Geelong Adelaide, Monday 5 February 2005, p. 00.
Melbourne Victory overcame Adelaide United by two-goals to one in a thrilling major semi-final of the A-League at Telstra Dome in front of another record-breaking crowd of 47,413 last night.
Both teams were at full strength and the tone was set as Geelong’s Adrian Leijer was engaged on a body on body clash with Adelaide veteran Carl Veart straight from the kick-off.
Victory’s Adrian Caceres and Archie Thompson broke through in the second minute but Thompson’s final touch took the ball just wide.
Then came the sucker punch as Adelaide went up the other end and Diego’s cross from the left let Travis Dodd sneak in for a header at the back post for a crucial away goal in 4 minutes.
This meant that the Victory had to score twice to gain the result on the night.
Caceres was causing problems with a series of runs down the left but when he cut inside the shots and crosses failed to trouble Daniel Beltrame in the Adelaide goal.
Two or three offside decisions also halted promising Victory moves, while Adelaide relied on a counterpunching approach.
Fernando had a blast from distance but hit it straight at Michael Theoklitos.
On the half-hour, Simon Storey, Kevin Muscat and Grant Brebner combined to set up Daniel Allsopp on the edge of the goal area but his shot was blocked by keeper Beltrame’s feet.
Matthew Kemp of Adelaide and skipper Muscat were booked for holding and a rash challenge respectively.
On the stroke of half time the Victory had a good spell of pressure with Simon Storey testing the keeper with one effort, and Brazilian Fred got himself booked for diving after squeezing his way past three defenders.
So the half ended with Adelaide still a goal to the good.
Two minutes into the second half the stadium erupted when Daniel Allsopp picked up a loose ball about 30 metres out.
He charged to the edge of the penalty area where he unleashed a fearsome left foot drive which screamed into the top left hand corner for the equaliser.
Adelaide replaced Fernando by youngster Bruce Djite, while Victory brought on Kristian Sarkies for Caceres and the Olyroo playmaker immediately drove a free kick to the keeper as the Victory went seeking a second goal.
By the end of 90 minutes that had not happened but then deep into injury time the Victory won a free kick out on the left.
Sarkies swung it into the danger area and when a defensive header came out to Victory substitute James Robinson he lifted a header over everyone into the top corner for the decisive strike.
There was just time for Aelaide to mount one last attack saved by the feet of keeper Theoklitos before the home team could start the celebrations in earnest.
Victory is into the grand final while Adelaide has a chance to reach that when it meets Newcastle Jets next week.