After a 10 day break The Reds were back in action last night at Coopers, and what a cracking game it was, 3-3 with Korean league Leaders JeJu United. With the Reds putting in their best performance all season and actually playing as a United squad, the visitors must be heading home thinking where were the fans and where did we play?
A miserable crowd of approximately 3500, for Champions League football is embarrassing, for the A League, the FFA and Adelaide United. On the weekend there would have been more fans at the local NPL match between Adelaide City and The Blue eagles, but last night the stadium was basically empty. Champions League football opens Australia to Asia, it promotes cities for tourism and gives cities and teams lucrative exposure, all part of playing the world game, not like other isolated rival codes. Either the A-League or the Reds marketing/promotions must intervene, we can’t promote our code with empty stadiums. When rival codes like the AFL subsidise their women and can offer free entry, I will ask what the governing body is doing to promote our game to the world?
For those that missed the match the first half was a solid performance of what a good side does when playing a more skilled side, basically keep possession, without the ball Jeju for the first 45minutes weren’t able to trouble the Reds, Mcgowan, Regan and Baba Diawara in Midfield kept possession for the reds and directed the play by moving the ball around, driving forward through the midfield.
In the second half the game came alive, the Reds took the lead with a Baba penalty, but the momentum would swing all the way to the end. Jeju upped the tempo and started to attack hard, utilising wing pace to start penetrating the Red defences. Substitute “Progba” look a lilke Mendy levelled the visitors in the 61st, beating Galekovic with a low cross face shot. Brazilian Toscano put the visitors ahead with a thumping artillery strike into the top corner that no keeper would’ve stopped, but the Reds would equalise 2 minutes later with a low diving header from Cirio, his first goal in an eternity. Two more great goals would follow, the match ending 3-3. The Koreans saving face and the Reds, giving some respect back to the local game after the brutal treatment A-League teams have had in ACL competition this year. For those that did attend well done, an entertaining and attacking game provided awesome mid-week entertainment, it’s just unfortunate that soccer continues to be neglected with minimal promotion and media coverage in South Australia compared to our rival codes.
Words by Cosi Dicheira