Grand Final Bound

City's Mileusnic holds up a Campbelltown defender

Grand Final Bound

Adelaide City have progressed to the PS4 National Premier League Grand Final after securing a hard-fought 4-1 aggregate win over Campbelltown City.

By Gianluca Filosi @GianlucaFilosi

The Black and Whites had carried a two goal buffer into their home second leg of the major semi-final, after goals from Nikola Mileusnic and Lewis Farquhar put the minor premiers in the box seat to play on the hallowed turf of Coopers Stadium.

And after conceding a first-half own goal, the tie remained evenly poised until Mamadi Kamara proved an inspired substitution to score a second-half brace off the bench – dashing any chance of a Campbelltown comeback at Adelaide City Park.

However, City did not have it all their own way and were put under relentless pressure by the Red Devils on several occasions.

In fact from the moment the referee blew his whistle to kick-off proceedings, the hosts were on the back foot as City appeared somewhat lethargic and lacking intensity with the visitors implementing a high pressing game.

Yet the Black and Whites’ uncharacteristic slow start could be largely attributed to the absence of Thomas Love through injury as the industrious midfielder’s dynamism was sorely missed.

Coach Damian Mori was also without Nicholas Bucco who continues his road to recovery in what was a new look midfield trio of Jordan Pudler, Joel Allwright and Shane Tobias.

Though as expected it was Campbelltown who came out all guns blazing, needing to take the initiative and grab at least two goals without reply to force extra time and a potential penalty shoot-out.

As Joe Mullen’s side dominated possession, despite fashioning many clear-cut openings, the Red Devils netted a deserved goal in fortuitous circumstances on the half hour mark.

An inswinging corner from Anthony Ture curled off the back post and ricocheted off a City player as gloveman Ben Moore was unable to keep the ball out.

The beginning of the second-half virtually mirrored the first 45 as Campbelltown pushed numbers forward and dominated possession though they rarely troubled the City backline.

Matt Halliday and Paul Blefari were impervious in defence, clearing a number of crosses away to safety.

But with City still trailing Mori looked to his bench and brought on Kamara – who turned the match on its head.

He equalised for the hosts in his first involvement in the clash, controlling a long ball before cutting inside onto his left foot and slotting the ball into the bottom corner.

In the 83rd Kamara put the tie beyond doubt latching onto an opportunistic Anthony Costa fast paced cross to tap home from close range and consign City to a first grand final appearance since 2012.

The fate of City’s grand final opponent will be determined next weekend when West Torrens Birkalla face Campbelltown.

By Gianluca Filosi @GianlucaFilosi