Reds defeat league leading Mariners 3-2
A hat-trick of penalties from Tomi Juric has helped Adelaide United to a 3-2 win over league leaders Central Coast Mariners at Coopers Stadium on Friday night.
Daniel De Silva and Alou Kuol both profited from defensive lapses, but Juric consummately slotted all three of his spot-kicks as Adelaide twice came from behind.
The result ended a three-game losing streak for Adelaide, who provisionally move into the top six.
Adelaide made an encouraging start to the game but its intensity and dominance soon abated and it was the Mariners that grabbed the ascendancy.
Matt Simon had a free header saved by James Delianov after an accurate cross from Jack Clisby.
Central Coast then took the lead in the 15th minute after a defensive error from Jordan Elsey.
The centre-back beat De Silva to Clisby’s through ball, but under hit his back pass to Delianov and allowing the winger to chase down the loose ball and poke his finish into the net.
Four minutes later, Oliver Bozanic smashed the post with a thunderous long-range shot.
The Reds struggled to find any rhythm to their play but they would find a breakthrough via the penalty spot.
The referee adjudged Stefan Mauk had got to the ball ahead of Ruon Tongyik and the decision was upheld by the VAR.
Juric buried the ensuing penalty on 34 minutes to restore parity and score his first goal in five matches.
Adelaide were slow out of the blocks in the second-half and fell behind again past the hour mark.
Substitute Kuol impacted the game immediately, latching on to a swift throw-in from Simon and scored with the assistance of the near post.
Juric then emphatically dispatched a second penalty to level proceedings after Mauk was pulled down by Josh Nisbet.
Adelaide began to get more control of the game and the introduction of Pacifique Niyongabire sparked life into the Reds.
He would ultimately win a penalty when his shot was blocked by the hand of Kye Rowles which was only discovered after a lengthy consultation with the VAR, as the Mariners were ready to take a free-kick at the other end.
Juric held his nerve for a third time to complete his treble and secure the three points in an eventful contest.
Javi López was handed his Adelaide United starting debut, featuring at right-back while Joe Caletti returned to the midfield in what was two changes by Head Coach, Carl Veart.
15’ | GOAL: De Silva pounces on Elsey’s errant back pass and he toe-pokes his finish home.
34’ | GOAL! Juric levels proceedings with a confident penalty following a foul on Mauk.
63’ | GOAL: Simon’s quick throw-in finds Kuol and his shot rebounds in off the near post.
70’ | GOAL! Juric picks out the top corner from the spot to get his second of the game.
85’ | GOAL! Juric has his third from the spot with another sumptuous finish to seal the win.
Game date: Friday, 19 February
A-League 2020/21 – Matchweek 09
Adelaide United 3 (Juric 34’ (p), 70’ (p) 85’ (p))
Central Coast Mariners 2 (De Silva 15’, Kuol 63’)
Venue: Coopers Stadium