoff 4-3 after last week's opening match was drawn 2-2 in Adelaide.

Adelaide will play Central Coast at Hindmarsh Stadium in the preliminary final on February 26 while Sydney rests until it hosts the grand final at Aussie Stadium on March 5.

Striker Sasho Petrovski put Sydney in front in the 29th minute before Shengqing Qu levelled with a superb goal in the 60th.

With the away-goal rule in effect - away goals counting double in the event of a draw - Sydney would still have claimed the tie with a 1-1 draw.

But defender Mark Rudan made sure of the victory in another classic encounter between the bitter rivals, scoring his third goal of the season in the 76th.

The only sour note for the home side was young defender Mark Milligan's second yellow card of the final series.

One of four Sydney players booked in the first leg, Milligan, who set up Rudan's winner with a fine cross, received his second yellow for a challenge on Fernando Rech in the 57th minute which will rule him out of the grand final on a one-match ban.

After netting Sydney's second in last week's opening leg, Petrovski scored from a superb Ruben Zadkovic long ball.

With Adelaide's defenders pushing forward to the halfway line, Petrovski sneaked in behind was a few metres ahead of opponent Adam van Dommele but was kept onside by a lagging Kristian Rees on the far side of the pitch.

Petrovski charged onto Zadkovic's looping ball, brushed aside the nagging attention of van Dommele before stabbing the ball with his left foot under 'keeper Daniel Beltrame's outstretched left hand.

The goal put Sydney in front 3-2 on aggregate.

The Reds went within an inch of scoring in the 37th when Qu's powerful header struck the crossbar and bounced well clear.

But Qu's persistence eventually paid off in the 60th, when he levelled the tie with a sublime strike.

Midfielder Travis Dodd feed Qu the ball on the edge of the box, the former Chinese striker turning Mark Milligan around with some clever footwork before slotting the ball neatly inside the left post.

It capped a disastrous three minutes for Milligan after his booking.

But the 20-year-old rebounded strongly to give Sydney back the lead 16 minutes later with his deep cross to Rudan, who's left foot jab sneaked past a diving Beltrame.

Adelaide pushed hard for the equaliser, but was denied by some desperate Sydney defence.

Reds skipper Ross Aloisi hit the post with his strike in the 82nd minute before Rudan cleared Rech's shot off the line after the Adelaide forward had pounced on the rebound.

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