The BORAL Finals Series produced another weekend of drama and emotion. Here's how it played out.
Words by Sotiris Demitriou.
See also: Senior Men's and Women's National Premier League Fixtures Confirmed
Men's National Premier League
Metro’s stars get the better of Olympic
Adelaide Olympic and Metro Stars meet in the Week 2 of the Boral Finals Series. This elimination final decides who will take on Adelaide Comets in their second chance to get to Coopers Stadium.
As MetroStars got us underway the encounter turned rather cagey, with neither team looking to take the first risk. Early chances were created as Mathew Dawber enjoyed some space on the right flank, Christian Esposito and Liam Wooding also combining in the middle and Ricardo Da Silva driving forward for Olympic.
In the 12th minute, Wooding drove in a low cross which came out to Bonada who takes a first-time strike. Harpas was equal to it and kept his team level with a great save.
Frustration for Olympic sets in as they struggle to get out their half. John Karatzas tries to drive his team forward but after losing possession he brings down Gow recklessly. Karatzas goes into the referee’s book for a yellow card in the 17th minute.
A sweeping move from defence to attack began with a defensive header from Olympic’s Thomas Brown which finds Christos Pounendis, his long ball reaches the feet of Karatzas. Tsimopolous makes and overlap and collects the ball, and finds Kamara, who is brought down at the top of the box.
A yellow card is given to Rocky Callisto for bringing down Kamara, in the 18th minute. The proceeding free kick taken by Fausto Erba forces Carmody into an excellent save.
Dawber creates Metro Stars’ best chance at the 30th-minute mark. He had swapped flanks but still managed to twist away from Butler-Bowden and Da Silva; Dawber got to the byline but Brown made a crucial block, sending the ball for a corner.
The second half saw Karatzas getting on the ball early creating several chances. In the 48th minute he pushed on, facing a retrieving Metro defence Karatzas slipped in a pass to Kamara who went through, but his shot could only find the side netting.
There was always going to be goals in this match and it took Christian Esposito five minutes from the restart to find the back of the net. O’Donnell, Callisto, and Bonada were all involved on the right as it transitioned to the left to find Esposito who was determined to put his team in front. 1-0 in the 51st minute.
By the hour Olympic had made a substation, bringing on Alexandros Koutoulogenis for Dimitri Toumazos. With fresh legs, they pushed on through Karatzas and Pounendis.
Metro failed to convert a number of chances from the 60th to the 70th. In the 70th minute, Olympic found themselves on level terms against the run of play. The substitute Koutoulogenis popped up at the far post to send his header past the flailing Carmody. Olympic were back in the match at 1-1.
In the 79th minute, Metro’s constant industrial nature proved critical as they were able to spread Olympics defence. Esposito found himself with a slightly bouncing ball and with one touch struck the ball so sweetly it left Harpas with no chance as it nestles in the top far right corner. Esposito doubles his tally with a potential Goal of the Boral Final Series.
Olympic failed to produce another meaningful chance on goal, Da Silva was gathering the ball from deep to work it forward but with no avail.
As the referee played out the last few minutes of injury time, Metro Stars kept their finals hopes alive. While Olympic calls an end to their tough week of fixtures and their season; we would like to congratulate Adelaide Olympic on their journey this season.
Congratulations go to Metro Stars as they book their spots in a Preliminary clash with Adelaide Comets to decide who faces Campbelltown City at Coopers Stadium.
Campbelltown come out on top in Week 2
In the week 2 of the Boral Final Series, there is everything to play for as Campbelltown face off against Adelaide Comets who would go into this encounter with plenty of confidence after their 1-0 win a week ago.
In the 26th minute, Joel Allwright finds the back of the net to put his team ahead.
By the 79th minute, Jacob Williams all but confirmed Campbelltown’s spot in the Grand Final as he finds the back of the net, celebrating a 2-0 lead.
71st minute sees Jake Halliday go into the referee's book for the first yellow card of the afternoon.
Tom Dittmar finds himself in the book with a yellow in the 83rd minute.
Adam Piscioneri gets booked in the 85th minute.
Campbelltown City are through to the Boral Final Series Grand Final with a convincing win over the Adelaide Comets.
Adelaide Comets still have it all to play for as they come up against Metro Stars in the Preliminary clash, the winner books their place at Coopers Stadium; the loser, call time on their season.
Women's National Premier League
West Adelaide gain revenge while Salisbury Inter enjoy their first taste of Finals Football
The old foes locked for battle once again in the Week 1 of the WNPL Boral Final Series. West Adelaide hoped to amend their efforts a week ago, while Adelaide City wanted to show they were ready for the day in September at Coopers Stadium.
