In what might have been Alessandro Del Piero's final professional match, Melbourne Victory grabbed a dramatic winner from Gui Finkler in injury time to eliminate Sydney FC 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium. Though Del Piero hit the post and Seb Ryall scored a first half equalizer, the Sky Blues were not up to the task despite their hosts playing its third game in seven days. Finkler's 92nd minute winner, assisted by Adama Traore, puts the Victory into the semifinal round though their opponent will not be known until tonight's Central Coast Mariners v Adelaide United Elimination Final is complete.
Archie Thompson, Sydney's long-time nemesis, scored the opener in the 19th minute but was canceled out when Ryall scored in the 33rd. The game remained close and required key saves on both ends with Nathan Coe producing the most impressive to deny Nikola Despotovic's header from a second half corner.
Melbourne, who just beat Guangzhou Evergrande in the Champions League on Tuesday, return to Asian competition for Match Day 6 at Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in Korea on Tuesday April 22. The busy weeks will continue in the semifinals at either Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday April 26 or Brisbane Roar on Saturday April 27.
MVC Thompson (Troisi) 19'
SYD Ryall (Abbas) 33'
MVC Finkler (Traore) 92'
Melbourne Victory: Coe; Traore, Ansell, Contreras, Geria (Galloway 67'); Barbarouses, Broxham (Mahazi 79'); Thompson, Milligan; Troisi, Finkler (Jeggo 94')
Unused substitues: Thomas, Pain
Sydney FC: Janjetovic; Jurman, Petkovic, Ognenovski, Ryall; Abbas, Antonis, Dimitrijevic; Garcia, Del Piero, Chianese (Despotovic 71')
Unused substitutes: Necevski, Thompson, Urosevski, Calver