Sport Craig Goodwin’s golden boot wins Adelaide United the FFA Cup

Craig Goodwin’s golden boot wins Adelaide United the FFA Cup

Adelaide United
Adelaide United celebrate their FFA Cup victory. Photo AAP
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Adelaide United’s Craig Goodwin has produced a brace of brilliant goals to deliver his team the FFA Cup at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide on Tuesday night.

United’s 2-1 victory over Sydney FC made them the first team to win the FFA Cup twice and helped erase Marco Kurtz’s team’s disappointment of losing last year’s cup decider to the sky blues.

Goodwin’s goals on either side of the break were the headline act in a cup classic.

Cup finals should be played like there is no tomorrow and both teams lived up to that creed in last night’s decider. It was a high-tempo contest that had more than a hint of backstreet attitude to it – a thunderous crowd, tough tackling and tantalising tricks.

This was a box-to-box contest with genuine box office appeal.

Adelaide United started brightly and Ben Halloran’s early cross from the right-hand side almost wrong footed Sydney FC’s keeper Andrew Redmayne who was relieved to see the ball cleared from the six-yard box.

Reds winger Craig Goodwin was also finding space in which to move on the left to test the Sydney defence which found itself having to repel a number of early United raids.

On 24 minutes the Reds got their reward.

When Sydney right back Rhyan Grant fouled Goodwin 25 yards out from goal in a central position, Goodwin – a local product in his 2nd stint with the club – stepped up to fire a magnificently weighted free-kick into the top left corner to send the home crowd of 14,448 into peels of ecstasy.

It was short-lived though.

Delight turned to disaster moments later for United and Sydney were instantly back on terms.

After the re-start, Adelaide defender Jordan Elsey lost his compass, map and the ball on the edge of his own penalty area, and Alex Brosque, the ultimate goal poacher, robbed him of possession before being brought down by a lunging Adelaide keeper in Paul Izzo, resulting in a clear penalty.

Englishman and former Fulham forward Adam Le Fondre stepped up to convert from the spot to equalise for Steve Corica’s team, continuing his dream start in Australian football having scored in every game he has played for the sky blues.

After the break, Sydney FC’s Serbian midfield star almost put his team ahead on the hour mark with a close-range effort that a diving Paul Izzo palmed away at his near post.

Almost immediately the reds went close when substitute Ken IIso, found himself free at the back post after a corner but couldn’t find the finish he was looking for.

Adelaide has struggled to cope with Sydney FC, having not beaten the harbourside outfit in their last eight games.

The drought broke when Goodwin was teed up on the edge of the Sydney area in the 74th minute. He was happy to accept the invitation to fire on goal and produced another rocket which he blasted past the outstretched arms of Andrew Redmayne.

Cue utter pandemonium at Hindmarsh Stadium as the home team edged ahead.
Despite a late surge, Sydney FC couldn’t find an equaliser as the trend of the home team winning the FFA Cup continued.

Goodwin’s goal-scoring masterclass earned him the Mark Viduka Medal as the man of the match.

Craig Goodwin put on an FFA Cup masterclass. photo AAP

“It’s as good as anything I’ve done in my career. When I came back here after a difficult time in Europe this is exactly how I wanted to start things off,” Goodwin said after the game.

Reds coach Marco Kurtz said: “I’m very proud for the boys and the whole city. Now we will improve for the next step”.

There were 781 teams at the starters gate for the FFA Cup, a competition that continues the great tradition in the game around the globe of allowing the minnows to dream about a footballing triumph over the game’s big boys.

While it’s only been A-League heavyweights who have graced the big occasion thus far, cup finals of this calibre and spirit will have footballers all over the country hungry for their shot at glory.

They may see this final as the night the FFA Cup truly came of age.

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