Adelaide United have locked up a spot in the A-League Men finals after defeating Brisbane Roar 2-0 at Hindmarsh Stadium.
Delivered via goals from George Blackwood and Hiroshi Ibusuki, the three points moved the Reds onto 40 for the campaign; a margin that cannot be overhauled by any team outside the top six.
Carl Veart’s side cannot improve their table position in their final regular-season fixture against Western United next Sunday, but they can lock up fourth place and a home elimination final with another win.
Blackwood opened the scoring in the 15th minute on Saturday evening when he met a Craig Goodwin free kick with a glancing header that nestled inside the far post.
Eight minutes later, in an almost mirror image of their goal, the hosts almost made it two when Ibusuki met another Goodwin free kick from the right, with his effort flashing wide.
But in the 28th the Japanese attacker made no mistake after he grabbed Scott Neville’s attempt to clear another Goodwin cross, rode a bump from Rahmat Akbari and buried a shot.
The floodgates appeared ready to open at that point, with Blackwood, on-loan winger Lachlan Brooke and Ibusuki all fashioning chances that on another day could have rippled the net.
Brisbane’s first notable chance arrived in the 59th minute when Henry Hore found space and let loose with a wicked shot that forced a sharp save from Joe Gauci, with Cyrus Dehmie unable to turn in the rebound.
But while the Roar were allowed to continue to ask questions of their foe’s defence as the game progressed, they were unable to find a goal that would have made things interesting.
Still second-bottom, Roar can do Adelaide’s home final quest a favour by defeating Central Coast on Tuesday. They then end their season against Sydney FC the following week.