A spot in the Grand Final is on the line as West Adelaide hosts West Torrens Birkalla in the PlayStation 4 NPL South Australia Preliminary Final at Adelaide Shores Football Centre this Saturday.
West Adelaide was in the box seat to directly qualify for the decider after a 1-1 away draw in the first leg against Adelaide Blue Eagles, but conceded four times in an incredible second half of the return.
Rob Lippett felt the Blue and Whites panicked after going behind.
“It was disappointing on our behalf. We spoke about it earlier this week and felt we chased it too much and panicked after they scored the second,” he said.
“The first two goals were avoidable and after that we took risks and got caught on the counter.
“We regrouped at training and have put it behind us. The focus is on this week.”
West Adelaide defeated Birkalla in Round 2, before a draw in the second fixture. Paul Pezos’ side has not triumphed in its last three matches as it aims to go one better than last season’s exit at the same stage.
Birkalla defeated Campbelltown City on penalties in the first week of finals action, before a single-goal win over Adelaide City last Saturday to qualify for the Preliminary Final.
Winger Ryan Kitto said the team’s confidence is building.
“It was a very good team performance. Everybody did their job well and we are hoping for the same when we face West Adelaide,” he stated.
“The confidence within the squad is building after these last few wins. We know that if we play to our potential that we can do well.”
Birkalla last qualified for the finals in 2011 and was not expected to be in the reckoning this term, but is 90 minutes from the Grand Final. While West Adelaide is struggling for recent wins, Birkalla has triumphed in each of its past three encounters.
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