Perth take last playoff spot in A-LeagueAP , Associated Press
Mar. 31, 2013 1:45 AM ET
SYDNEY (AP) — Perth drew 1-1 with Adelaide United to snatch the sixth and last playoff spot in Australia's A-League, ending the season for the Alessandro Del Piero-led Sydney FC.
The Glory entered the match needing only a draw to move past Sydney on goal difference. Both sides ended the regular season with 32 points.
Adrian Zahra's 58th-minute goal gave Perth the lead, but Adelaide midfielder Jake Barker-Daish leveled in stoppage time.
Sydney lost 3-1 to Brisbane on Thursday, meaning it needed Newcastle and Perth to both lose. Western Sydney beat Newcastle 3-0 to clinch first place in the Wanderers' first year in the league.
Del Piero, the former Juventus and Italy striker who was the A-League's biggest-ever marquee signing this season, has already signed a contract to return next year with Sydney.
In the other match on Saturday, Daniel McBreen scored a first-half penalty as the second-placed Central Coast Mariners beat Melbourne Heart 2-1.
On Sunday, veteran Archie Thompson's late goal gave Melbourne Victory a 3-2 win over Wellington, allowing the Victory to finish in third place and complete the playoff picture.
With Western Sydney and Central Coast receiving first-round playoff byes, the Victory will host Perth next Friday while Adelaide is at home against defending champion Brisbane on Sunday, April 7 in elimination matches.
Western Sydney will then host the lower-ranked of next weekend's winners, with Central Coast to host the higher-ranked team.
The semifinal winners will play in the grand final on April 21.