A Bruce Kamau strike, complimented by a superb Isaias free-kick and a Pablo Sanchez low drive, saw Adelaide United crowned Champions of the Hyundai A-League for the first time, defeated Western Sydney Wanderers 3-1.
A capacity Adelaide Oval crowd was kissed with beaming rays of sunshine, as the Reds hosted the Wanderers in the Hyundai A-League 2016 Grand Final.
A calm start to the game saw both sides restrain from too much forward pressure, however United were quick to assert authority in the possession stakes, bossing Western Sydney around the field and causing them to commit a couple of blatant fouls.
But the calmness soon cleared, as challenges from the Reds also began to fly in, the teams leaving nothing in the change rooms and giving the match everything possible.
With Wanderers beginning to find some strong movements going forward, Adelaide hit them with a sucker punch, Kamau burying a Marcelo Carrusca cross after fantastic link-up play by the Argentine and Stefan Mauk. Scott Jamieson was found ball watching at the back post, allowing Kamau to burst in front of the former Red and smack the ball cleanly past Andrew Redmayne in goal for the visitors.
On the stroke of the 30th minute, Kamau was brought down 22-yards from goal, allowing Isaias to step-up and strike a dead-ball. The Spanish midfielder, who had already had a stellar start to the match, curled a text-book free-kick over the wall and past Redmayne. It was unstoppable.
Craig Goodwin ensured Romeo Castelen was restricted throughout the first half, whilst Carrusca and Mauk’s defensive work-rate provided plenty of cover for United’s back four. Iacopo La Rocca and Dylan McGowan were resolute throughout the opening 45, while Eugene Galekovic wasn’t tested at all.
Into the second half, the Reds continue to pile the pressure onto the Wanderers defence, but were unable to add to their lead. Sergio Cirio was menacing down the flanks and had a chance to put United three up, but his effort was saved by Redmayne.
Then, just before the hour mark, a great strike by Scott Neville beat Galekovic with one of the visitor’s first shots on goal.
United weren’t deterred and nine minutes after conceding, Bruce Djite popped up and headed a solid effort that Redmayne was forced to tip wide. From the resulting corner, the Reds put the ball into the back of the net after a scramble in the box, but it was judged that Cirio was blocking the vision of Redmayne and the goal was disallowed.
With copious amounts of tension flowing throughout Adelaide Oval, Pablo Sanchez put the match to bed in the 89th minute when he pounced on a Kearyn Baccus mistake at the back. The Spaniard with poise in abundance, cannoned a low drive across the face of goal, nestling it into the bottom corner.
Sunday, 1 May 2016
Hyundai A-League 2016 Grand Final
Adelaide United 3 (Kamau 22’ Isaias 34’ Pablo Sanchez 89’)
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Neville 59’)
Venue: Adelaide Oval