21 Feb 2011

Gold Coast sneak past Victory to advance in A-league finals

6:34 am on 21 February 2011

What was supposed to be a grudge match became a war of attrition as Gold Coast United outlasted the Melbourne Victory 1-nil in their A-League elimination football final at a scorching Skilled Park on Sunday.

The Victory's Ernie Merrick couldn't help but have a cheeky dig at rival coach Miron Bleiberg after the dramatic finale.

But Merrick admitted the scalding conditions which touched 38 degrees and forced players to take drink breaks midway through each half played a part in his once mighty team's demise.

With the heat taking its toll, two-time champions Victory were knocked out of the title race after Djulbic's sucker punch header off a Peter Perchtold corner in the first minute of stoppage time found the back of the net.

Only 3,281 witnessed a bit of United history, with some Victory fans believed to be stranded in Melbourne due to delays caused by a second Virgin Blue computer glitch in a week.

Gold Coast will now take on Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday, for a place in the preliminary final.