The final game of Rnd 8 of the Hyundai A league was played in odd weather conditions for the first day of summer, many would have thought it was actually winter in Adelaide. Coincidentally, with Australia playing Pakistan at Adelaide Oval, it was always going to be a tough game to attract a big crowd and numbers were low, around 6000.
With Adelaide looking to go onto a 5 win streak in the season and Wellington hoping to get off the bottom of the ladder we were in for an entertaining match. It was good to see soccer pause and remember Pim Verbeek, the former Socceroo coach passing over the weekend and a 1 minute silence paid tribute to him before the match and with both teams wearing black arm bands it was a valid tribute to a coaching legend.
As play commenced, Wellington showed their intentions early as with in the first 30sec, Izzo was forced to make crucial save from a Piscopo header, thankfully he was switched on otherwise the Reds would have been blindsided very early on. For the first 25minutes, Adelaide would dominate with countless crosses and corners, Troisi, Maria and Melusnic would all be denied credible goal attempts. The final 20 minutes would be the opposite, as the Phoenix slowly moved into gear and Davila and Sotirio threatened Izzo’s goal on numerous attempts. Adelaide’s first half of tic–tac passing soccer, would fail to penetrate the Phoenix defences and Wellington would soon find ways to close gaps and stop the ever familiar out wide, box cross play that the reds would use to attack.
The 2nd half of play would see Blackwood and Opseth immediately come on for the Reds and as in the first half, Izzo would make a miraculous save to deny a Davila shot early on. With Wellington showing more off the intent to attack, it would be Melusnic with a brilliant strike outside the box that lobbed over the Phoenix keeper, perhaps catching Marinovic by surprise to take the Reds into the lead.
Adelaide’s lead would only last about 10 minutes as Sotirio and Ball combined to beat Izzo on a counter attack. A contentious penalty, only minutes later would gift wellington the lead as Davila scored from the spot kick. VAR reviewed the footage and confirmed the penalty as given by the referee, Cacace fell in the box from minimal Blackwood contact and was met with lots of crowd Boos. Sadly players go down far too easy to the detriment of out game today. With rain beginning to fall the Reds would try gallantly to settle for a draw, but Wellington held on for only their 2nd win of the season.
Round 9 sees the Reds host the Jets, with the Jets having a solid win against the Wanderers it should be a tight contest next Sunday.