Cirio stars as Reds reach final
Adelaide United set up a home FFA Cup final against Perth Glory as Sergio Cirio scored twice to give them a 3-2 win over Central Coast Mariners.
Cirio, who has now scored in all four rounds of the inaugural competition, netted either side of half time at Coopers Stadium to give the Reds a deserved victory.
A-League form carried over to the cup as United, who are 8/15 to win the FFA Cup, extended their unbeaten run this season to nine matches.
Winning was important and we are satisfied - for the club, the players, and the fans.Josep Gombau
Josep Gombau's side had already tested Mariners keeper Liam Reddy several times, with Cirio being denied twice, before the Spaniard broke the deadlock with five minutes left in the first half.
Adelaide executed a training-ground move from a free-kick, Marcelo Carrusca playing the ball short to Pablo Sanchez who set up Cirio for a clinical finish from the right side of the area.
The hosts tightened their grip on the tie when Awer Mabil doubled their advantage just before the interval with a powerful shot under Reddy from an acute angle.
Central Coast needed an early response in the second half and got one when substitute Matt Simon, having been introduced at the break, slammed home past Eugene Galekovic three minutes after the restart.
Adelaide continued to look the more likely to score, though, and made the game safe in the 88th minute when Mabil's shot was saved by Reddy but the rebound fell kindly for Cirio to convert from close range.
The visitors grabbed a consolation in stoppage time through Josh Rose, who made the most of his chance after being put through by Mitchell Duke.
Gombau said afterwards: "Winning was important and we are satisfied - for the club, the players, and the fans. The first half was difficult, they played with five at the back and were difficult to open up, but we had four chances before we scored. After the two goals, I think we did very well and then, in the second half, early I don't think we played well."
Adelaide are 4/9 to win Saturday's home A-League clash with Wellington Phoenix, who are 6/1 with the draw 7/2.
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