Fit and firing Reds lift Kurz for finals

Adelaide United head for the A-League finals buoyed by the return of key players.
Adelaide United head for the A-League finals buoyed by the return of key players.

Senegalese striker Baba Diawara is just the latest Adelaide player to be coming back to fitness in time for the A-League finals.

Diawara came off the bench against Brisbane on Thursday to score the Reds' fourth in a 5-3 win which ensured them a home elimination final next weekend.

It was the 31-year-old's first goal since April 15, 2018 and just his second appearance in an injury-marred campaign.

Others such as Ben Halloran, Nikola Mileusnic and Michael Jakobsen have also shaken off the injury troubles they've battled this season.

It's a situation coach Marco Kurz couldn't be happier with heading into the finals.

"It's good to have the boys back because then we have a big challenge in the training, that means we have higher quality and I can make good but hard decisions for the finals," Kurz said.

"It's good to know they're back."

Thursday's win all but secures the finals picture with Melbourne Victory hosting the first elimination final at AAMI Park on May 3.

Adelaide's final will be played at Coopers Stadium on May 5.

The Reds are most likely to meet Wellington, who sit three points clear in fifth while Victory are headed for a derby with cross-town rivals Melbourne City.

With the Phoenix having a six-goal advantage on goal difference against City, only a thumping win by Warren Joyce's men on Friday against Central Coast would give them hope of moving into fifth.

While home final hopes have been extinguished, Mark Rudan's team will finish fifth if they avoid defeat against premiers Perth on Sunday night.

The lowest-ranked winner from next week's elimination finals will then travel west to play the Glory at HBF Stadium on May 10.

Second-placed Sydney FC hosts the other semi-final on May 12 at Jubilee Oval.

Australian Associated Press