Bergers put on the grill

September 15, 2017

Tatura export Vince Lia in action for Adelaide against Heidelberg on Wednesday night.

Sean Ellis (left) is stopped in his tracks by Vince Lia.

Former Goulburn Valley Suns' winger Sean Ellis, pictured in action for Heidelberg on Wednesday, has aspirations of playing A-League.

And then there was one.

It was a battle between two Goulburn Valley exports on Wednesday night when Vince Lia and Sean Ellis went head-to-head at Olympic Village.

Adelaide made the trek to suburban Melbourne to face Heidelberg in the Football Federation Australia Cup and the Reds who progressed to the semi-final 3-0, ending the Bergers’ fairytale run.

United winger Nikola Mileusnic netted twice inside the opening 11 minutes, barely giving time to the 3967 people in attendance to down their first of many souvlakis.

Mileusnic, 24, eventually netted a hat-trick for the 2014 champions.

Mileusnic’s first goal came from simple tap-in from close range after Ryan Kitto’s low cutback from the left side of the box.

George Blackwood set up the second goal with an aggressive run on the left flank, before laying off for Mileusnic to volley home on the turn.

Heidelberg responded in the second half, but Lia’s side put the result beyond doubt just past the hour mark when marquee signing Karim Matmour headed a deep cross for Mileusnic to convert.

Lia occupied a holding midfield role alongside Spaniard Isaías in the midfield and after just five minutes the Tatura export caught ire of the referee.

Lia was involved in a heated exchange with Heidelberg’s Jack Petrie, while Ellis attempted to separate the two.

Lia, 32, who joined the Reds from Wellington this season, was thrilled to progress to the final four, a place he has never been before.

‘‘I am extremely happy with the result, the boys played quite well, we nullified their threats going forward and we were able to control most of the game,’’ Lia said.

‘‘It is important to get the win, the FFA Cup is a big tournament and one of our goals is to win it and now we are one step closer.’’

Heidelberg, who competes in the National Premier League, had already beaten Perth during its cup run.

‘‘It is a little difficult coming up against a side that you don’t know as well,’’ Lia said.

‘‘We had to do our research and we watched them play the (NPL) grand final and their style of play is a little bit different, but we knew we would be able to outplay them.’’

With the A-League season only a month away, Lia was excited about the opportunity of playing his first game at home, but was thankful for the support from the Goulburn Valley on Wednesday.

At least 10 people, including Lia’s father Mimmo, made the trip from Tatura to see the former Melbourne Victory midfielder play in the flesh.

‘‘Football has taken to a few different places, so I don’t always play in front of the family, but it is good to get them to travel to Melbourne when I do play there,’’ Lia said.

‘‘It is always good to play in front of family and friends and then to catch up with Dad after it.’’

Adelaide will have to wait until next week to find out its semi-final opponents.

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