It started with 737 clubs, far and wide of Australia. It ended with 2, only 750km’s apart. Adelaide v Melbourne. Shithole FC v $ity.
For those unaware, I am an Adelaide expat living in Sydney. A home game for me involves a few trains, ubers, planes and far too much walking for my liking. Yet, I am still so happy to say I have seen every one of Adelaide United’s FFA Cup Final wins in person ( and one loss 🙁 ) since its inception in 2014. Red confetti, convincing players to let me hold the trophy and wear their medal and the sound of Wonderwall banging through the speakers are just a few things I am fondest of within the Adelaide United CupTM.
It was a hot day in ye old Shithole city, the weather read a solid 30 degrees but it felt like the sun. We had an early Kick Off of 7pm (cheers AEDT) and by about 6:50pm there was a cool drop in temperature, thankfully. As at pre-drinks I had full expectations of a cagey, ‘can’t be f*cked’ first half. It was not. Jamie Maclaren and co came out all guns blazing. I spent a good portion of the first 20 saying, shit shit shit shit no Elsey and an in-form Jamie, shit. But never fear, Jakobsen stepped up.
City had Noone making runs up the left. No seriously, the English bloke. I watched the ball passed down the left over and over again, making about 12 Noone jokes in the opening half hour. Jamie Maclaren continued to make run after run into the area but unable to open the scoring for Seagull FC.
While most reports, commentary and media in the lead up to this game revolved around an in-form Socceroo, Jamie Maclaren, it was Adelaide’s 19 year old Al Hassan Toure who was the Magic of the Cup.
Toure opened the scoring for Adelaide in the 25th minute with an unusual attack for the home team, as most of the attacking at this point was in favour of the visitors. Ryan Strain watching Toure’s run, finds him out on the right and rather than crossing it into the box for an arriving Mileusnic in which keeper Bouzanis was prepared for, Toure goes front post. At this point we start to realise, this is Al Hassan’s world, we’re just witnessing it.
Melbourne City continued to dominate play yet couldn’t buy a goal, ironic. Ryan Kitto then receives the first yellow of the match after attempting to disrupt the Luna eclipse. Alex King calls for half time and home fans start to get a little excited that the Adelaide United CupTM is actually a thing and not something I have been pulling out of my ass.
From a few reports, I have heard Adelaide’s new coach, Gertjan Verbeek is a man with high standards, he expects the best from his team. How I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during that half time talk as the Reds came out for the second half and played some of the most enjoyable football I have seen from them in some time.
Within 4 minutes, Toure set up a goal better than my Baba can set up any one of my cousins to wed. Still in his own half, Toure threads it through to Riley McGree, bypassing Harrison Delbridge, Riley outrunning his man and crosses it to an approaching Halloran who easily beats the keeper to make it 2-0. In celebrations, 19 year old Toure is in tears. This moment, this game means so much to him.
A few minutes later Noone has an opportunity on goal (no seriously) but sends it wider than my waistline at Christmas time.
By the 60th minute Adelaide United go 3-0 up by capitalising on Bouzanis who’s hanging to the left, to the left. Halloran loses his man just past the half way line, Riley McGree sees his teammate riding solo, cuts it over to the right and Halloran sends it in to Mileusnic approaching the far post who practically walked it into goal. Dedicating his goal to Jordan Elsey who has been instrumental to this Adelaide United outfit but was unable to participate in tonights match.
City coach, Mombaerts saw the youth tactic working and in hoping it can work for his side, starts to bring on some young talent. Ramy Najjarine was subbed on for absolutely Noone but unfortunately for 104 fans and 239 seagulls watching at home, still couldn’t put a dent in the scoreline.
While I was preparing drafted tweets that could really bite me in the ass if we somehow throw this lead, Adelaide found a way to secure my, and the trophy’s engraver’s confidence. Riley McGree finds a gold mine of a ball, deflected off the City’s defence from a Mileusnic pass and is able to tuck ‘er away on the turn.
It’s the 80th minute. The red confetti is being prepared, the medals are coming out and the trophy is ready. An 85% Adelaide born/raised team are currently 4-0 up. We finally see a smile on Gertjan Verbeek’s face. I legitimately thought we would have to win 15-0 and sacrifice a native animal in order to achieve this.
There’s a little argy bargy in the final 10 as City are pretty pissed they’re 4-0 down and have aggravated our Brawler from Gawler. Surprising to many, token good guy, Scott Jamieson was involved in the kerfuffle. Both teams clock up a couple of yellows and move on with their lives.
After 4 minutes of stoppage time, Adelaide United win their 3rd FFA Cup for the 2nd time in a row, in their 4th Grand Final with a scoreline of 4-0. At this point I’m contemplating getting a Powerball ticket with the number 4.
As an Adelaide fan, this was an inspiring game. Here’s to hoping this run continues into the A-League and Verbeek continues to utilise the youth and local talent that can be found within Adelaide’s NPL grounds. What is also appealing to me as a fan, is the connection this team has. I can tell there is positivity within the team and in the rooms by what is on show on the pitch. Dedicating goals to injured players, tears from assists and feel good insta stories.
Until next year FFA Cup, it’s been a pleasure.
By Rose Valente