A rampant Melbourne Victory accounted for a below-par Adelaide United in Saturday night's major semi-final second leg. The Victory ran riot against the hapless Reds and recorded a 4-0 win (6-0 on aggregate) to book a place in the 2008/09 A-League Grand Final.
Adelaide will have to take a good, hard look at themselves before this week's preliminary final against Queensland Roar and will require a much-improved performance if they are to set up a rematch with the high-flying Victory.
Melbourne player ratings:
Michael Theoklitos (7) - Wasn't required to do much early but when he was called on he did enough. Adelaide needed goals and 'Theo' ensured they got none.
Matthew Kemp (6) - Not exceptional but provided some drive from left-back. Did what he needed to.
Kevin Muscat (7) - Didn't let much past him as usual. A solid captain's game.
Rodrigo Vargas (8) - Superb central defensive effort with his new hairdo. Rarely beaten, a rock in front of Theoklitos.
Seb Ryall (7) - Solid performance from the soon-to-be Sydney player. Has come on in leaps and bounds of late and Melbourne will be unhappy to lose him. Caused problems with his runs down the right side.
Nick Ward (6) - Worked forward well but was caught out a couple of times going the other way. Should have scored aftr a pass from Thompson but is handy because he provides an 'X-factor'.
Tom Pondeljak (7) - Great performance. Very busy and cunning. Scored a brilliant volley goal in the second half.
Billy Celeski (6) - Provided dash and pace in and around the box. Proved a handy player.
Carlos Hernandez (10) - What a match! After returning to Melbourne on the morning of the contest from international duty with Costa Rica in San Jose, Hernandez set up three goals and scored one himself. Caused plenty of headaches for the Adelaide defence.
Archie Thompson (8) - Opened the scoring for the evening. Got himself into dangerous positions, worked hard, another typical Thompson performance.
Danny Allsopp (9) - Was extremely dangerous and should've scored a couple. Got on the end of a Hernandez through ball but provided plenty of his own worries for the defenders around him.
Grant Brebner (6) - Came on to join the party for Hernandez. Big shoes to fill but did enough. Should have scored with an open goal in front of him from an Allsopp cross.
Jose Luis Lopez (5) - Only had 15 minutes on the park. Didn't do anything wrong but didn't provide a lot.
Ney Fabiano (5) - 12 minutes wasn't enough to get on the scoresheet in the rout. Will be handy coming off the bench in the Grand Final.
Adelaide player ratings:
Eugene Galekovic (5) - Not much he could do as his defence let him down but you can't give a great score for a goalkeeper who sees four go past him.
Paul Reid (4) - Recovered well from a ball in the face in the first half but like his defensive teammates, not a great night.
Sasa Ognenovski (4) - Completely outclassed for the first time this season. Was solid at times but Allsopp and co. got the better of him. Frustrations showed.
Robert Cornthwaite (6) - Fairly quiet but was brave and bold as usual. Not much went right in his half of the ground.
Scott Jamieson (5) - Another of the Reds players who was down on his usual output. Always tries hard and will bounce back.
Daniel Mullen (5) - Used his pace to win the ball but couldn't deliver as well as he'd have hoped.
Lucas Pantelis (6) - Was solid in the centre of the park. Was substituted just after half-time as the Reds went searching for goals.
Cassio (3) - Horror match for the usually cool Brazilian. Nothing went right, didn't provide any drive and was sent off for a second poor challenge in the 81st minute. Body language and behaviour as leaving the pitch let him down further.
Alemao (5) - A so-so night for the Brazilian but he wasn't alone.
Travis Dodd (7) - Tried hard, unlike some of his teammates. If things were going his way, may have scored twice. Wears his heart on his sleeve and tried to lead from the front in difficult circumstances.
Cristiano (6) - Limited opportunities but almost got the Reds back into the match when scores were 2-0. Two agonizingly close headers were his best efforts for the night.
Rostyn Griffiths (4) - Came on for Pantelis in the 46th minute and didn't do a whole lot. A yellow card seven minutes after coming on summed up his night.
Fabian Barbiero (5) - Was neither here nor there. Didn't do anything outstanding but didn't make any regrettable mistakes