Guardiola goal not enough for Reds

Sergi Guardiola netted his second of the season for Adelaide United, however it proved inconsequential as the Reds suffered a 2-1 defeat to the Central Coast Mariners at Coopers Stadium.

Guardiola opened the scoring through a successfully converted penalty, but strikes from Roy O’Donovan and Connor Pain handed the visitors the three points. 

Reds Head Coach, Guillermo Amor, named an unchanged line-up for the clash against the Mariners, hoping to find some continuity in the squad.

The hosts started the brighter of the two sides, retaining possession of the ball and playing with high intensity. And it was Adelaide who would muster the first chance with Isaias curling a free-kick inches wide of the upright, after a blatant foul on Jordan O’Doherty.

O’Doherty was again involved in the thick of the action on 10 minutes, heading a cross from Tarek Elrich into the path of Ryan Kitto whose goal-bound shot was blocked on the line.

However, the match exploded into life in the 20th minute when Isaias expertly sprayed a ball out wide to O’Doherty and his bouncing effort agonisingly struck the post.

But Central Coast instantly fired back with O’Donovan striking the woodwork, before Dylan McGowan committed a crucial interception to deny Adam Berry on the follow-up attempt.

Though United would deservedly draw first blood when Guardiola was fouled in the box by Storm Roux, with referee Jarred Gillet awarding a penalty. And the Spaniard nonchalantly slotted the ensuing spot-kick sending gloveman Paul Izzo the wrong way on 27 minutes.

The Reds continued to pressurise Central Coast’s defence, however they could not double their advantage as it remained 1-0 heading into the break.

Two minutes after the re-start the Mariners grabbed the equaliser courtesy of a chipped effort over the top of the onrushing Eugene Galekovic. 

Isaias tried to put the hosts back ahead with a stinging free-kick which bounced awkwardly in front of Izzo. But the Mariners would make it 2-1 on 57 minutes as Connor Pain received the ball on the flank before cutting inside and unleashing a powerful strike into the top corner, past the helpless Galekovic.

The Reds toiled after falling behind but could not restore parity, with the closest opportunity coming in the dying stages when Guardiola connected with Ben Garuccio’s incisive cross. 

Following the match, Reds Boss, Amor admitted he was disappointed with the second-half performance and how the team reacted after conceding early after the interval.

“It was totally different (the performance in the second-half), it’s possible going down early in the second-half made it difficult,” Amor said.

“I think it’s true in the first-half we played very well, we had controlled the match totally.

“For me the game is open for us, because normally the first-half for us it could’ve been 4-0 and then we play more calmly.

“But 1-0 (the match) is open and when the game is open in the A-League with these teams it’s dangerous.”

Match details:  
Sunday, 6 November 2016 
Hyundai A-League Round 5
Adelaide United 1 (Guardiola 27’)
Central Coast Mariners 2 (O’Donovan 47’ Pain 57’)
Venue: Coopers Stadium
Attendance: 10,974