Sydney finishes A-League season 14 points clear in 1st place
SYDNEY (AP) — The final piece of the playoffs puzzle in Australian football’s A-League clicked into place Sunday when Adelaide United beat Western Sydney Wanderers 3-2 to ensure Brisbane edged the Wanderers for sixth place.
Earlier in the 27th and last regular season round Brisbane beat Perth 3-2 to tighten its grip on sixth place and the last spot in the playoffs.
Western Sydney, two points behind Brisbane in seventh place, had to beat Adelaide in the last match of the regular season to move into sixth and ensure it competed in the playoffs.
The Wanderers chances looked good when Oriol Riera converted a 16th-minute penalty to give Western Sydney a 1-0 lead. But Adelaide equalized with a goal to Papa Baba Diawara, then took the lead with a 39th-minute goal to Daniel Adlung.
Western Sydney drew level in the 42nd minute with a goal by Marcelo Carrusca and had the chance to reclaim the lead with a penalty in the first minute of first-half stoppage time. But Riera hit his shot wide and the teams went to halftime locked at 2-2.
Both teams had several chances in a frenetic second half but Ryan Kitto gave Adelaide the final advantage with a goal in the 80th minute.
First-placed Sydney FC and second-placed Newcastle now have a week off before progressing directly to the semifinals while third-placed Melbourne City will play Brisbane and fourth-placed Melbourne Victory will play Adelaide in next weekend’s elimination finals.
Earlier, Brazil’s Bobo scored his 27th goal of the season as defending champion Sydney beat the Victory 1-0 to finish 14 points clear of Newcastle in first place.
Newcastle ended the regular season with an emphatic 8-2 win over the Central Coast Mariners that consigned the Mariners to last place when Wellington beat Melbourne City 2-0.