Shane Smeltz’s double spurred Gold Coast United on to a dramatic 3-2 elimination final win over Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium.
Sunday’s win ensures the Gold Coast have now set up a meeting with Central Coast Mariners for a chance to play Brisbane Roar in the A-League grand final.
The visitors took the lead at in the first half before coming from behind in the second after the Reds had gone in front with goals from Sergio van Dijk and Matthew Leckie.
Smeltz almost opened the scoring midway through the first half when Reds defender Dario Bodrusic failed to clear a long ball out of defence.
The Croatian was unable to get his foot to the clearance and Smeltz ran onto the pass before strolling past Bodrusic and firing low from inside the box in search of the bottom corner.
While Reds goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic was equal to the task then, he could do little about the New Zealand international’s next effort.
On 38 minutes, the Gold Coast striker received the ball with his back to goal, turned, took a touch and lost his defender before blasting a 30m shot past the out-stretched Galekovic.
Slory was replaced five minutes before the break after picking up an injury in a challenge and Matthew Leckie came on and made an immediate impact with his explosive pace.
The Young Socceroo – destined for Germany having signed a deal at Borussia Moenchengladbach – helped set up van Dijk in the dying stages of the half but his shot flashed past the post.
GCU could have doubled their advantage just after half time when Dino Djulbic got his head to the ball from a set piece, but the defender’s header bounced off the post and Galekovic was forced to slap the ball away from danger.
The Reds grabbed an equaliser from the penalty spot in the 54th minute when van Dijk was fouled in the box by Bas van den Brink after a Cassio corner.
Van Dijk stepped up and converted the spot kick, with Adelaide taking the lead 10 minutes later when Leckie pounced on the rebound after Moss had saved Cassio’s shot.
A minute later, the visitors scored a dramatic equaliser when former Adelaide striker Bruce Djite headed into an empty net.
Smeltz got on the end of the cross and his close-range header was saved by Galekovic but only into the path of Djite, who did not miss with the goal at his mercy.
And with 10 minutes remaining, GCU stole a dramatic third goal when substitute Joel Porter was brought down in the area by Nigel Boogaard.
Smeltz had to take his spot kick twice after an infringement on the edge of the area, but it mattered little as he secured the victory for Gold Coast.