Dominant Reds go down to Sky Blues

Adelaide United FC has been left to wonder how it came away empty handed after a 2-1 loss to Sydney FC tonight at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Adelaide United FC has been left to wonder how it came away empty handed after a 2-1 loss to Sydney FC tonight at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Again it was a classic case of making opportunities count and again it was the Reds who received the lesson rather than giving it. Two clinical Sydney strikes were enough to condemn the Reds to a ninth loss of the season, however the result could easily have been a lot different.

In what Coach John Kosmina described as worse than a bank robbery, the Reds could not buy a trick as they did everything but finish in front at the final whistle as their frustration of not being able to capitalise in front of goal continued.

But while in previous weeks it may have partly been due to lack of quality finishing, tonight it was down to the standout performance of Sydney FC keeper Ivan Necevski, who time and again denied the Reds.

Fabian Barbiero drew the Reds level in the 56th minute after Joel Chianese had put the Sky Blues in front of the stroke of half time, but despite a superb second half performance in which they created chance after chance, United were dealt a cruel blow when Sydney substitute Mitch Mallia struck the winner in the 81st minute.

The result leaves the Reds seven points outside the top six, and while it has made achieving a finals berth that bit tougher, with five games to go and 15 points still up for grabs, Kosmina is by no means throwing in the towel.

“If you let it get on top of you what-s the point of even playing and trying…so no, we-re going to have a go next week, there are still five games left, 15 points available, so there-s no reason we can-t if we play like that,” Kosmina said.

“You don-t ever pack it in, ever.”

After a cagey first half in a game vital to both teams- finals aspirations, the Sky Blues went ahead on the stroke of half time through Joel Chianese before Fabian

Backing up after Thursday-s win over Persipura in the ACL Play-Off, Kosmina opted to change his formation for the clash, bolstering the midfield by promoting midfielder Francisco Usucar to the starting eleven at the expense of striker Bruce Djite. The Uruguayan made the most of his recall, doing a fine job blanketing Sydney marquee man Brett Emerton.

Cassio won the Reds a corner inside the first minute and Nigel Boogaard went close to giving United the opening goal, Necevski needing his best reflexes to prevent the ball from crossing the goal line.

Sydney-s first serious chance came in the 29th minute when a well worked build up ended with Nicky Carle firing a shot across Eugene Galekovic and just wide of the post.

Cassio tried his luck from long range on 35 minutes but the Brazilian could not break the deadlock in a tense if less than exhilarating opening half. But just when it seemed the Reds would go into the break on level terms, a swinging volley from Chianese after a Sydney corner gave the visitors the lead.

A Nicky Carle missile from the edge of the area forced a sharp save from Galekovic shortly after the interval but from there it was all United as they drew level when Sergio van Dijk headed the ball on from a corner and Barbiero was alert as he turned it into the back of the net.

The goal ignited sustained pressure by the Reds but they could not make it count. Barbiero shot straight at Necevski after the Reds had broke clear and created a three on one, the midfielder deciding to go himself despite having van Dijk and Dario Vidosic either side of him.

In the 63rd minute Vidosic unselfishly squared a ball up for van Dijk, the striker-s initial shot saved by Necevski, before his follow up from the rebound rolled into the post.

Vidosic was enjoying a purple patch and a brilliant solo run opened up another chance for the Reds- number 10 but again Necevski came to Sydney-s rescue.

Necevski was becoming a thorn in the Reds- side as he produced another reflex save to keep out Zenon Caravella-s clever flick on before Sydney made the most of Necevski-s heroics with a killer sucker punch as Mallia latched on to a long ball and slid his pinpoint shot past the outstretched leg of Galekovic.

Cassio curled a free kick inches wide of the mark as the Reds continued to surge forward, Kosmina sensing the desperation as he brought Djite on for Watson with five minutes remaining.

The Reds continued to blaze away in hope of a dramatic late equaliser but their efforts were to no avail.

“(Sydney FC Football Director) Gary Cole said it was bank robbery and it was probably worse than that to be honest, it makes the great train robbery look like a kids Christmas party. What do you do…I thought the second half was unbelievable,” Kosmina said in his post match assessment.

“I thought for first 20 minutes in the first half we did everything right and then we dropped off the pace a little bit. But then you take into account that we had a game on Thursday and it was a tough one to get through…there was a bit of emotional pressure, a bit of mental pressure and to back up like we did today was fantastic.”

“You make your own luck so maybe we-ve got a little bit in the bank at the moment and some of the luck might change and fall our way in the next few weeks.”

“You can-t complain about the performance. The performance in the second half was unbelievable.”

“Finishing was better this week but we can-t buy a goal at the moment and sometimes you have to just keep working through it and that-s what we-ll have to do.”

The Reds next face a tough trip away to face the Newcastle Jets next Friday night at Hunter Stadium.

Match Details Adelaide United FC 1 (Barbiero 56-) Sydney FC 2 (Chianese 45+1-, Mallia 81-) Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones Crowd: 8,259 @ Hindmarsh Stadium

Adelaide United line-up: 1.Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard, 6.Cassio, 8.Evgeniy Levchenko, 9.Sergio van Dijk, 10.Dario Vidosic, 14.Cameron Watson (11.Bruce Djite 86-), 17.Iain Ramsay, 18.Fabian Barbiero (7.Zenon Caravella 71-), 21.Francisco Usucar

Substitutes not used: 15.Jacob Melling, 38.John Hall (gk) Yellow Cards: Cassio 53- Red Cards: Nil

Sydney FC line-up: 20.Ivan Necevski (gk), 4.Pascal Bosschaart, 5.Michael Beauchamp, 6.Hirofumi Moriyasu (12.Shannon Cole 75-), 7.Brett Emerton (3.Jamie Coyne 90+2-), 9.Bruno Cazarine, 10.Nick Carle, 15.Terry McFlynn (c), 16.Joel Chianese (24.Mitch Mallia 78-), 21.Scott Jamieson, 23.Rhyan Grant

Substitutes not used: 1.Liam Reddy (gk) Yellow Cards: Cole 85- Red Cards: Nil