So close! To win the Premiership, Adelaide needed to win this match by two goals. One goal would secure second spot, and a draw or a loss would put Adelaide in third spot after Melbourne and Queensland. As it turned out, the Reds won 1-0 from a Cristiano tap-in, but there were certainly enough chances to have wrapped up the title. Ago and Dodd could have both scored a couple. Here's what the final table looks like:
The match was also noteworthy because we saw the A-League debut of Youth League player Michael Marrone, filling in at right back for the injured Mullen. He had a great match, marauding forward with plenty of intent.
I thought I'd interview a couple of the country's leading football analysts - Kristina's dad Nino (ex- Sydney Croatia, Croatian Old Boys over 35's & Hallett Cove over 35's) and brother Marko (ex-Raiders junior and star signing for Adelaide Uni Blacks amateur league div. 5's) to get their thoughts on the game and Adelaide's season in general.
Spawning Salmon: So, what did you think of the game last night?
Nino: It was one of the better games that I saw this year. Both teams played well, attacking the whole game and defending quite well. That's what the game needs: good attacking football!
Marko: It was an exciting game, there were plenty of missed opportunities. I thought the squad that was announced was poor.
SS: What was poor about it?
M: Paul Agostino started! That guy is rubbish.
SS: So, how do you think they should have lined up?
M: Younis, Cristiano and Dodd up front in a 4-3-3. Put it all on the line, it's the last game of the season! I think Viddie played Ago because it was maybe his last match, out of sympathy. You need to play your best team every time.
N: I think the lineup was fine, defence was pretty steady. Midfield without Diego was passable, not too bad. Wasn't the best, Barbiero, Sarkies and Reid - I've seen them playing better, they had a lot of help from the defence. What surprised me was Marrone at right back - I've never seen him play before, he was attacking whenever he got the chance, taking on players, the same as Jamieson on the left - delivering crosses from both sides, it was good to see. Pantelis and Dodd had good games, as usual.
SS: What about Cristiano, do you think Viddie left it too late?
N: He should have been on from the start in my opinion, but he still got half an hour or so. Agostino should have been on the bench because he was out of match practice. The chances Ago had, Cristiano would have put at least one away!
M: Poor by Vidmar. Should have played more than one up front. Younis played well when he came on, took on players and set up Cristiano.
SS: What do you think about Adelaide's season? Are you happy with the result, coming second in the ACL and the league?
M: Happy with the ACL, but not with the league! We were hot and cold at the end of the season, should have won a few more of those games. Adelaide aren't managing the players to the best of their abilities, there are a lot of players out as well - Diego, Cassio.
N: We didn't need Cassio last night, they did well without him.
M: Adelaide did well this season in the ACL and the Club World Cup so I'm still proud. I hope Vidmar recruits well in the off season though. I'll get a season ticket next year though, for sure! It always sucks to lose to Melbourne though.
N: It's been good, considering. You couldn't ask for more, there was only one goal in it at the end of the league. They have to get the right players to build up for next year.
SS: Who would be the ideal player, if you were Vidmar, to sign for next year? As a marquee player?
N: Josip Skoko, to control the midfield. He's still only 32 or something, he's playing for Hajduk Split.
N: Kaka, bullshit. You have to be realistic you dickhead.
M: I would probably sign one of Gamba's midfielders... not Endo because we couldn't afford him, but the Japanese players would be great. Use our links to Asia to recruit..
N: I would like Cristiano to stay another year. He would be great with better players around him.
M: That means Vidmar would have to play 4-4-2, I don't think that's going to happen! All in all, with Gold Coast & North Queensland coming in things are going to keep improving. I want to see more of the youth team players in the first team - Malik, Marrone - give them a shot. I would like to see Matt Simon from Central Coast in a red shirt. He'd fit in well with the team I reckon.
N: Use the youth league players first, then buy whichever players you need. You need to give the young players a chance first.
SS: If Adelaide host the Grand Final, where should it be held?
M: Hindmarsh Stadium. It's a fortress!
N: It can't be Hindmarsh, not enough seats. Adelaide Oval.
M: Add a couple of extra stands, like they did at the Olympics.
N: There wasn't any extra seats? Where?
M: Temporary stands, there were like another 7,000 seats.
N: 7,000 seats my arse. You have to play at Adelaide Oval.
M: If Hindmarsh is good enough for the Champions League Final, it's good enough for the A-League.
Conversation descends into petty argument
SS: Thanks. Let's eat some watermelon.