Sergi Guardiola’s first goal for Adelaide United was not enough as the Reds endured a 2-1 defeat to Melbourne City at AAMI Park in Round 4 of the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 season.
Two goals from Bruno Fornaroli rendered Guardiola’s second-half headed effort inconsequential with City holding on for the win, despite a late fightback from United.
Reds Head Coach, Guillermo Amor, made two alterations to the starting XI for the match against City. Winger Jordan O’Doherty and midfielder George Mells superseded injured pair Henrique (knee) and James Holland (hamstring) respectively.
In what was a short turnaround for the hosts, after their exploits in the Westfield FFA Cup midweek, it was City who dominated the early exchanges. John van’t Schip’s men controlled possession and helped themselves to more of the chances.
Former Red, Bruce Kamau nearly opened the scoring on six minutes, unleashing a venomous strike which clipped the top of the crossbar.
But Melbourne did not have to wait long to break the deadlock. Five minutes later, Fornaroli expertly cut inside onto his right foot, before firing a curling effort into the top corner and past the helpless Eugene Galekovic.
However, after conceding an early goal, Adelaide slowly got back into the clash and were unfortunate not to restore parity in the 26th minute. Winger Ryan Kitto agonisingly struck the bottom of the upright from a lowly driven shot.
The game somewhat lost its fluidity in the second period of the first stanza, with a number of fouls awarded and yellow cards brandished, disrupting the rhythm to proceedings.
Yet on the stroke of half-time, the Reds were again left to rue their misfortune, as Isaias’ brilliantly whipped free-kick met the head of Kitto, whose effort smashed the crossbar.
The second-half saw both sides exchange periods of possession, but after a couple of ventures into Adelaide’s box, City would soon double their advantage from the penalty spot. Guardiola was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area, leaving Fornaroli to nonchalantly convert the ensuing spot-kick.
Though, Adelaide were not going to go down without a contest and showed immense spirit to get back into the encounter. Guardiola atoned for his earlier mistake on 64 minutes, after connecting with Ben Garuccio’s magnificent delivery to calmly head home and net his first goal for the Club.
With Adelaide halving the deficit, they grew in confidence and pushed hard to find an equaliser. Amor turned to his bench and brought on substitutes Danny Choi, Riley McGree and Marc Marino during a 15 minute phase.
Although, the trio were impressive when they took to the field, United could not find a way through the City backline, as the game ended 2-1 and saw the Reds suffer their first road defeat since November 2015.
Following the match, United Boss, Amor admitted the winless start to this season is not ideal, but stated he has confidence in the squad’s ability to turn their fortunes around.
“We want to win always, the start this year is similar (to last season) and we must improve and learn things,” Amor said. “I think today our team performed well.
“We have a very good team, good players, a good squad, I have confidence in this squad, in this team.
“In four games we have one point, we lose three it’s true… but in these last three to four games the level has been very good.”
Friday, 28 October 2016
Hyundai A-League Round 4
Melbourne City 2 Fornaroli (11’ 56’)
Adelaide United 1 (Guardiola 64’)
Venue: AAMI Park