Melbourne City have taken a giant stride towards securing a home Final after edging Adelaide United 1-0 at AAMI Park on Friday night.
A trademark header from Tim Cahill in the first half proved the difference as City returned to winning ways following back-to-losses to Western Sydney and Sydney FC.
City settled the quicker after a scrappy opening but struggled to create clear-cut chances throughout the first period as a resolute Reds defence frustrated the hosts.
But the hosts continued to press and were rewarded with Cahill’s ninth goal of the season giving City the lead at the interval.
A niggly affair developed after the break with both sides committing a series of fouls as the game descended into a stop-start encounter.
Adelaide showed more enterprise as the game progressed but failed to truly test City keeper Dean Bouzanis as Michael Valkanis’ side held on for a crucial three points.
1-0 Melbourne City: Tim Cahill, 36’
Nicolas Colazo picked out Cahill with a fizzing corner with the striker rising highest before expertly flicking a header through a crowd of players and into the far corner.
City winger Bruce Kamau looked certain to cap an impressive performance with a goal in the first half only for his powerful strike to be sensationally saved by Eugene Galekovic.
The youngster showed great feet on the edge of the area before unleashing a stinging effort which looked set for the top corner but Galekovic somehow managed to tip the ball around the post.
Adelaide fullback Tarek Elrich was stretchered off midway through the first half after landing awkwardly on his left leg following a challenge with Osama Malik.
The defender was spotted on crutches at the ground with reports suggesting he may have suffered a torn ACL.
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