Aussies enjoy play-off success
Four Australian players enjoyed play-off success on the weekend, as the tension mounts for places in the English Premier League and Europe’s main Cup competitions – the Champions League and the UEFA Cup.
Four Australian players enjoyed play-off success on the weekend, as the tension mounts for places in the English Premier League and Europe-s main Cup competitions - the Champions League and the UEFA Cup.
Richard Garcia made a welcome return from a shoulder injury to help Hull City gain the upper hand in their semi final play-off against Watford, for a place in next season-s English Premier League.
Garcia played 73 minutes of the play-off, which Hull won 2-0 at Vicarage Road and will be confident of making the final when they play the return leg at KC Stadium in Hull on Wednesday.
A blistering start by Hull set up the away win with former England international Nick Barmby scoring the first after 8 minutes and Dean Windass doubled the lead in the 23rd minute.
Garcia, who had missed over a month of football with a shoulder injury, was involved in one the game-s more controversial incidents on the hour mark. Garcia was crunched in a tackle only for Watford-s John Eustace to come in late to put a boot in and the Watford player was sent from the field, ensuring little chance of a fight back by the home side.
The win leaves Garcia and his Hull side with an excellent chance of a meeting with Nick Carle and his Bristol City side in the final o0n May 24, with City also taking a lead back home in their semi final play-off against Crystal Palace.
Carle played a leading role in City-s win 2-1 win, laying off the final passes for the side-s two goals.
There was more play-off action involving Aussies in Holland, with both Luke Wilkshire and Brett Holman successful in their respective matches on the weekend.
Wilkshire-s FC Twente came from behind to beat Dutch giant Ajax Amsterdam 2-1 in the first leg of their Champions League play-off final.
Twente, who went behind just before half time, came out firing in the second half and attacked with purpose and were rewarded with a double to prolific striker Blaise Nkufo.
The first came from the penalty spot in the 64th minute and 12 minutes later he added a second goal with a superb finish into the top-left hand corner and give them confidence they can complete the job next Sunday at the Amsterdam Arena.
Meanwhile Brett Holman scored NEC Nijmegen-s first goal as they won their semi final play-off 2nd Leg match against Groningen 3-1 and 4-1 on aggregate.
Holman lashed the ball home from six yards after just five minutes, giving NEC a 2-0 lead and they never looked back as they extended the lead before half time. With the tie safe, Holman was replaced at half time and they will play the winner of the other semi final play-off between Heerenveen and NAC Breda.