Adelaide United has lost to Spanish giants, Villarreal CF, 3-2 as part of the LFP World Challenge on Friday night at Coopers Stadium.
United took a deserved 2-0 lead through Craig Goodwin and Michael Marrone by the hour mark, but Villarreal rallied and managed to convert three second half goals to seal the victory for the Yellow Submarine.
With the game being somewhat of a friendly on paper, neither side treated it like one as both teams searched for the opening goal as soon as first whistle went.
The opening stages of the match were definitely one-sided, though, as Villarreal exploded out of the blocks and had a couple of strong chances in the opening ten minutes.
Their first was essentially a double chance through both Gerard and Villarreal’s captain, Bruno. However, Gerard’s initial shot was saved well by Eugene Galekovic and Bruno’s follow up strike was deflected out for a corner.
From here, the two teams traded half-chances until the 24th minute when United had a firm penalty appeal waved away by referee, Peter Green. After some neat play between Pablo Sanchez and Cirio, Cirio was through on goal but seemingly had his legs clipped, but Green saw nothing wrong with the challenge on the Reds’ no. 9 and play was allowed to continue.
This sprung the La Liga outfit into life and they tried to utilise their speed on the counterattack to get in behind the Reds defence from the flanks. But neat cover from Michael Marrone and Tarek Elrich on either wing dealt with the majority of the threats.
In the 27th minute former Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur forward, Giovani dos Santos, struck the post and six minutes later Moi Gomez had a great chance to open the scoring but he scuffed his shot and Galekovic collected with ease.
But against the run of play, United took the lead through Craig Goodwin when his acute angled strike deflected off the far post and past Juan Carlos Sanchez in Villarreal’s goal. Goodwin’s chance was created when Cirio burst through the middle of the park and ran half the length of the field to play in Goodwin, who didn’t need a second invitation to strike on-goal.
Come the second half and the Reds doubled their lead after just six minutes through Michael Marrone when the defender was left unmarked at the back post and calmly headed home.
But Villarreal pulled their first goal back soon after through Manu Trigueros and despite United’s determination to find their third, the Yellow Submarine scored a further two goals late into the match through Luciano Vietto and Gerard to leave South Australia victorious.
After the game, Josep Gombau said although he was happy with the majority of the game, he was disappointed his side dropped off at the end of the game, but highlighted the tremendous feats the club was able to achieve.
“I think that we did a good game until we got a little bit tired,” Gombau explained. “The team played well and in some moments in the game I think that we had even more possession and the control of the game.
“But in the end the last fifteen minutes the team physically went a little bit down because for three weeks we’ve not had (competitive games).
“We need to think that Villarreal is a team that is very good and if you make mistakes they will profit from them.
“But I feel we’ve ended the season in a good way in terms of the style of our play, but it’s unfortunate we couldn’t get the result (tonight).
“We’ve played a very good season and we are happy for what we did and if you think that we’re one of the teams that spent little money (on players), and we finished third, won the FFA Cup, and (qualified) for the Asian Champions League.
“We can’t complain.”
Friday, 29 May 2015
LFP World Challenge
Adelaide United 2 (Goodwin 34’, Marrone 51’)
Villarreal CF 3 (Trigueros 63’, Vietto 86’, Gerard 90+1’)
Venue: Coopers Stadium