Australian Soccer

1993-94 Season Playoff Results

Major Semi-Final
1st Leg (10/4/1994)

South Melbourne 1 - Melbourne Knights 2
(Paul Trimboli 82)  (Adrian Cervinski 20, 68)

2nd Leg (17/4/1994)

Melbourne Knights 2 - South Melbourne 2
(Mark Viduka 4)       (Paul Wade 41)
(Fausto De Amicis 86) (Francis Awaritefe 80)

Melbourne Knights advance to Grand Final 4-3 on aggregate
South Melbourne forced to play Preliminary Final

South Melbourne had hoped to force the second leg into extra time but
a late goal by Fausto De Amicis (a curling 25 metre shot) ensured the
Knights Final berth. Souths had been a little below par in the first
leg but did well to contain the potent Knights attack for a large
part of the game. Young Socceroo captain Kevin Muscat lapsed to give
Cervinski a chance and Cervinski carved one out for himself to give
his side a 2-0 lead before Trimboli gave Souths a chance with a goal
to settle at 1-2.
'V Bomber' Mark Viduka (who will be the Golden Boot winner in the 1998
World Cup) got off to a brilliant start with an early goal and the sides
exchanged goals until the Knights were true to their publicly stated
cause of getting to the Grand Final first. New coach Mirko Basic looks
to be getting the Knights' first ever championship, however his opposite
at Souths, Jim Pyrgolios might get a second chance.

Elimination Semi-Final (1)
1st Leg (10/4/1994)

Adelaide City 0 - Sydney United 1
                  (Ante Moric 56)

2nd Leg (17/4/1994)

Sydney United 0 - Adelaide City 2
                  (Brad Hassell 55)                 
                  (Damian Mori 72)

Adelaide City advance to meet Marconi in the Minor Semi-Final 2-1 on aggregate
Sydney United are eliminated from the finals series.

The first leg gave the young (average age of 23) Sydney 'Crows' side their
4th win over Adelaide City this season. However the law of averages caught
up with them 5th time around. The 12-4 overall corner count in favour
of Adelaide in the second leg showed their intent after the Sydneysiders
held them scoreless in the first game. The 8 past and present Socceroos
in the Adelaide line-up proved too much for the young Sydney side to handle.
If not for the towering Zeljko Kalac in the Sydney goal the score might
have been higher. Kalac, along with 1st leg scorer and Young Socceroo Ante
Milicic and Tony Popovic, will head off for a career in Europe and
are now free to do so. Sydney coach Manfred Schaefer praised his young
side for exceeding expectations and said that elimination by Adelaide was
no dishonour. Zoran Matic, coach of Adelaide City, said his side had merely
managed to survive for a little longer and nothing had yet been achieved.

Elimination Semi-Final (2)
1st Leg (10/4/1994)

Sydney Olympic 2 - Marconi-Fairfield 1
(Ivan Kelic 26)    (Jean-Paul deMarigny 37)
(Matthew Bingley og 79)

2nd Leg (17/4/1994)

Marconi-Fairfield 3 - Sydney Olympic 1
(Steve Corica 11)     (Kris Trajanovski 80)
(Kimon Taliadoros 30)
(Jean-Paul deMarigny 60)

Marconi advance to meet Adelaide City in the Minor Semi-Final 4-3 on aggregate
Sydney Olympic are eliminate from the finals series

Defending champions Marconi-Fairfield finally managed to put together a good
performance and put out the hopes of Sydney Olympic, who had been more than
a little lucky to have made the playoffs at all. Marconi's Steve Corica was
denied an overhead kick at goal by the cross bar and could have been
considered unlucky not to draw the first game 2-2. However what goes around
comes around and Olympic were denied a winning (in the sense of winning on
away goals) attempt by Norman Tome in the dying minutes by a brilliant
save from Mark Schwarzer. Schwarzer, who is another of the Australian keepers
looking to make a career overseas, was considered at fault in conceding
a goal to Ivan Kelic in the first leg but atoned for any perceived fault
in this game. Corica damaged a shoulder in this game and his fitness for
the midweek showdown against Adelaide is in doubt.
Trajanovski's goal for Olympic gave them a glimmer of hope and for the last
10 minutes of the match it was all hands on deck for the Marconi defence
as Olympic went on an all out assault on the Marconi goal, but to no avail.
Marconi coach Frank Arok and Olympic's Tom Sermanni didn't say much. In
Frank's case that's more or less his way and Tom will be awaiting a board
decision on whether to retain him for next season or to seek a more
permanent replacement after his predecessor, Berti Marian, was sacked after
dismal performances against Brunswick and ... Marconi.

Minor Semi-Final  (20/4/1994)

The current champion (Marconi 92-93) meets the previous champion team
(Adelaide 91-92) in order to determine who will meet the champion of
the season before that (South Melbourne 90-91). After all that the winner
will face the new kid on the block (Melbourne Knights) to determine
the champion for the 93-94 season.

Marconi-Fairfield 1 - Adelaide City 3
(Andrew Harper 72)    (Joe Mullen 25)
                      (Damien Mori 27)
                      (Brad Hassell 67)

Adelaide City progress to meet South Melbourne in the preliminary final.
Marconi-Fairfield are eliminated.

