Adelaide United is the first team into the FFA Cup 2018 Final after defeating a brave Bentleigh Greens 2-0 at Kingston Heath on Friday night.
A goal in each half from Ben Halloran and Jordan Elsey was enough for the Hyundai A-League side to see-off the team from Victoria’s NPL.
It’s the second straight year the Reds have made the decider – and the third time in the FFA Cup’s five-year history – and they’ll face the winner of Saturday night’s second semi-final between Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC.
Both sides had chances in a frenetic start to the match but it was Marco Kurz’s side that made the breakthrough on 20 minutes through Halloran.
George Blackwood showed great skill to beat his man down the left and get to the byline, cutting it back for Halloran to finish off from close range.
It was Halloran’s first competitive goal for the Reds and first in Australia since scoring for Brisbane Roar five years ago.
Only a stunning save from Greens keeper Ryan Scott denied Halloran a second just after the half-hour mark, but Adelaide did eventually double their lead early in the second half.
Isaias tried his luck from a free-kick just outside the box, with Scott only parrying the ball into the path of Elsey who slammed home the rebound.
To Bentleigh’s credit, they refused to throw in the towel and applied pressure to the Adelaide defence but were unable to find a way past Reds keeper Paul Izzo.
In fact, Adelaide has yet to concede a goal in all four matches they have played in the FFA Cup this year, which is a positive sign as they look to make up for the disappointment of losing last year’s final to the Sky Blues.
“Bentleigh pushed us all the way to the end. It was fortunate we got the early goal in the second half and to finish it off,” Halloran told Fox Sports after the match.
“But credit to Bentleigh, I thought they did really well.
“We’re just happy to get the win and we’re looking forward to the final now.”