Adelaide United are one step away from pipping reigning Champions Brisbane Roar to a Foxtel National Y-League Grand Final berth after beating the Queenslanders 3-1 on Sunday.
Jai King and Michael Cittadini gave the Reds a two-goal buffer early on and although Roar halved the deficit through Cai Tipaldo, substitute Mohamed Toure sealed a huge three points.
The result means Adelaide move onto 13 points, one point behind Brisbane, and overtake the Roar and sit top of the Conference A ladder with a win over Melbourne Victory – who are also on 13 points – in a tantalising do-or-die fixture on Saturday, January 25.
Adelaide would need to secure all three points because of a vastly inferior goal difference to Brisbane. If that happens, the Reds would face the winner of Conference B – likely to be Sydney FC.
Melbourne Victory missed the chance to put themselves in pole position in Conference A by falling 3-2 to Melbourne City on Sunday.
Ryan Lethlean drew first blood for Victory but unanswered goals Gianluca Iannucci, Lucas Byrns and Moudi Najjar saw City race 3-1 up.
Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio netted a consolation in stoppage time and Victory now await next fortnight's make-or-break contest against Adelaide United to determine their Grand Final fate.
Like the Reds, Victory will need to grab all three points because of their inferior goal difference to first-placed Brisbane.
Newcastle Jets tallied a 2-1 victory over Central Coast Mariners, ensuring the Hunter club ended their rivals' campaign with a defeat.
Kosta Petratos hit the match winner for Newcastle on the hour mark after Abraham Majok had cancelled out Jack Simmons' sixth-minute strike.
Newcastle still have two fixtures remaining – the rescheduled Round 8 clash against Canberra United and a Round 10 fixture at Western Sydney Wanderers on January 25.
Central Coast finish the campaign on 14 points and are likely to remain in second position unless Newcastle win both their matches and overturn an eight-goal deficit in their goal difference.
Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC
Saturday 18th January