Brisbane Roar have fallen to Melbourne City in tonight's Hyundai A-League Elimination Final at AAMI Park.
Two second-half goals for the hosts proved to be the difference as City progress to the second week of finals while the Roar can begin preparations for season 2018/19.
While the season ends in disappointing fashion, Head Coach John Aloisi says his side will be back bigger, better and stronger next campaign.
"We didn't perform like we wanted to tonight. We started to play the football we wanted to when they went ahead," Aloisi said.
"We don't make any excuses. We didn't give up at any time, we kept going, and to be here from where we've come from is a huge credit to the group.
"We now build for next season and we will be better."
City limited the Roar's opportunities in attack during the opening 45 minutes but tight defensive work at the back ensured City's forays forward were restricted as well as both sides headed into the break locked at 0-0.
The deadlock was eventually broken by the hosts 14 minutes into the second-half as Stefan Mauk finished from close range.
The Roar pushed hard for an equaliser with Frenchman Eric Bautheac looking a constant threat down the right wing in his first Hyundai A-League final.
As full-time neared, City netted a crucial second goal on the counter as Nick Fitzgerald doubled their lead from close range in second-half stoppage time.
Captain Matt McKay praised his side for qualifying for an eighth consecutive Finals Series, but says it just wasn't the Roar's night.
"We just weren't courageous tonight which was disappointing," McKay said.
"I'm really proud of the boys that we dug in and made the top six, but it wasn't our best performance tonight. We needed that little bit of luck."
STORY OF THE GAME
- Both sides struggled to create clear-cut chances in the first half with the respective keepers rarely called into action.
- The hosts started the second half strongly and opened the lead through Stefan Mauk in the 59th minute.
- Brisbane pushed hard for an equalising goal, finishing the better of the two sides before the hosts doubled the lead on the counter.
- Although on the wrong side of the scoreboard, attacker Fahid Ben Khalfallah (below) celebrated his 100th Hyundai A-League appearance at AAMI Park on Friday night.
Melbourne City - Mauk 59' - 1-0
A ball is fired in from the left wing and is met by Stefan Mauk who converts with a first-time shot.
Melbourne City - Fitzgerald 90+1' - 2-0
Fitzgerald latches on to a ball from the left and thunders a header into the back of the net.
Hyundai A-League Elimination Final: Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Friday, 20 April
Melbourne City 2 (Mauk 59', Fitzgerald 90+1')
Brisbane Roar 0