After Marconi displayed a lot of resolve in eliminating Sydney Olympic
fans might have expected more than the fairly inept performance which
resulted in a scoreline that actually flattered Marconi. After Mullen
and Mori scored from a cut-back and a cross respectively Adelaide City
felt secure enough to handle Marconi and attack on the break, which
resulted in Brad Hassell scoring just before Harper got a consolation
goal for Marconi. Marconi coach Frank Arok will no doubt be under pressure
to resign after his change of formation for this game backfired (Marconi
is the kind of club where success is expected rather than aimed for), 
though in truth his hand was forced after skilful playmaker Steve Corica
was ruled out due to injury. Things got worse when Nick Meredith needed
replacement after an attempt to have him play with the assistance of
painkillers seemed to be failing. None of this could excuse the performance
of the players on the field.
Adelaide City, for their part, played very well and seem to be peaking
at just the right moment. The Socceroo defence, which they possess almost
in its entirety, did it's job while up front Damien Mori and Carl Veart
had every chance to score another 3 goals, but their lack of finishing
wasn't quite so costly as it might be against their next opponents.

Preliminary Final  (24/4/1994)

South Melbourne 0 - Adelaide City 2
                    (Tony Vidmar 65)
                    (Brad Hassell 86)

Adelaide City progress to meet the Melbourne Knights in the Grand Final.
South Melbourne are eliminated.

Well Adelaide just keep rolling on and put an end to South Melbournes hopes
of a rematch with the Knights, causing SM and Socceroo captain Paul Wade
to proclaim that a cleanout is needed to make South Melbourne competitive
again. Zoran Matic and his Adelaide City side return to Melbourne on May 1
to do battle with the Melbourne Knights, who topped the NSL ladder at the
end of the regular season, for Australian League supremacy.
Mirko Basic, the Knights coach, says he has pinpointed a weakness in the
impressive Adelaide side, of course he's not saying what it is ;-). Also,
on a somewhat unrelated note, Socceroo coach Eddie Thomson has indicated
he won't be using ace Knights striker 18-year-old Mark Viduka in the two
games against South Africa in June. He says that it would be better for the
youngster to concentrate on his Youth and Olympic representative performances
without being dropped into the International fray as well.

Grand Final  (1/5/1994)

Melbourne Knights 0 - Adelaide City 1
                      (Damien Mori 68)

Knights : Miller, D. Cervinski, De Amicis, Vanis, Horvat, Marth, Trajeceski,
          Biskic, A. Cervinski, Viduka, Buljubasic
Coach   : Mirko Bazic

City    : Zabica, Melta, Vidmar, Ivanovic, Tobin, Talladira, Mori, Veart,
          Mullen, Lozanovski, Hassell
Coach   : Zoran Matic

Referee : Richard Lorenc

The Knights spent the early part of the game looking the goods, Adrian
Cervinski contrived to hit the crossbar on a free header and that began to
the slide. Goalscorer Mori managed to injure Buljubasic in the first 15
minutes and was replaced by Mark Silic, Damien Mori got a yellow card for
his late tackle.

The Knights luck also failed to give them a penalty for a handball from
the Adelaide defence while trying to clear a cross. Adelaide themselves
were not chanceless but a combination of Horvats defence and misdirected
final passes ensured they too would remain scoreless a while longer.

The Knights scoring machine, Mark Viduka, was well marked by Milan Ivanovich
and Alex Tobin and on the occasions he was able to contrive something the
rest of Adelaide ensured nothing drastic came of it. Although it wasn't
a bad match there also wasn't much that stood out either, except for the goal.
Talladira just passed to Mori on the touchline in his own half, just
playing it out of defence. Mori then goes running down the pitch, drifts into
the centre and just takes a swing from almost 10 metres outside the box.
The ball swerved and dipped and went into the net despite the best efforts
of a flying goalkeeper in Miller. A 'golazo' as Ariel might say, although
he might not believe someone from Australia could pull one off :-).

The Knights responded by making their second substitution and bringing on
the creative Oliver Pondeljak for Vlado Vanis. Their efforts were
increased but Adelaide held firm as most commentators thought they would
if they gained the lead.

It's sad that the Knights, who played so well all year, should lose now but
Adelaide were certainly the better side in the latter stages of the
competition and I must admit some sense of pleasure in seeing Melbourne
teams lose.

Damien 'Frogger' Mori later said of the goal " ...when you are that far out
you just hit it. I guess I got lucky, because from that distance no-one
really means to put it in". Ironic too that Mori should have been a member
of the previous two grand final failures (first for the Knights and last
year for Adelaide when defeated by Marconi-Fairfield) and now return
in Adelaide's colours to inflict a third Grand Final loss on the
Melbourne Knights. Knights coach Mirko Bazic, who
now boasts coach of the year awards from Canada, Australia and (I think)
Croatia now returns to his homeland. Whether or not he will be asked
to coach next season is anyones guess.

Adelaide City are Australian champions for the 1993-94 season.