An early Cirio strike gave Adelaide United a 1-0 win over Melbourne City at Anzac Oval in Alice Springs.
The Reds started the game in best possible way with an early goal. Awer Mabil placed a perfectly weighted cross that found Cirio on his own just inside the box. With a cool, calm control, the Spaniard hit it into the back of the net.
Led by Nigel Boogaard and Dylan McGowan, the Reds were strong in defence and managed to hold-off Melbourne City’s attacking threat.
John van’t Schip’s side did have a chance to equalize in the 12th minute, but a miss placed cut back from Mate Dugandzic couldn’t find the forward runs of his fellow team mates.
The Reds looked to threaten shortly after as a dangerous cross from Cirio found Bruce Djite who toed the ball towards goal and goalkeeper Tando Velaphi had to flick the ball to safety.
New Melbourne City import, Damien Duff followed by David Williams were the ones that set-up chances for the Melbourne based club. In the 18th minute, Duff hit a powerful cross from the left, which Dugandzic turned on target to be palmed away by Eugene Galekovic. David Williams then later angled a shot just wide of Galekovic’s far post after being put through by a clever through-ball from Koren.
The first half ended on a sour note as two Reds defenders suffered injuries, with Osama Malik (calf strain) and Jordan Elsey (broken arm) forced from the field.
The second half proved more positive for Melbourne City, as they enjoyed a sustained period of pressure, to only be interrupted by substitute Marcelo Carrusca’s long-range effort which fizzed over then cross bar.
Substitutions became a regular occurrence with stoppages in play as both sides made a number of changes.
Carrusca again tried to change the scoreboard and with 20 minutes to spare his dangerous free-kick was inches away from connecting with Cirio, who looked to snare a second goal for Adelaide.
Despite Melbourne City’s pressure, it was the Reds who looked more likely to score as the clock ticked down. A perfectly timed interception by Velaphi at the feet of Isaias prevented the Spaniard from doubling the score.
Despite the two injuries, the match was played with great spirit and was a great spectacle for the locals of Alice Springs. For the first time, they had the chance to witness the World Game in their own backyard.
The Reds would like to thank Tourism NT, Football Federation of Northern Territory, Football in Central Australia, Northern Territory Government and everyone else that has helped make this match possible.
Saturday, 23 August 2014
Adelaide United 1 (Cirio 3’)
Melbourne City FC 0
Venue: Anzac Oval, Alice Springs NT
Adelaide United FC: 1. Eugene Galekovic (GK), 3. Nigel Boogaard, 4. Dylan McGowan, 8. Isaias, 9. Sergio Cirio (13. Dylan Smith 88’), 11. Bruce Djite (12. Mark Ochieng 74’), 17. Awer Mabil (24. Bruce Kamau 56’), 18. James Jeggo, 21. Tarek Elrich, 22. Pablo Sanchez Alberto (10. Marcelo Carrusca 46’), 26. Osama Malik (23. Jordan Elsey 36’, 15. Ben Warland 41’)
Substitutes not used: 20. Paul Izzo (GK), 30. John Hall (GK), 32. Nathan Konstandopoulos
Yellow cards: Isaias 73’
Red cards: Nil
Melbourne City FC: 20. Tando Velaphi (GK), 3. Robbie Wielaert, 6. Aaron Mooy, 7. Iain Ramsay (19. Benjamin Garuccio 83’), 8. Massimo Murdocca, 10. Robert Koren (21. Stefan Mauk, 61’), 11. Damien Duff, 15. David Williams (C) (32. Marc Marino 71’), 23. Mate Dugandzic (18. Paulo Retre 66’), 24. Patrick Kisnorbo, 26. Ross Archibald (13. Jonatan Germano 61’)
Substitutes not used: 1. Andrew Redmayne (GK), 17. Tom King
Yellow cards: Marino 72’, Murdocca 90’
Red cards: Nil
Picture: Centralian Advocate/Phil Williams