Adelaide United came back to secure a vital 2-1 against a resurgent Western Sydney Wanderers outfit in a hotly contested match.
A cool Bruce Djite finish canceled out Labinot Haliti’s narrowly onside tap-in before Sergio Cirio slotted home the winner, sending Coopers Stadium into euphoria.
Both teams were forced through injury to 10-men in the first half, testament to the hard fought nature of the match.
The Reds failed to capitalise on a few good chances in the first half, but the Wanderers defence was quick to shut down lone striker Bruce Djite.
He had a chance to equalise when Sergio Cirio’s drove a low cross into the box but Covic was quickest to stop the danger.
The Wanderers’ goal came when the Reds did not clear Rukavytsya’s free kick effectively enough, and a shot turned passed put Haliti through after 15 minutes.
A formation change beckoned for the Reds in the second half as the Wanderers’ well-organised defence shut most of the danger down immediately.
It completely changed the dynamic of the game as the Reds ran rampant with Carrusca and Cirio in more advanced midfield positions.
And it worked immediately as Bruce Djite was played through by Marcelo Carrusca to intelligently slot home the equaliser.
The Reds had a myriad of chances to find a winner but it just would not come, with Wanderers keeper Ante Covic putting in a solid performance between the sticks.
Adelaide United’s best chance in a half full of energy fell to Sergio Cirio who was free in the box – his volley unfortunately blasted over the bar.
It wouldn’t matter as the Spaniard slotted home the winner with just a minute to spare to secure a great home win for the club coming into the last ten games of the season.
Coach Josep Gombau felt that his side deserved maximum points from the game.
“We are a team that always wants to try to win,” he said.
“It was hard for us after we went 1-0 down because their tactics were better than ours in the first half and they were very compact.
“A tactical change making it three at the back really helped us open the game up and we took all the chances we needed to win the game.”
The win puts us equal second on the ladder with Melbourne Victory with nine round left to play before finals.
Adelaide United next faces Melbourne City away as competition heats up for the six finals positions.
Saturday, 21 February 2015
Hyundai A-League 2014/15 Season - Round 18
Adelaide United 2 (Djite 51’, Cirio 90'+2)
Western Sydney Wanderers (Haliti 19')
Venue: Coopers Stadium, Hindmarsh
Adelaide United: Galekovic (c), Marrone, McGowan, Malik (Goodwin 45'+1), Isaias, Cirio, Carrusca, Djite (Pablo Sanchez 69'), Jeggo, Palanca (Mabil 45'), Elrich
Western Sydney Wanderers: Covic, Topor-Stanley (c), Hamill, Haliti (Castelen 61'), Poljak, Takahagi, Santalab (Juric 34'), Rukavytsa, Spiranovic, La Rocca, Gallaway
Scorers: Haliti (19'), Djite (51'), Cirio (90'+2)
Red cards: Spiranovic (83')
Yellow cards: Poljak (45'+3), Spiranovic (54', 83'), Elrich (67'), Isaias (70'), Juric (90'+1