Adelaide City kicked its final ball of the season on Saturday as it fell to West Torrens Birkalla in a hard-fought 1-0 loss in the PlayStation 4 National Premier League Elimination Semi Final at Jack Smith Park on Saturday.
Paul Radice netted the only goal of the game after 16 minutes to send Birkalla through to next weekend’s Preliminary Final.
Adelaide City’s Nicholas Bucco noted his side was second best.
“We weren’t ourselves. The tempo was flat in the first half and we didn’t take the opportunities which came our way,” he said.
“No excuses, we didn’t play well enough to get the win. It was a tight contest, a typical finals battle, and they did enough to deserve it.
“We spoke about how we can view the season afterwards and given we just missed out in the Cup and were knocked out at this stage, it’s a bit of a failure. There are improvements to be made next season.”
The home side enjoyed the early ascendency and opened the scoring after Taro Kawamura flicked the ball for Kurtis Rowe to drill a low cross, which Radice tapped in from close range.
Kitto nearly doubled the advantage shortly after the half hour as he led a counter-attack, but his outside of the foot shot went wide of Ryan Veitch’s goal.
City amazingly failed to find an equaliser five minutes before the interval. Fumiya Suzuki hit the crossbar from Joel Allwright’s corner, with Matthew Mullen’s header then cleared off the line. Lewis Farquhar struck the bar as the goalmouth scramble sustained and finally another Mullen attempt was held by Julian Torresan.
Bucco stepped up to take a 62nd minute free kick, but his curling effort was well saved by Birkalla captain Torresan. It was as close as the Black and Whites came to finding an equaliser.
At the other end Kitto charged at the City defence and forced a good save from Veitch, as Birkalla looked to seal the contest.
Kawamura steered a Rowe cross just over the top of Veitch’s goal, as Birkalla saw out the final minutes to advance.
Article by Luca Cetta – @l_cetta