Melbourne in total charge

Melbourne has gained a serious foothold on hosting rights for the Hyundai A-League Grand Final with a precious 2-0 away win over Adelaide at Hindmarsh Stadium in the first leg of the Major Semi-Final.

Melbourne has gained a serious foothold on hosting rights for the Hyundai A-League Grand Final with a precious 2-0 away win over Adelaide at Hindmarsh Stadium in the first leg of the Major Semi-Final.

Carlos Hernandez gave Melbourne a 13th-minute lead and a superb rearguard action saw the Victory defence hold form under concerted Adelaide pressure in the second half.

Danny Allsopp then contributed what could prove the killer blow in the two-legged tie, scoring in the 88th minute.

The two-goal margin means Adelaide must now win by at least two goals at Telstra Dome next Saturday to keep its hopes of hosting the Grand Final alive. A 2-0 win would see penalties while any other two or more goal margin would get the Reds through to the final.

But that seems unlikely given the Victory has now beaten Adelaide four times this season, and has now lost just one game in its past 11 against United.

After intense start to the game, where both sides had chances at goal, it was Melbourne which drew first blood thanks to a sweeping counter attacking move. Billy Celeski took the ball inside the defensive box, lobbed it to Tom Pondeljak, who found Hernandez clear on the right.

The Costa Rican's shot beat Eugene Galekovic, hit the bar and then bounced up off the line. Allsopp was quickest to react, heading home from close range to give Victory a vital away goal. But as it turned out, the linesman ruled that Hernandez's shot had crossed the line, and he was confirmed as the scorer at half-time.

That was the catalyst for Melbourne to take over the contest and with some better shooting and some good luck, it could have been as many as four-up by the break.

Hernandez, playing a blockbuster of a first half, almost scored with a deft chip, and then forced Galekovic to save spectacularly with his right hand.

Thompson, who already had been twice denied by the Adelaide keeper earlier in the half, had the worst of luck on 37 minutes when his shot hit the right-hand upright, rolled back along the goalline before hitting the left upright.

A half of Melbourne dominance was ended with a disappointing miss by Nick Ward from close range and Hernandez rattling another shot into the Adelaide wall.

Adelaide switched things around in the second half and for a period, looked a chance to equalise, but Michael Theoklitos didn't have a great deal to worry about. While the Reds pressed forward in numbers, that served to open up opportunities on the counter-attack.

Hernandez almost took one of those just after the hour, firing a shot at Galekovic which the keeper almost fumbled into Allsopp's path. Grant Brebner and Thompson also had chances but went over the bar.

Just when it seemed Melbourne was set to prevail by just the one goal, another excellent counter-attacking move found its way to Allsopp's feet. After beating Sasa Ognenovski, Allsopp charged into the box and hit an excellent shot to make it 2-0.

Adelaide United 0 Melbourne Victory 2 (Hernandez 13. Allsopp 88) Crowd: 14,119 at Hindmarsh Stadium