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Reds defy Wanderers - and refs - to reach FFA Cup final


There will be no Sydney derby in the FFA Cup final, with Adelaide United winning through to the 2017 decider, defeating Western Sydney 2-1 in their semi-final.

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At Campbelltown Stadium last night, two strikes from new Reds imports won a place in next month’s showpiece against Sydney FC before Wanderers stalwart Brendon Santalab replied from the penalty spot.

Jonathan Aspropotamitis’ nightmare clanger allowed Johan Absalonsen to set the Reds on their way on 13 minutes, before Daniel Adlung’s super second-half strike.

The Reds’ win means new boss Marco Kurz will have the chance to win a trophy in just his 12th game with Adelaide.

The German oversaw a masterclass in soaking up pressure and taking chances against the Wanderers.

Marco Kurz celebrates the victory. Photo: David Moir / AAP

Their first chance came gift-wrapped by Aspropotamitis.

The young Wanderers’ defender took an airswing at a loose ball as Absalonsen lurked and out-muscled him, rolling the ball past Vedran Janjetovic.

Western Sydney dominated possession and shots as they searched for an equaliser.

They came closer to red cards.

Roly Bonevacia and Isaias traded yellow cards for tackles on each other within five first-half minutes, with the Wanderer lucky to stay on the pitch.

Aspropotamitis also could have been dismissed for an elbow to George Blackwood’s head just a minute after a booking for a late challenge on Nikola Mileusnic.

Referee Peter Green also missed Jacob Melling’s full-blooded two-footed tackle on Jordan Elsey on 68 minutes.

By that stage, the Reds were two up after Adlung had lashed home off the post from outside the box.

Instead of being down a man, the Wanderers had a lifeline.

Santalab dispatched a Panenka-style penalty – dubiously awarded by Green – past Paul Izzo to keep their hopes of a first Cup final alive.

Adelaide held firm and will return to the final for the first time since winning the inaugural competition.

The loss is Western Sydney’s first since Tony Popovic walked out of the club on the eve of the season.

It will also lengthen the club’s wait for a first piece of silverware since winning the 2014 Asian Champions League.

FFA will announce the venue for the final, set to be held on Tuesday November 21, in coming days.


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