West Adelaide recovered from an early deficit to advance to the PlayStation 4 NPL South Australia Grand Final in a pulsating 5-2 triumph against West Torrens Birkalla.
West Adelaide will take on Adelaide Blue Eagles in the season decider at Adelaide Shores on Saturday afternoon.
Ryan Kitto opened the scoring in the 19th minute, but West Adelaide was level at the interval as Nathan Andijanto equalised.
The second half belonged to John Karatzas, who netted a decisive hat-trick to help the Blue and Whites advance, although Kitto’s second briefly offered Birkalla hope. Tom Briscoe came off the bench to round out the scoring.
West Adelaide coach Paul Pezos noted second half changes aided his team.
“It was quite good, the result is obviously pleasing. How we played was satisfying and importantly we put our chances away,” he said.
“The focus in this game was to finish our opportunities and we did that. We had few shots, but a lot went in.
“Birkalla did well in the first half, but I thought towards half time we started to dominate possession more. It was a bonus to score just before the break. We pressed a lot harder in the second half, utilised the ball better and waited for the right moments.
“Next week is another game against another opponent, but it’s a good confidence booster.”
Coach Steve Degiovanniello felt West Adelaide’s equaliser was the decisive moment.
“We had a fantastic first half. We started strong and got the goal. However, the goal was conceded just before half time was the game changer,” the coach said.
“It was a big momentum shifter. We would have preferred to go in leading and full of confidence. That was a deflating incident.
“We didn’t lose just because of it, however. West Adelaide was clinical in the second half. We had a few chances to equalise, but that’s football. It didn’t go our way. The scoreline was not a fair reflection of the game.
“It’s difficult to look back at the season now as what happened in this game is still fresh in my mind. I can better reflect on what we did in a week or two.”
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