By Michael Barbaro (@mbarbaro1994) Photo by Ben Verringer
Adelaide City have marched into their second FFA Cup Final in three years as they defeated a resilient Elizabeth Downs at the VALO Football Centre on Tuesday night.
The win spelled the end of this season’s cup romance story, with Downs getting past NPL giants MetroStars in the quarter finals of the competition.
City started off the encounter with a spark, enjoying a great deal of possession early on as returnee Adriano Pellegrino looked to break through the opposition’s defensive line with his through balls.
However, the first real chance came through Elizabeth Downs, when Matthew Watson’s header just missed the far post as he very nearly gave his side an unlikely early lead.
But it was City who struck first through Evan Kostopoulos.
Kostopoulos received the ball on the edge of the penalty area as he rounded the keeper, seeing his initial effort blocked on the line.
City’s number 10, however, made no mistake with the follow up as he smashed the ball into the roof of the net from point-blank range to give his side the lead.
Paul Radice almost doubled the Black and Whites’ advantage before the break but his header was tipped onto the post.
Shortly after the break, it finally looked as if Downs had settled into the tie and the game was suddenly more open.
They almost grabbed the equaliser, again through Watson, but his header was collected easily by the debuting Joe Gauci.
Stefan Casalbore had a couple of chances to put the game to bed, but his shots were well saved by Downs’ custodian Ben Aldridge.
The game seemed to be put to bed minutes later, however, as Casalbore slipped inside the opposition’s penalty area and was brought down by Damien Dalglish.
City skipper Marcos Flores stepped up to the task and banged home from 12 yards as his side had one foot in the FFA Cup final.
Downs pressed hard after City’s second goal, even finding a goal through Dylan Costanzo, who turned in Billy Allotey’s low cross from close range.
But the goal proved to be no more than a consolation as City booked their ticket to Coopers Stadium on June 22nd where they will attempt to win another cup title and secure their place in the national Round of 32.
Adelaide City 2 (Kostopoulos 27’, Flores 75’ (P))
Elizabeth Downs 1 (Costanzo 79’)
Lineup: 3. Bradley Corbo, 5. Zak Waters, 10. Evan Kostopoulos, 17. Stefan Casalbore, 18. Paul Radice (49. Massimo Falco 87’), 19. James Boffa, 21. Adriano Pellegrino (16. Tom Love 82’), 22. Haris Vuckic, 45. Tomas Maricic, 48. Marcos Flores (14. Ante Markulic 90’), 49. Joe Gauci