Reds rally to extend unbeaten run

For the second week running, Adelaide United FC has fought back from a goal down, this time in a pulsating 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.

For the second week running, Adelaide United FC has fought back from a goal down, this time in a pulsating 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.

Just as he did last week against Brisbane Roar, Sergio van Dijk was the one to put the Reds on level terms, his 53rd minute strike and fifth goal of the season cancelling out Archie Thompson-s 6th minute opener.

In a game very much of two halves, a Harry Kewell inspired Victory dominated the opening 45 minutes before the Reds- new found character was on full display as they finished over the top of their rivals but could not land a knockout blow.

Despite having to settle for a point, the result extends the Reds- unbeaten run to five matches, maintains Coach John Kosmina-s undefeated record since taking charge and also sees Adelaide United crowned the inaugural winners of the Kosmina-Muscat Cup after two draws and a win against the Victory this season.

Having watched his team be under the pump from the Victory in the first half, Kosmina was pleased with the way the Reds came through it and believes it was a valuable learning curve against a more experienced Victory outfit.

“I think over the course of the whole game we played some decent football, but the second half in particular, we made a few adjustments at half time and we got our rhythm going as well,” Kosmina said.

“I think we were a bit shell shocked to be honest in the first 10 minutes. We-ve still got a lot of pretty raw players if you look at A-League experience as opposed to Melbourne Victory and our guys were maybe a little bit intimidated but that-s how you learn, so overall it was probably a fair result.”

Again everyone in a red shirt made a significant contribution, although Kosmina reserved a special mention young local talent Osama Malik, who was promoted to the starting line up after coming off the bench in the Reds- last four games.

“He (Malik) had a blinder…he was outstanding tonight. He was spraying passes around, he did a really good job on Carlos (Hernandez) and I think he-s a player with massive potential and we-re going to start working on developing that,” Kosmina said.

Under new coach Jim Magilton, the Victory stormed out of the blocks. The Reds were under siege and in the 5th minute Kewell released Thompson in space down the left with just Eugene Galekovic to beat, but the Reds keeper did well to stick out his left boot, the ball taking just enough of a deflection to ricochet off the post and away from danger.

But before the Reds could breathe a sigh of relief, Kewell and Thompson were at it again a minute later and this time they made the Reds pay. Kewell beat Cameron Watson and Zenon Caravella on the left edge of the penalty area, giving the former Leeds and Liverpool midfielder time to send in a pinpoint ball for Thompson who was on hand to knock it into the back of the net from within a metre.

A timely fist from Ante Covic denied van Dijk from getting a head on an enticing left footed cross from Watson, before a superb chase and tackle from Malik prevented Thompson from pulling the trigger at the other end, the Victory trying to sting the Reds on the counter.

Nigel Boogaard produced an equally impressive effort to again dispossess Thompson as the Reds prevented the lead from blowing out further at the break.

A brilliant save from Galekovic with his left hand in the 47th minute kept out a Hernandez free kick which was unintentionally helped on by a Watson header, before Allsopp missed a guilt edged chance to extend the Victory-s lead when he failed to hit the target with a free header from a Kewell cross.

Allsopp-s miss became United-s gain as van Dijk squared it up when a tantalising Dario Vidosic corner had the Victory panicking, the ball coming off the cross bar and falling kindly for van Dijk at the far post, the marksman with enough time to send the ball past Covic.

A string of in swinging Vidosic corners continued to give Covic all kinds of problems, the Reds suddenly well on top.

Kewell tried to tip the ledger back in the home side-s favour when unleashed a vicious shot after a mazy run in the 69th minute but it rattled against the crossbar.

Vidosic then tried his luck as he forced a save from Covic, the Reds number 10 beginning to tease the Victory defence. Bruce Djite was working tirelessly again and Boogaard sent a header narrowly wide, but a deciding goal eluded the Reds in another highly entertaining encounter between the two great rivals.

The assignments do not get any easier for the Reds as they now prepare to face league leaders, the Central Coast Mariners, in Gosford on January 21.

Match Details Melbourne Victory 1 (Thompson 6-) Adelaide United FC 1 (van Dijk 53-) Referee: Jarred Gillett Crowd: 20,959 @ AAMI Park

Melbourne Victory line-up: 21.Ante Covic (GK), 2.Matthew Foschini, 3.Fabio, 6.Leigh Broxham, 8.Grant Brebner (4.Petar Franjic 87-), 10.Archie Thompson, 12.Rodrigo Vargas, 16.Carlos Hernandez (13.Diogo Ferreira 71-), 18.Danny Allsopp (9.Jean Carlos Solorzano 64-), 22.Harry Kewell, 23.Adrian Leijer (c)

Substitutes not used: 20.Lawrence Thomas (GK) Yellow Cards: Brebner 44-, Fabio 82- Red Cards: Nil

Adelaide United line-up: 1.Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard, 5.Daniel Mullen, 7.Zenon Caravella, 9.Sergio van Dijk, 10.Dario Vidosic, 11.Bruce Djite, 12.Antony Golec, 14.Cameron Watson, 18.Fabian Barbiero (15.Jacob Melling 75-)

Substitutes not used: 17.Iain Ramsay, 20.Mark Birighitti (gk), 21.Francisco Usucar Yellow Cards: Boogaard 66- Red Cards: Nil