Adelaide United were unable to consolidate last week’s victory, following a 2-0 defeat to ladder leaders Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium in Round 16 of the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 season.
Two second-half goals in as many minutes from Alex Brosque and Milos Ninkovic ultimately proved the difference for the Sky Blues in a somewhat lacklustre affair.
Reds Head Coach, Guillermo Amor, made three changes to his starting XI from the win against Melbourne City in Round 15. The Spaniard welcomed back Tarek Elrich from suspension, pushing Ben Garuccio higher up the field, while Marcelo Carrusca and Riley McGree replaced China-bound James Holland and Jordan O’Doherty in advanced midfield roles.
Henrique went on a marauding run in the opening minute of proceedings, but his lowly driven cross evaded the outstretched Garuccio.
Moments later, Sydney would fire their first shot at goal through Michael Zullo’s deflected effort.
Rhyan Grant was rather fortunate not to be given his marching orders, instead brandished a yellow card, after a reckless tackle on Carrusca on 17 minutes.
However, the hosts could count themselves unlucky when replays suggested Filip Holosko was not offside when he found the back-of-the-net in the 26th minute.
The Sky Blues had a couple of chances just before the interval, however both sides would head into the break scoreless.
The second stanza saw Graham Arnold’s men dominate the encounter and play with more fluidity in attack.
And on 58 minutes they would draw first blood as Brosque latched on to Grant’s pin-point delivery to steer the ball into the bottom corner.
One-nil soon became 2-0, after a goal-mouth scramble culminated in Ninkovic clinically rifling his finish into the top corner and past a helpless Galekovic.
In some positive news for Reds fans, Iacopo La Rocca featured off the bench, as he returned from a three-game absence with a hip-flexor injury.
Dylan McGowan prevented the lead from growing any further, executing a number of timely interceptions.
In a match where opportunities were few and far between for United, Carrusca curled a right-footed effort straight at gloveman Danny Vukovic. That strike proved the only shot on target for the Reds, highlighting the defensive resoluteness which has been a cornerstone of the Sky Blues’ success this season.
Adelaide worked hard to salvage something from the clash, but were unable to trouble Vukovic as the hosts held on for the win.
Following the match, Boss Amor, lamented his side’s inability to create clear-cut chances and play the game on their terms.
“It’s true that we’re a team that need the ball, if we don’t have the ball normally it’s difficult to control the game,” Amor said.
“I think we suffered a little bit in the first-half and we defended deep in our (half of the) pitch.
“It’s true Sydney are a good team and press and control moments of the game well and this why they’re first (on the table).
“We didn’t arrive in attack and this is the thing we must improve… And we didn’t create many chances.”
Friday, 20 January 2017
Hyundai A-League Round 16
Sydney FC 2 (Brosque 58’ Ninkovic 60’)
Adelaide United 0
Venue: Allianz Stadium