Adelaide United book ALM final at home

Adelaide United coach Carl Veart has applauded the Reds’ bravery after they came down from a goal to beat Western United 2-1 and secure a home final next Sunday.

The visitors struck first in the sixth minute of Sunday night’s game at Coopers Stadium via Dylan Wenzel Halls, but Adelaide regrouped and hit back 10 minutes later via Javi Lopez before Ryan Kitto scored the winner in the 51st minute.

“They kept going and that’s five wins in a row,” said Veart after his team finished fourth on the A-League Men ladder.

“Westerns are a good side and they really challenged us tonight, so that made it very difficult for us.

“All credit to the boys, they dug in because it’s important to get to that home final.”

United will face Central Coast Mariners, who are in fifth place, three points above Wellington Phoenix, the sixth-ranked to face Melbourne City on Monday, and with a much better goal difference.

Like Adelaide, Central Coast has racked up five consecutive wins en route to the final series and Veart is anticipating a close encounter.

The Reds coach admitted he will likely face a squad headache next week as young striker Kusini Yengi starts and makes it through 60 minutes into his first game since mid-December.

Veart also welcomed Zac Clough, who came off the bench looking likely after an absence of a few weeks, while Michael Jakobsen is fit and was also named in the squad for match day but was not on the list.

“It’s going to be a great game next week – I suppose we, Central Coast and Melbourne Victory are the teams that have a little bit of shape as they go to the final,” he said.

“It’s important that you go into the final with a full squad, a fit squad and we’re lucky to have all our players back and they’re all competing for that starting position in the eleven.”

Western United coach John Aloisi remains confident his side will be a force in the play-offs despite the loss.

Aloisi’s squad will certainly take on Wellington Phoenix in Melbourne and will welcome a handful of regulars to the clash, but it appears skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley has been lost to a foot injury.

“First we have to beat whoever we face, but we believe we can beat anyone,” Aloisi said.

“We are not afraid of any team. And we have shown, whoever we have met, we can beat anyone.

“We know we will get players back next week, so we are very confident. We play at home, we haven’t played at AAMI Park for a long time.”

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