The Hyundai A-Leagues’ Big Wednesday has proved enormous for Adelaide United FC as it ended Melbourne Heart’s five game winning streak.
The Hyundai A-Leagues- Big Wednesday has proved enormous for Adelaide United FC as the Reds put stop to Melbourne Heart-s five game winning streak with a comprehensive 3-1 win at AAMI Park.
A brace from striker Sergio van Dijk and a fourth goal of the season from Dario Vidosic gave the Reds their first win away from home since an emphatic victory over Melbourne-s other team at the same ground back in January 2011.
Eli Babalj scored a late consolation for the Heart but it was not going to stop the Reds making it consecutive wins and lifting them into the top six, at least for now, while the result also maintained the Reds- perfect record at AAMI Park.
After the teams acknowledged a moment-s silence prior to kick-off to mark the passing of former Socceroo Murray Barnes, the Reds found themselves under the blowtorch in the opening 15 minutes as the home side looked to inflict an early blow.
But despite some precarious moments United weathered the early Heart storm and van Dijk settled the nerves with the Reds- first shot of the match in the 15th minute, albeit a tame one that rolled harmlessly wide of the mark.
Three minutes later Fabian Barbiero narrowly failed to capitalise on an inviting Cameron Watson cross, the Reds beginning to worry the Heart defence with a number of purposeful runs from midfield.
Carrying the underdog tag, United then stunned the Heart in the 36th minute when Bruce Djite was brought down by Simon Colosimo in the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot.
Without a goal in his last seven games, van Dijk stepped up and sent a low hard penalty to the left of Heart keeper Clint Bolton to end his goal scoring drought and put the Reds in front.
Aziz Behich had a great chance to equalise for the Heart in the final seconds of the first half when he weaved his way into the Reds- penalty area, but he could not beat Eugene Galekovic.
Back in the starting eleven, Zenon Caravella was enjoying the chance to play in a creative midfield role and in the 48th minute his link up with van Dijk and Vidosic, after Djite had done well to win the ball initially, saw the Reds extend their lead.
Caravella played a one-two with van Dijk, allowing the former to slot a ball through the defence into the path of Vidosic, who showed strength, pace and poise to hold off a defender and slide a shot past the oncoming Bolton and into the empty net.
Melbourne substitute Curtis Good rifled a low drive just wide of the post in a worrying moment for Galekovic in the 55th minute, the Reds holding onto their two goal buffer.
Coach John Kosmina-s confidence in his side was highlighted when he brought off Djite, Vidosic and Caravella, with 16 year old Jacob Melling coming on to make his Hyundai A-League debut.
If a two goal margin was still not safe enough, in the 79th minute van Dijk made it three for good measure when Francisco Usucar delivered a clever ball to the space on the striker-s favourable left side, van Dijk holding off his marker to blast a shot across Bolton for his second of the afternoon.
The goal was trademark van Dijk and put the Reds on their way to a deserved three points.
Late on the Heart managed to create a number of chances, Alex Terra bringing out the best of Galekovic before Babalj missed a golden chance as he blazed a shot over the bar from the edge of the six yard box.
Babalj did manage to beat Galekovic in added time but it was all smiles at the final whistle for the Reds and Kosmina, who credited his team-s character in absorbing the Heart-s early barrage and going on to produce one of the club-s best performances of the season.
“They-ve been in that situation in the past and things haven-t gone right, they-ve got worse, but they recovered and responded and didn-t cave in,” Komsina said of his charges.
“In the first 15 minutes we got a little bit rattled because they had good movement and we weren-t sure when to go and when not to, but once we found our feet, we started getting a few passes together.”
“Once we got a feel for it we started to get some good possession, we started to play some good football and all of a sudden the confidence lifted.”
This rise in confidence is certain to make Saturday-s home match against champions Brisbane Roar a tantalising fixture. Tickets for the match are available through Ticketek.
Match Details Melbourne Heart 1 (Babalj 90+1-) Adelaide United FC 3 (van Dijk 38- (pen)/79-, Vidosic 48-) Referee: Kris Griffiths Jones Crowd: 8,272 @ AAMI Park
Melbourne Heart line-up: 1.Clint Bolton (gk), 2.Michael Marrone, 3.Brendan Hamill, 4. Simon Colosimo (18.Curtis Good 41-), 6.Matt Thompson (c), 7.Rutger Worm (15.David Williams 55-), 16.Aziz Behich, 17.Jason Hoffman (11.Alex Terra 63-), 19.Eli Babalj, 23.Mate Dugandzic, 25.Adrian Madaschi
Substitutes not used: 30.Sebastian Mattei (gk) Yellow Cards: Nil Red Cards: Nil
Adelaide United line-up: 1.Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 3.Nigel Boogaard, 5.Daniel Mullen, 7.Zenon Caravella (2.Osama Malik 71-), 9.Sergio van Dijk, 10.Dario Vidosic (15.Jacob Melling 78-), 11.Bruce Djite (17.Iain Ramsay 69-), 12.Antony Golec, 14.Cameron Watson, 18.Fabian Barbiero, 21.Francisco Usucar
Substitutes not used: 20.Mark Birighitti (gk) Yellow Cards: Golec 60-, Barbiero 80-, Mullen 84- Red Cards: Nil