The spectators around VALO Football Centre didn’t have to wait long for the action, as West Adelaide survived an early onslaught from Adelaide City through Isobel Hodgson and Chelsie Dawber, in the 1st and 8th minute respectively.
Lea Ann Cutshall was the busier of the two keepers, as West Adelaide began to find their feet. Georgia Macri grew into the game, troubling the Adelaide City defence with a deep cross in the 20th and a fine strike in the 36th minute forced Cutshall into a smart save.
Adelaide City’s best chance came in the 53rd minute through Hodgson, striking a half volley from the edge of the box and striking the woodwork; relief for West Adelaide as the ball falls kindly to Psaroulis who clears their lines.
At the hour mark, Adelaide City looked the more likely to score as Daniela Di Bartolo started their next chance with a lovely flick on the outside of her left foot turning her defender, Di Bartolo sent Tiarn Powell through on goal, directing the ball just wide of the upright.
The game had opened up, with both teams producing notable chances on either end. Dragana Kljajic was inspiring for the elapsed 20 minutes, as many of West Adelaide’s chances started from their number 17.
It took 81 minutes but finally, West Adelaide broke the deadlock. Thanks to Nicole Tilley, who combined with Kljajic on the left. She picked her spot, beating Cutshall low to the left.
Adelaide City comes excruciatingly close in the 87th and 88th minute. McNamara set herself in the box striking a low volley, Justine Hall was positioned well. Nanako Sasaki watched on as her curling free-kick was tipped on the bar by Hall, protecting her team’s lead into the final minutes.
West Adelaide Hellas hold onto their lead as the final whistle sounds. They now qualified for the Grand Final which will be held at Coopers Stadium, September 14th. While Adelaide City now faces Salisbury Inter in Week 2 of the WNPL Boral Final Series.
Salisbury Inter enjoyed their first-ever run out in the Finals Series with a 2-1 win over Adelaide Uni, taking them to within 90 minutes of a Grand Final. First-half goals from club captain Chantelle Ryder and Nicole Calder gave Inter breathing space before Uni captain Laura Johns set up a nailbiting finish slotting the ball with fifteen minutes to go.
Inter held on and will now face Minor Premiers and current Champions, Adelaide City, for a place at the big dance in two weeks.
State League 1
Modbury Jets are sky high
Modbury Jets make a statement after their confirmed promotion! They now confirm their place in the Grand Final beating Sturt Lions 2-1 on aggregate.
Sturt Lions didn’t make it easy for the Jets as Gonzalo Rodriguez buries one on the 31st-minute mark, he finds the back of the net for Sturt. His team lead 1-nil on the day but tied on aggregate.
Sturt felt as though were back in the contest as the clock was reaching half time Zac Miller goes into the book and receives a yellow card.
Modbury Jets came straight out of the blocks at the restart. They continue to test the Sturt goalkeeper James Klappers.
In the 52nd minute, Daniel Pritchard was able to stay calm in a decisive moment in the game as he slots the ball past the onrushing Klappers. Pritchard puts Modbury level on the day and in front over two legs.
Joshua Farrell concedes a yellow card in the 70th minute as the Jets try desperate measure to hold onto their lead.
Rodriguez, Sturt’s hero Rodriguez finds his name in the referee’s book in the 83rd minute.
Both sides making late substitutions to find a way to equalise or extend their lead respectively.
At the sound of the referee’s final whistle, Modbury Jets come up victorious with a 2-1 win over two legs. Sturt did very well to get a goal on away turf, as they now have the second chance semi-final and will face off with Cumberland United who found a way past the Western Strikers.
Cumberland have the last say against Western Strikers
Cumberland United have gotten out of their Elimination Final against the Western Strikers and now have a date with the Sturt lions for a Semi-Final decider.
Elijah Makris receives the first yellow of proceedings, in the 23rd minute.
Cumberland United up against Western Strikers brought on a cagey affair. With all the action coming late into the first half, Cumberland were forced into two early substitutions. Jace Cummins was replaced by Joseph Wright in the 28th minute. Three minutes later Cumberland subbed in Ethan Stevenson for Karl Phelps.
In the 38th minute, Stefan Didone of the Western Strikers was cautioned by the referee.
The early substitutions had a positive impact for Cumberland as they receive a penalty opportunity. Joseph Wright who came off the bench decided the responsibility was his and dispatched the penalty beyond Seth Buttery in the Western Strikers goal.
Western Strikers showed great character to push on following the penalty decision. As Jacob Lavery produced a great reward for his team’s effort in the final minute of the first half. The score is now 1-1 on the stroke of half time.
