Adelaide United suffered a 1-0 loss to Melbourne City in the penultimate round of the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 season at AAMI Park on Friday night.
Tim Cahill’s header decided the encounter, but the Reds will be more concerned on the outcome of Tarek Elrich’s injury after he was forced from the field with a knee injury inside 25 minutes.
There were two changes made to the starting XI by Head Coach, Guillermo Amor. Iacopo La Rocca returned to the line-up for the first time in nearly two months after recovering from injury, while Ben Garuccio replaced Nikola Mileusnic on the wing.
The hosts began the brighter of the two teams and should have taken the lead when Bruce Kamau blazed a half-volley from point blank range over the upright.
Reds fans and Hyundai A-League supporters in general had their hearts in their mouths when Tarek Elrich landed awkwardly after contesting a high ball with Osama Malik.
The versatile defender went down in obvious pain, clutching his knee and had to be carried away on a stretcher.
Bruno Fornaroli and Kamau combined in a one-two move which culminated in the Uruguayan dispatching a tame effort at Galekovic.
In the 36th minute, City broke the deadlock thanks to Cahill’s glancing header off a Nicolas Colazo corner.
The Reds were again indebted to their Captain four minutes prior to the interval when Galekovic produced a phenomenal one-handed diving save to thwart Kamau’s stinging drive.
Melbourne dominated the second-half in terms of possession as well as shots on target. It was a frustrating game for Adelaide who were unable to test gloveman Dean Bouzanis for virtually the entire match.
However, on 67 minutes Isaías flashed an effort across the face of goal, searching for the top left corner.
Adelaide showed promise at times in the attacking third but ultimately struggled to create any clear cut chances.
Substitute Nicholas Fitzgerald had a glorious opportunity to put the game to bed in stoppage time, only for Galekovic to stand tall and make his 10th save of the night.
United now turn their attention to what is a crucial AFC Champions League clash away to South Korean outfit Jeju United on Tuesday night.
Friday, 7 April 2017
Hyundai A-League Round 26
Melbourne City 1 (Cahill 36’)
Adelaide United 0
Venue: AAMI Park