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Reds into A-League finals

Soccer

Adelaide United have secured their place in the A-League finals with a hard-fought 2-2 draw against a 10-man Western Sydney Wanderers at Coopers Stadium.

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The draw ensures the Reds will play finals football but they won’t know their position on the table until the conclusion of the Macarthur-Wellington fixture on Friday night.

The Reds took an early lead but soon fell behind after two quick goals from the visitors.

A red card to Tass Mourdoukoutas late in the first half gave Adelaide some hope of salvaging the contest and their playoffs hopes.

United coach Carl Veart was satisfied his side achieved its goal of sealing a top-six berth.

“It’s been a long season and our goal was to make finals,” he said.

“We’ve achieved that but we’ve still got long way to go.”

Adelaide started hard and fast and after a handful of early chances took the lead on 12 minutes when Ziggy Gordon scored an own goal off a shot from Ryan Strain.

Ironically, Strain then put one into his own net to give the Wanderers an equaliser before Graham Dorrans volleyed the visitors into the lead.

The Reds were given a lifeline when Western Sydney defender Tass Mourdoukoutas was sent off late in the first half, placing United in the perfect position to stage a fightback after the interval.

Veart acknowledged his side would have to do much better in the finals if they are to progress after another patchy performance.

The Reds were in control from the first whistle until conceding the own goal against the run of play, but they almost gifted the Wanderers a third goal on two separate occasions.

Thomas Aqualina hit the woodwork minutes before Craig Goodwin’s equaliser, while keeper James Delianov passed straight to Jordon Mutch in the closing minutes but managed to keep out the one-on-one chance when it seemed certain the Wanderers midfielder would score.

“We started well, then had a bad patch in the middle and finished strongly,” Veart said.

“If we’re going to go a long way in the finals we can’t allow opposition teams back in games and it’s been an Achilles heel of ours all season.

“When we’ve been on top of games and haven’t closed them out.”

-with AAP

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