Decisive chances in the early stages of the second half were few and far between.
As both teams made substitutions at 75th-minute mark, Cumberland make their last available substitution bringing on Thomas Briscoe for Ethan Stevenson. As Western Strikers replace Stefan Didone with Dion Karagiannis.
Jordan Pegoraro delivers that decisive goal for Cumberland at the 82nd minute, he breaks free and breaks the level score putting his team 2-1 up.
Cumberland now set their eyes on the semi-final matchup between Sturt Lions.
State League 2
The Vipers defeat the Cobras
The Vipers and Adelaide Cobras faced off in a local rivalry that had it all, great finishes, world-class saves, and intense matchups. Proceedings began with multiple great saves from Callum Piantadosi and Sonny Calabria hold the match scoreless heading into the first 10 minutes.
In the 20th minute, the Vipers attacks became far more potent as they pressure Cobras defence. Augustus Williams was square against Jonni Corbo, Williams skips past Corbo on the right-hand side to drive a low cross along the box, Joaquin Torres gambled but Piantadosi got to the ball first.
One of Cobras best chances came in the 22nd minute after Dion Gazettas was dragged down from behind as he urged his team forward. Kosta Partou stepped up to take the 30-yard free-kick, he struck the ball with his instep and sent a moving, dipping ball to the top corner. Calabria got his fingertips to the ball sending it over the bar.
All the big names combine for Cobras in the 37th minute, with Gazettas, Savino and Andrew Orphanou who plays a ball over the top to a free Managafakis in the box but failed to trouble Calabria.
With the remaining time in the first half both sides experienced great chances to take the lead but who will regret their missed opportunities. The referee, Henry Day calls his whistle for half time at with scores level at nil-nil.
Three minutes into the restart the Vipers have a chance through a downward defensive header, as it falls to Williams he then releases Torres closer to goals. Torres finds tucks his shot into the far post, Goal. 1-0 to the Vipers.
Moments later in the 48th minute, Piantadosi is called into a low save. He palms Kamugisha strike around the post. Vipers’ Peter Akot finds space in the box shooting at Piantadosi’s near post, the Cobras keeper makes a smart save. From the following corner, Simic was unlucky not to score with a downward header in the 57th minute.
Despite Cobras best attempts to draw equal, they are caught on the other end. Augusta Williams scores his first of the afternoon. Nicholas Stefanopoulos provided the cross to the back post, splitting Scorsonelli and Piantadosi. 2-0 to the Vipers at the 67th minute.
Adelaide Cobras best chance to claw one back was produced in the 70th minute after Andrew Panayi turned on the ball and was fouled. Michael Orphanou who was introduced in the 63rd minute delivered a looping free-kick into the danger area the ball comes out to Gazettas at the edge of the box; he clipped a ball into an onside Mangafakis who could only blaze it over the bar.
Following seven minutes of added time, Cobras failed to produce a better chance and the Vipers hold in a derby win and stay alive for a semi-final clash with Gawler.
Adelaide Hills come up big against Gawler
Adelaide Hills book their spot in the Boral Final Series Grand Final and will watch on as Gawler take on the Vipers to determine who will meet them at Coopers Stadium.
It wasn’t all straight forward for Adelaide Hills as Gawler scored first. Pierre Ndayirata keeps Gawler’s finals hopes alive as he finds the back of the net to open the scoring at the Hawks Nest. By the 30 minute mark Adelaide Hills have it all to do as Gawler lead 1-0.
Adelaide Hills wasted little time making a required substitution in the 42nd minute, Daniel Hosking is introduced at the expense of Callum Hutchins.
Gawler makes it to out of the first 45 minutes with the lead still intact.
It took the super sub, Hosking five minutes from the restart to register his first goal of the evening and pull his side back on level terms with Gawler. 50 minutes in, scores are even once again.
In the 77th minute, Lewis Farquhar creates his own space and dispatches the ball into the back of the net. Putting a dagger to the heart of Gawler, Adelaide Hills now lead 2-1 and expressing confidence on the ball and positionally dominating proceedings.
78th minute saw three Gawler players yellow carded in a matter of minutes, they had grown frustrated in the latter stages of the competition.
Despite late substitutions for Gawler in the 81st and 87th, Musa Fofana and Bosco Uwezo failed to make an impact.
As the referee, Jonathon Hunter calls time on the evening's match, Adelaide Hills get the week rest and plan for the Boral Final Series Grand Final. While Gawler take on the Vipers to decide who is joining Adelaide Hills at Coopers.