Corrimal will have a second crack at Wollongong Olympic in next week's Illawarra Premier League grand final after Van Elia fired the Rangers to a preliminary final victory over Tarrawanna on Sunday afternoon.
Elia's goal late in the first half proved the difference between the two teams, with the Blueys unable to crack Corrimal's staunch defence.
The win sets up a rematch of last week's major semi-final, which was won in extra time by Olympic 2-1 after Corrimal were forced to play 75 minutes with 10 men.
With the Rangers left disappointed by last week's defeat, Corrimal coach Rob Jonovski said his team was determined to ensure they had another chance at toppling the premiers.
"It feels amazing to be through to the grand final," Jonovski said. "The boys deserve it, we have a great bunch of young boys and experienced lads and they deserve to be here.
"We've got players that have never been in grand finals and players that have played in many. The feeling and the want of being in another grand final for any of them is all the same.
"We wanted this shot at Wollongong Olympic. I thought we were excellent last week, we played with 10 men for almost 80 minutes, I thought we were outstanding. We'll get to training this week, ice everything up and it's one game now, let's go."
Elia's goal came at the end of a first half largely controlled by Tarrawanna. Despite the territorial advantage, the Blueys were unable to generate many clear attacking chances.
In contrast, the Rangers held less of the ball, but they had a couple of genuine chances that came close to breaking the deadlock.
Ultimately it was Elia who was able to fire the ball into the back of the net, the competition's leading goal scorer latching onto a Tomoki Wada pass to score the only goal of the match.
Elia was forced to pass a fitness test just to take the field on Sunday afternoon and Jonovski said it was a brave effort for his striker to play such an integral part in the Rangers victory.
"Van's a special player," Jonovski said. "I said it a couple of weeks ago, we're lucky to have him in the league.
"He's walking wounded, he suffered a shoulder injury last week, it was a late fitness test that got him over the line and into the starting lineup today. He knows how to find the back of the net.
"We played to our gameplan in the first half and we did it effectively. We were not under too much pressure, they didn't have any clear chances to score at all, then we went down and Van scored. We had a gameplan and we executed it to a T."
The second half started in fairly even fashion before the match slowly started to turn in Corrimal's favour.
Eventually the Rangers took control of the game and they came close to sealing the match with a second goal on a number of occasions. Tarrawanna held firm, however, as they fought to keep their unlikely finals run alive.
A second Corrimal goal failed to eventuate, but that was of little concern for the Rangers, who will now begin plotting a grand final upset.
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