Heidelberg United bolstered their claim as one of the National Premier Leagues' finest after defeating Avondale 2-1 in the NPL Victoria Grand Final at AAMI Park last night.
The Bergers warmed up for Wednesday’s massive FFA Cup 2018 Quarter Final against Bentleigh Greens – by taking the Championship crown from their fierce Melbourne rivals.
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Two first half strikes from former Hyundai A-League attacker Adrian Zahra and a wonder-goal from Andrew Cartanos on the cusp of half time established an unassailable two goal buffer for George Katsakis’ men.
Cartanos’ hit – a swerving effort from distance in the 41st minute – proved to be the difference maker, despite Jonatan Germano's late tap-in restoring a glimmer of hope for Avondale.
It was the third match in little over a week for the Avengers, who have gone 120 minutes back to back against Bentleigh and Sydney FC in the last nine days.
Those physical exertions may have taken their toll, with the Anthony Barbieri-coached side unable to repeat another of their recent miracle comebacks.
Heidelberg on the other hand face a two-day turnaround before taking on Bentleigh in the FFA Cup Quarter Finals.
2018 NPL Victoria Grand Final
Heidelberg United 2 (Adrian Zahra 5', Andrew Cartanos 41') defeated Avondale FC 1 (Jonatan Germano 78') at AAMI Park
Heidelberg United: 1. Chris Theodoridis-Petropoulos, 2. Josh Wilkins, 7. Reuben Way, 8. Andrew Cartanos (25. Atilla Ofli 71'), 9. Adrian Zahra, 10. Jack Petrie, 13. Luke Byles, 15. Paul O'Brien, 16. Tom Cahill, 17. Steven Pace (3. Les Doumbalis 34'), 19. Sean Ellis
Unused substitutes: 23. Christian Pavlidis, 12. Harvey Read, 18. Jacob Talevski
Coach: George Katsakis
Avondale FC: 1. Chris Oldfield, 2. Ramazan Tavsancioglu, 5. Jeff Fleming (7. Stefan Zinni 46'), 6. Anthony Strano (17. Phil Riccobene 65'), 9. Liam Boland, 11. Evan Christodoulou, 13. Yitay Towns, 14. Kaine Sheppard (10. Jonatan Germano 46'), 15. Ross Archibald, 27. Elvis Kamsoba, 33. Joseph Katebian
Unused substitutes: 44. Evan Markogiannakis, 3. James Riccobene
Coach: Zoran Markovski
Referees: Adam Bavcar (central), Ben Schepers (AR1), Luke Camilleri (AR2), Jack Morgan (4th)
Jimmy Rooney Medal: Tom Cahill (Heidelberg United)