Thompson fires Victory into decider
Melbourne Victory will contest their third A-League Grand Final in four years, after Archie Thompson's extra-time goal secured a 2-2 draw away to Sydney FC in second leg of their major semi-final.
Trailing 2-1 from the first leg in Melbourne, the hosts almost squared the tie inside the first two minutes, but Alex Brosque's header was cleared off the line by Tom Pondeljak. And Melbourne extended their advantage after 15 minutes, when Sydney's Sebastian Ryall lost possession and Robbie Kruse received the ball outside the box, before unleashing a fine effort past goalkeeper Clint Bolton and into the corner of the net.
Sydney levelled the encounter in the 36th minute, when Adrian Leijer shoved Brosque over in the box and Karol Kisel converted from the spot. The Sky Blues then took the lead in the 53rd minute, when Byun Sung-Hwan's cross was knocked back to Mark Bridge by Kisel, and the striker escaped the attentions of Grant Brebner before finding the back of the net with a left-foot shot.
With the scores level on aggregate, the game went into extra time and Thompson sent Melbourne through when he latched on to Kevin Muscat's quick free-kick in the 113th minute, and duly fired a first-time effort past Bolton.
Phoenix keep the Kiwi flag flying
Sydney will now host Wellington Phoenix for the right to face Melbourne, after the New Zealand club overcame Newcastle Jets 3-1 in extra time at Westpac Stadium.
Wellington defender Ben Sigmund saw an effort cleared off the line by Ali Abbas early on, before Newcastle took the lead in the 20th minute when Matt Thompson rifled home Jobe Wheelhouse's cross. The hosts equalised just after the half-hour mark, when Paul Ifill's shot came back to Chris Greenacre and he squared for Tim Brown, who made no mistake.
That was the way the scoreline remained until the end of 90 minutes but Ifill broke the impasse at the end of the first period of extra time, when he beat keeper Ben Kennedy with a vicious right-foot shot. Eugene Dadi then made sure of the result with a tap-in five minutes from the end.