Round 17 of the Hyundai A league brought the Phoenix to play Adelaide United at Coopers “Inferno” Stadium in asphalt melting 39 degrees, at a questionable 4.30pm kick-off.
Cellar dwellers Adelaide coming off a bad week where Sergi Guardiola decided to not continue on with the club and James Holland’s departure to China was confirmed, also bringing further unwanted media attention to the playing group under the pump, mustered enough fight to put in a solid performance to gain a home draw. The final tally of 27 shots to 7 for the Phoenix confirmed what most of the A league already are aware of, Adelaide are struggling to put the ball in the back of the net.
For Wellington the 3pts away would have been their sole objective from this encounter, but to go home with a solid point is certainly not that disheartening, considering they played in 20 degrees hotter from that back in New Zealand. Wellington continue to battle for that sixth spot in the table with the Jets and Wanderers, while Adelaide will surely continue to experiment in formations and rotate through younger players, in hoping that the upcoming Asian Champions League fixtures hold better fortunes.
Stand out performances from Bonevacia and Cirio, and four cracking goals entertained the 8,000 plus fans who braved the conditions to witness an evenly fought contest, right up to the 7th minute of extra time! For a winter sport played in the Australian summer, surely the A league were at fault for not delaying the kick-off, but in the words of Shane Smeltz “In the A-League you get one of these a year and this was probably one.”
Compliments to both sides today in providing an enticing battle, in the sweltering Adelaide summer. A nod to goal scorers McGree of Adelaide and Doyle from the Phoenix, for those with a few minutes to spare catch highlights online of both strikes and you will be reminded why football is truly the worlds beautiful game.
Words by Cosi Dichiera