Adelaide United have come away with a 2-1 win over local National Premier Leugue side West Torrens Birkalla at Marden Sports Complex on Wednesday night.
Substitute, Carlo Armiento, had the final say on proceedings as his late finish sealed the win after Apostolos Stamatelopoulos’s first-half penalty was cancelled out following the re-start.
It was the second pre-season hit-out for the Reds and they toiled hard for the victory with Birkalla defending in numbers.
Head Coach, Marco Kurz, would have been pleased with his side’s ball retention to start the game, two weeks’ out from their FFA Cup Round of 32 clash against Central Coast Mariners.
The German fielded another strong starting XI, looking to increase the minutes in the legs of his first-team players.
The likes of Isaías, Nathan Konstandopoulos, and Vince Lia enjoyed a lot of the ball as they tried to unlock an organised Eagles defence.
And the first genuine chance arrived when Stamatelopoulos met Lia’s cross. The striker lost his marker and headed a first-time, left-footed ball into the area from Lia, which the gloveman caught.
The Konstandopoulos brothers, Nathan and Kristin were lively throughout the first period and showed great dynamism around the edge of Birkalla’s box with their movement and off the ball runs.
In the 24th minute, a short corner routine involving Isaías and Ryan Kitto saw the latter deliver a brilliant cross for Jordan Elsey but his powerful header was saved by Alex Woodlands.
But Adelaide’s dominance would eventually be rewarded as Isaías’ defence-splitting ball culminated in an Adelaide penalty. The Spaniard picked out Ryan Strain’s darting run into the box but as he tried to latch on the end of it he was unceremoniously fouled by Sola Abolaji and the referee rightfully pointed to the spot.
Stamatelopoulos stepped up to dispatch the ensuing penalty on 37 minutes and made no mistake; sending the ‘keeper the wrong way.
Adelaide attempted to add to their advantage prior to half-time via Elsey’s speculative long-range strike and Stamatelopoulos’ free header.
However, the score-line remained 1-0 as Kurz’s outfit carried the slender lead into the sheds.
After the interval a surprise turn of events played out as Birkalla equalised in the 50th minute, rounding off a swift counter-attack.
With Adelaide sending numbers forward for a corner, Birkalla managed to break swiftly and Luka Chikwuba threaded a pass for Dylan D’Agostino and he finished his effort past Paul Izzo.
But West Torrens’ reply failed to dampen United’s mood. The Reds showed initiative and continued to show intent in advanced areas. Kitto came close on several occasions as did Strain.
The versatile youngster, who moved into the midfield for the second stanza, first had a shot well held by Woodlands, before hitting the corner of the crossbar as it appeared destined to nestle into the top corner.
Kurz made a raft of changes with around 15 minutes left in the match and it was two substitutes that combined.
Armiento received the ball from a short corner, cutting inside from the right and unleashing his low effort past the goalkeeper’s left to make it 2-1 with four minutes remaining.
Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Adelaide United 2 (Stamatelopoulos 37’ Armiento 86’)
West Torrens Birkalla 1 (D’Agostino 50’)
Venue: Marden Sports Complex