AIS stun Reds in Canberra
The AIS recorded only their second win of the season in the final round of the National Youth League, defeating Adelaide United 3-1 at the AIS Track.
The Australian Institute of Sport recorded only their second win of the season in the final round of the National Youth League, defeating Adelaide United 3-1 at the AIS Track.
Goals from in-form Marc Marino, Jordan Pudler and second half substitute Bai Antoniou did the damage for the home side, brightening up the day under slate-grey overcast skies in the national capital.
The AIS made a confident start and looked especially threatening in the first quarter of an hour, almost taking the lead on three occasions.
Marino was the first to be denied, seeing his goal-bound effort saved by the legs of Reds' stopper John Hall, before Dylan Smith struck the outside of the near post with a cheeky effort from an acute angle.
But the best chance fell to Alexander Gersbach, who might have done better than fire straight at Hall following a slick exchange of passes with Marino on the edge of the penalty area.
Adelaide responded by moving the ball swiftly across the turf, culminating in the creation of a clear-cut opening for Jake Barker Daish in the 29th minute.
The move found the midfielder in space inside the area, but Lucas Spinella was sharply off his line and blocked the shot, sending the ball round the post for a Reds' corner.
Steve Kuzmanovski then went close with a dipping 30-metre free-kick for the AIS which Hall palmed over the bar as the home side continued to search for the elusive breakthrough, with the game beginning to open up.
Spinella then needed to be alert to push a Thomas Briscoe effort away for a corner.
At the other end, Gersbach headed narrowly wide following a teasing cross from Kuzmanovski that Hall only partially cleared.
As it was, neither side could make a telling strike and the half ended goalless.
Adelaide fired the first shot of the second half, Briscoe stinging the palms of Spinella after cutting inside two minutes after the re-start.
But it was the AIS who finally broke the deadlock in the 56th minute.
Kuzmanovski was heavily involved, with his cross-field pass in behind the Adelaide defence beautifully turned home by Marino.
The Reds responded with a higher tempo and would have equalised but for a superb piece of defending by AIS substitute George Timotheou.
Sasa Zekanovic saw his initial shot blocked by the legs of Spinella but when the ball dropped kindly for Daniel Bowles it appeared certain that Adelaide would level.
Bowles struck the ball well-enough only for Timotheou to make a brilliant clearance.
And it was to prove a telling moment, as the AIS doubled their lead with a quarter of an hour remaining.
Another brilliantly crafted counter-attack resulted in Marino turning in the box and laying the ball off to Pudler, who slammed a first-time shot beyond the reach of Hall that crashed into the back of the net.
Adelaide's hopes of getting back into the match suffered a blow two minutes later when Jordan Elsey received a straight red card for an ugly two-footed challenge as the AIS scented a rare victory.
The South Australians still harboured hopes of an unlikely point and when substitute Nathan Konstandopoulos arrived at the far post to stab home a Zekanovic flick on.
The AIS had other ideas though and put the match to bed three minutes from time.
A delightful pass from Mathew Schmidt was matched by an outstanding bit of control from Antoniou and his finish showed real composure to seal the three points.
AIS 3 (Marino 56, Pudler 75, Antoniou 87) Adelaide United 1 (Konstandopoulos 81)
AIS: 30. Lucas Spinella, 2. Darcy Madden, 4. Ben Warland (21. George Timotheou 57-), 5. Matthew Schmidt, 6. Matthew Ntoumenopoulos, 7. Steve Kuzmanovski, 10. Dylan Smith (16. Jordan Pudler 61-), 11. Marc Marino, 17. Anthony Kalik, 18. Alexander Gersbach (24. Bai Antoniou 61-), 23. Rocco Pizzata
Adelaide United: 1. John Hall, 2. Shaun Harvey, 3. Jordan Elsey, 5. Scott Nagel, 6. Jake Monaco, 7. Daniel Bowles, 8. Thomas Briscoe (15. Sasa Zekanovic 57-), 9. John Karatzas (4. Dylan Pickert 46-), 10. Dion Kirk (8. Thomas Briscoe 65-), 12. Jake Barker-Daish, 13. Jacob Melling (11. Nathan Konstandopoulos 58-)
Yellow Cards: 5. Scott Nagel, 6. Jake Monaco, 9. John Karatzas, 13. Jacob Melling (Adelaide United)
Red Card: 3. Jordan Elsey (Adelaide United)