SYDNEY, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Melbourne won their second A-League title in three years with a 1-0 win over Adelaide in Saturday’s Australian grand final.
Midfielder Tom Pondeljak scored the only goal with a long-range strike on the hour that decided a spiteful contest which ended with both teams reduced to 10 men.
Adelaide’s Brazilian striker Cristiano was sent off after 10 minutes for a clumsy elbow to the head of an opposing defender.
Melbourne striker Danny Allsopp was shown the red card 20 minutes before fulltime after a late fracas but his team held on to secure the title.
“It was a great performance. Adelaide were great, they pushed us right to the death but I think we deserved it,” Melbourne captain Kevin Muscat said.
Adelaide were humiliated 6-0 by Melbourne in the grand final two years ago but captain Travis Dodd praised his team for their performance this time.
“Down to 10 men it was a very difficult game for us but the amount of courage and heart the boys showed tonight to get through the game and keep fighting to the end was fantastic. I couldn’t ask any more,” he said.
Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Clare Fallon