A-League: Adelaide United 1 Brisbane Roar 2
By Football News
Brisbane Roar recorded a convincing 2-1 elimination final win over Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday.
A magnificent Luke Brattan goal was just reward for the visitors' extended front-third dominance before Ivan Franjic extended the lead moments before half-time.
Dario Vidosic scored at the death as United streamed forward but the Roar held their nerve and deserved victory.
Brisbane, who take on competition newcomers Western Sydney Wanderers in Friday's semi-final, have stepped up at the right time of the year but their victory came at a cost with as many as three players sustaining injuries.
Captain Thomas Broich sustained an injury to his left Achilles, defender Jack Hingert was stretchered off in the 65th minute after rolling his ankle, and Brattan looked sore when substituted near full-time.
The home side started nervously, with Osama Malik firing a shot five minutes in which, embarrassingly, almost cleared the top tier, while Marcelo Carrusca's wayward effort 10 minutes later was only marginally lower.
Less than a minute later, Bruce Djite went on a promising solo run but when it mattered, could not get a clean shot away.
United almost took the lead in the 25th minute when a Vidosic curler wobbled out of Brisbane goalkeeper Michael Theo's gloves and into the path of Jeronimo Neumann and Djite, who both did their best to scramble home an opener.
Roar captain Broich always looked a threat on the dead ball as Brisbane racked up the first six corners of the contest, their efforts finally rewarded when Brattan scored a stylish opener in the 27th minute.
The masterful set piece saw Broich swing a corner well away from goal, with Brattan on hand to volley home from just outside the penalty box.
The shot took a last-second ricochet of United defender Cassio, but was always on target and officially awarded to Brattan.
Everything was going the Roar's way until Broich hobbled off after sustaining an injury to his left Achilles while attempting to challenge Jeronimo, which saw the Brisbane skipper subbed off at half-time.
United almost equalised in the 43rd minute when Vidosic came agonisingly close to sliding in for goal from close range.
The Roar kept surging and were rewarded on the cusp of half-time when defender Franjic made it 2-0, guiding the ball into the corner from a Mitch Nichols cross.
Two close calls went begging for Djite and Jeronimo early in the second half and another Jeronimo opportunity in the 58th minute was denied by some outstanding Roar defence.
Brattan then had a chance to notch a brace when he beat Galekovic only to watch his effort roll across the face and wide of the post.
At the other end, Vidosic did his best to rally the Reds, producing some superb playmaking and a team-lifting goal in the 88th minute when he smashed his shot past Theo.
Tomi Juric's 90th-minute hit forced Theo into a desperate save as the Reds attacked with desperate intent in injury time, but Brisbane held on to keep their bid for a third straight title alive.