Adelaide downs Roar to reach final

Adelaide United has earned a place in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final after recording a brave 1-0 victory over Queensland Roar in the Preliminary Final at Hindmarsh Stadium on Saturday night.

Adelaide United has earned a place in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final after recording a brave 1-0 victory over Queensland Roar in the Preliminary Final at Hindmarsh Stadium on Saturday night.

The Reds, considered a spent force after being thrashed in their semi-final against Melbourne Victory, rebounded with a gritty 90 minutes against an in-form opponent.

United took the lead thanks to a spectacular strike from Fabian Barbiero in the 25th minute and it went into the break full of confidence.

However the Roar rallied in the second half and peppered the goals. Mitch Nichols squandered a number of quality chances while substitute Charlie Miller also threatened to produce the equaliser.

But a stoic Adelaide kept the visitors out, much to the delight of the vocal 8472-strong crowd.

The win means the Reds will play their bogey side the Victory for the fifth time this season. It has also gifted them a place in the 2010 Asian Champions League.

It was a heart-breaking result for the wasteful Roar who also lost the preliminary final in 2007/08.

Both sides made a nervous start but it was the Roar who got on the front foot first.

Serginho Van Dijk had a couple of wild shots on goal while a low Nichols attempt was stopped by Eugene Galekovic.

The Reds then worked their way into contest with Jonas Salley proving a handy inclusion in the midfield while skipper Travis Dodd put together some exciting runs pushing forward.

However it was the individual brilliance of Barbiero which brought the small crowd alive.

Barbiero struck a bouncing ball beautifully, beating Queensland goalkeeper Liam Reddy in the top left corner of the net.

Queensland responded immediately but wasted opportunities in attack. Nichols was the main offender - his 39th-minute kick from close range was comfortably stopped by Galekovic.

Salley had the last genuine chance of the half - sending a ball over the crossbar - and overall United was the steadier side heading into the break.

United had a chance to double its advantage three minutes into the second half. Paul Reid released Barbiero in the box but he left his attempt to late and was shut down by Reddy.

Sensing the match was slipping away from them, the Roar lifted their game and spent plenty of time in attack. They earned countless corners while Nichols, Zullo and Van Dyk pulled the trigger on a number of occasions but Galekovic and his defenders had it covered.

Nichols had the best opportunities - in the 74th minute his crisp header flew to the right of the target while a free shot from near the spot in the 83rd was too high.

With pressure building, the Reds brought Paul Agostino on for Cristiano and recruit Rostyn Griffiths for Salley.

The changes made little difference with the visitors taking set play after set play. But somehow the home side hung on and kept its season alive.

Adelaide United 1 (Barbiero 25) Queensland Roar 0 Crowd: 8472