GCU end Adelaide's season
Gold Coast United have scored a dramatic 3-2 Elimination Final win over Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium thanks to a Shane Smeltz double.
A Shane Smeltz double has seen Gold Coast United clinch a nail biting 3-2 elimination final win over Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday.
GCU have now set up a meeting with Central Coast Mariners in the preliminary final for a chance to play Brisbane Roar in the grand final.
The visitors took the lead in the first half before coming from behind in the second after the Reds had gone in front with goals from Sergio van Dijk and Matthew Leckie.
Winning coach Miron Bleiberg lauded the character of his side and their response after Adelaide had taken the lead and maintained there is nothing unsettling in the change rooms.
"I'm very proud of the boys and we all should be proud," he said.
"At 2-1 came the character of the team. We are a happy family and again I am proud of the boys."
Reds boss Rini Coolen admitted Adelaide were unlucky not to come away with more from the loss.
"It wasn't a fantastic game and sometimes you have to accept if the other team was much better. That was definitely not today. I thought we deserved a little bit more," he said.
Smeltz opened the scoring on 38 minutes with a 30-metre wonder strike after receiving the ball with his back to goal, turned.
The former Adelaide striker took a touch and burnt off his defender before picking out the top corner and blasting past an out-stretched Eugene Galekovic.
GCU could have doubled their advantage just after half-time when Dino Djulbic got his head to the ball from a set piece.
Djulbic was left unmarked at the back post but could only watch as his header bounced off the upright and Galekovic was forced to slap the ball away from danger.
In the 54th minute the Reds grabbed an equaliser from the penalty spot when van Dijk was fouled in the box by Bas van den Brink after a Cassio corner.
Van Dijk stepped up and converted the spot kick and send GCU keeper Glen Moss the wrong way.
Adelaide took the lead 10 minutes later when Leckie pounced to smash in the rebound after Moss had saved Cassio's shot.
Marcos Flores had fed Cassio the ball with a brilliant one-touch pass and the Brazilian fired directly at the GCU shot stopper from close range before Leckie followed up.
A minute later and the visitors scored a dramatic equaliser with former Adelaide striker Bruce Djite heading into an empty net.
Tahj Minniecon raced down the left and after his initial cross was cleared, the speedster whipped in a second.
Smeltz got on the end of the cross and his close range header was saved by Galekovic, but only into the path of Djite who didn't miss with the goal at his mercy.
With 10 minutes remaining GCU stole a dramatic third when substitute Joel Porter was brought down in the area by Nigel Boogaard.
Smeltz had played a delightful dummy to allow Porter to run onto the ball before being felled by the Reds stopper.
The Kiwi had to take his spot kick twice after an infringement on the edge of the area, but it matter little as Smeltz secured the victory for Gold Coast.
Adelaide United 2 (van Dijk 55, Leckie 70) Gold Coast United 3 (Smeltz 38, 79, Djite 77) 15, 028 @ Hindmarsh Stadium