Melbourne Victory secured a place in the FFA Cup Final with a come-from-behind 4-1 win over the Wellington Phoenix on Saturday.
Victory moved into a second FFA Cup decider after a brace from Nick D’Agostino and strikes from Josh Brillante and Ben Folami at GMHBA Stadium.
Brillante cancelled out Gary Hooper’s opener in Geelong as Victory booked a meeting with the Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park next week.
Victory dominated possession in the opening minutes, with the in-form Folami looking dangerous down the left.
While Victory had all the play, Wellington went close from a set-piece in the 20th minute as Alex Rufer headed a Reno Piscopo corner over the crossbar.
Folami was unsurprisingly at the centre of the next chance created by Victory, the attacker’s cross put over the bar by Francesco Margiotta midway through the first half.
A set-piece almost led to an opener for Victory eight minutes prior to half-time, but Roderick Miranda guided a header from Jake Brimmer’s corner into the side-netting.
Instead, Wellington went ahead through Hooper, who beat Ivan Kelava in a one-on-one after a pass from Piscopo.
Jason Davidson volleyed a tough chance wide before the break as Victory went into half-time behind.
Brimmer curled a 25-yard free-kick off target early in the second half after being brought down, as Victory pushed for an equaliser.
Wellington almost doubled its lead on the hour-mark, Kelava making a good save to deny David Ball before Jaushua Sotirio’s follow-up strike was ruled out for offside.
Folami continued to look lively and he forced a strong stop from Phoenix goalkeeper Alex Paulsen after a driving run in the 64th minute.
Victory did draw level through Brillante just moments later.
Margiotta saw an effort blocked and the midfielder took a touch before drilling a wonderful effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Victory took the lead with 10 minutes remaining through D’Agostino.
Robbie Kruse did superbly to get past two defenders down the left before cutting back for D’Agostino to make it 2-1.
Folami sealed the win in the 85th minute, picking out the bottom corner from just inside the area after running at the Phoenix defence, before Chris Ikonomidis set up D’Agostino late on.
Player in focus
D’Agostino had a huge impact off the bench. The forward was introduced with just over 20 minutes remaining and netted a brace.
Victory moved into the FFA Cup Final, hosting the Mariners next week and looking to win the trophy for a second time.
FFA Cup 2021/22 Semi Final
Melbourne Victory 4 (Josh Brillante 65′, Nick D’Agostino 80’/90+1′, Ben Folami 85′)
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Gary Hooper 39′)
Melbourne Victory: Kelava (gk); Nigro, Spiranovic, Roderick (Kirdar 70′), Davidson; Broxham, Brillante (c); Rojas (Ikonomidis 66′), Brimmer (Kruse 66′), Folami (Velupillay 90′); Margiotta (D’Agostino 66′).
Wellington Phoenix: Paulsen (gk); Fenton, Surman (Bozinovski 69′), Laws, Sutton; Sandoval (Sotirio 54′), Rufer (c), Pennington (Waine 86′), Piscopo; Hooper, Ball.
Yellow cards: Spiranovic 87′
Red cards: Nil
Venue: GMHBA Stadium
Victory will host the FFA Cup Final against the Mariners at AAMI Park on Saturday, February 5.