Melbourne Victory 1 – 0 Adelaide United Highlights

February 28, 2009 | Filed Under: World Box Update 
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Tom Pondeljak’s stunning 60th-minute strike proved the difference between the two sides, but this grand final was far from the walk in the park that most fans were expecting it to be.

Adelaide United, who defended desperately for much of the game after its striker Cristiano was sent off in the 10th minute for elbowing Melbourne defender Roddy Vargas

It was also nothing like the humiliation two years ago, when Victory struck six past a 10-man Adelaide as the visitors disintegrated in the face of an Archie Thompson onslaught. Melbourne also finished last night’s match a man short after its forward, Danny Allsopp, was ordered off for headbutting Robert Cornthwaite in the 65th minute.

“I always felt confident with this team, that they could cope with just about anything, and they did,” Merrick said. “You’re never going to win by a large margin, especially in a final, every time you play.”

Adelaide coach Aurelio Vidmar, whose stunning outburst a fortnight ago helped turn round a season that looked to be crumbling just at its climactic point, could only rue the decision to send off Cristiano so early and praised his players for their fantastic commitment and the “unbelievable belief” they showed in themselves as they faced such daunting odds.

They might not have gained the revenge they wanted after being humbled at the Telstra Dome a fortnight ago, but they had regained their pride and that of the club, the city and the state, he said.

“I am really gutted for the players. We deserved something more than pride. I certainly thought we had the upper hand, but when you go down to 10 men it changes your game plan and it made it very difficult for the players tonight, but I couldn’t be any prouder of the players

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