Melbourne Victory 3 Wellington Phoenix 1: Champions set up semi-final date with Sydney FC
Keisuke Honda's farewell to Melbourne Victory will last at least another week after the champions prevailed 3-1 over Wellington Phoenix in Friday's first elimination final.
Having announced before the match he will not be returning for a second A-League season, midfielder Honda helped to extend his stay by supplying the free-kick for Georg Niedermeier's headed opener three minutes before half-time at AAMI Park.
The outstanding Ola Toivonen assisted the second for Kosta Barbarouses after the interval and then confirmed Victory's progression to a semi-final away date against Sydney FC, scoring the third seven minutes after Roy Krishna reduced the margin.
Phoenix had appeals for a handball in the box waved away early in the contest and looked the more dangerous side until German defender Niedermeier broke the deadlock.
The goal steadied Kevin Muscat's men and they took command when Toivonen played strike partner Barbarouses through on goal in the 53rd minute.
Golden Boot winner Krishna responded by tucking away Sarpreet Singh's intelligent pass just over 10 minutes later, but a deft dinked finish from Sweden international Toivonen quickly eased the tension and moved last season's grand final winners through to the next stage.
It went from bad to worse for Wellington in added time as Michal Kopczynski was dismissed for a second bookable offence and their promising campaign came to a disappointing conclusion.
Adelaide United and Melbourne City will contest the second elimination final on Sunday, with the winner to visit Perth Glory next weekend.