Sasho Petrovski ended a seven-game goal drought with a spectacular double as Central Coast overturned a two-goal deficit to steal a remarkable victory over Newcastle in the A-League Major Semi Final.
The Mariners earned their second trip to the Grand Final in three seasons after Petrovski scored five minutes into extra time at a near capacity Bluetongue Stadium.
Petrovski earlier scored in the 73rd minute to send the two-legged semi into extra time tied at 2-2.
Central Coast trailed 2-0 after the first leg a fortnight ago; but came storming back to win 2-0 in regulation time – their first win over the Jets in nine meetings – before claiming the tie 3-2 on aggregate.
Adam Kwasnik opened the scoring with a fortuitous goal in the first half which took a wicked deflection off defender Tarek Elrich.
But it was former Sydney FC championship player Petrovski; who before the match had gone nearly two months without scoring; who finished the hero for the home side; hammering home two classic striker's goals to send the Mariners title hopes soaring and Jets' hearts sinking.
After seeming to have one foot in the grand final following the first leg; Newcastle must now somehow pick up the pieces of a devastating loss to play Queensland Roar in the preliminary final at EnergyAustralia Stadium next Sunday.
Premiers Central Coast; who lost the inaugural grand final to Sydney FC; will meanwhile begin planning for the decider in Sydney on February 24.
Queensland Roar have defeated a 10-man Sydney FC 2-0 in a controversial match to clinch a spot in the A-League Preliminary Final.
Sydney FC captain Tony Popovic labelled the decision that led to the match-winner from Sasa Ognenovski an 'under-sixes penalty'; while coach John Kosmina appeared less than impressed with the sending off of midfielder Robbie Middleby in just the 20th minute.
After a half-hour delay due to a torrential downpour in Brisbane as the teams warmed up; the Roar scored an early goal through Brazilian striker Reinaldo to put the pressure on the visitors.
Seven minutes later Middleby received his marching orders; and while they dominated possession from that point onwards; the Roar had to wait until Ognenovski's 83rd-minute penalty goal to seal the win.
It was the first away loss of the season for Sydney; who now jet off to Hawaii to play in the Pan Pacific Championship; while the Roar will meet the loser of the Newcastle Jets and Central Coast Mariners tie next Sunday.
Reinaldo's classy goal sent the record crowd of 36;221 into raptures; beating two defenders before regaining his composure and slotting the ball into the back of the Sydney net.