Adelaide United were back in action at Coopers stadium in a sweltering Friday night clash with arch foe Western Sydney, winless in their last 6, also desperate to swing around their fortunes and get some points on the board.
With kickoff scheduled for 7pm and with the temp still 39 degrees, it mystifies me why the start couldn’t have been pushed back an hour, but for the 2nd home game in a row the Reds were on the pitch in terrible conditions, but 8000 fans still packed the stadium!
Due to the weather the football quality of the first half was poor and mundane from both sides, although given regular breaks and plenty of stoppages, the game lacked quality, both teams making amateurish mistakes turning over the ball with silly passes and failing to direct quality finishes onto the goals.
The Wanderers would strike first, the German Muller, courtesy of Reds Elsey who’s pass was intercepted and converted into a bizarre goal. A cross from Adams into the box was deflected into the air and headed into the goals by the waiting Muller. Only ten minutes later Toure leveled the match after Melusnic had a brilliant run crossing from right to left of field, before cutting it back into the box or Toure to finish easily. Both teams headed to the break in a stalemate.
For the second half the Wanderers made a move and brought on former Red Elrich as right fullback and his presence was immediately felt as a cross from the far right of the field enabled Muller to get his second. Poor defending from the Reds and WSW were 2-1 up. Adams put the Wanderers 3-1 in the 80th after it took him two shots to beat Izzo!
The nearly 10 minutes of overtime brought the reds two penalties, one for Toure being fouled in the penalty box and the second for a Georgievski handball in the reds penalty box (something FIFA needs to clarify it seems anything’s handball now days). Blackwood converted the first, but missed the second. Surely after converting the first and dealing with the pressure one of the Reds more prominent players like Melusnic, Troisi or Toure could have headed to the spot kick for the second penalty!
Missing and easy penalty means the Reds are now on a 2 game losing streak and with 2 tough away games to come, they must find some mental strength regroup and not lose their way. Another point is the Reds coach Verbeek, could have used his subs far earlier then the 82nd when his side is already 3-1 down!
With the Reds cash strapped and with no money for January transfers the squad needs to come together in a big way, with McGree sidelined with what could be a serious issue his absence is being felt.On a closing note two very contentious VAR issues firstly involving Duke in the first half and Toure in the 2nd half, were dealt with in similar fashion (probably both wrongly though), both players should’ve been thrown the Red and told to cool off in the change rooms, no players got the right to lash out at another in our code off Football!
Western Sydney 3 defeated Adelaide United 2
Match report by Cosi Dichiera