Sydney United 58 FC shook off the disappointment of last week’s loss in the National Premier League NSW men’s one grand final to win a nine-goal thriller against South Australian Premiers Adelaide City in the opening round of the National Premier Leagues Finals Series.
Panny Nikas scored a hat-trick to help the NSW Premiers defeat Adelaide 5-4 in a battle of the former NSL giants in rainy conditions at Sydney United Sports Centre on Sunday.
In a see-sawing affair, the Reds scored the opening two goals courtesy of Yutaro Shin and Nikas before the visitors reduced the deficit to 2-1 just before half-time.
The second half rained goals – none better than Nikas’ superb bicycle kick in the 57th minute. He added another one 20 minutes later with a superb free-kick that hit the top left corner.
But the visitors wouldn’t go away. Goals to Joel Allwright (two) and City skipper Matthew Halliday kept Adelaide in striking distance before Anthony Costa leveled the scores for the second time at 4-4.
But there was one final twist in the tale with NPL NSW golden boot winner Chris Payne stepping up to send the Reds into the final four when he converted from the spot after a hand ball in the 91st minute.
Sydney United 58 FC will host their semi final against the Brisbane Strikers courtesy of the points system.