Reds remain top despite City loss

A second-half goal from Nick Fitzgerald caused Adelaide United to fall 1-0 to Melbourne City, ending the Reds’ unbeaten run of 14 games.

A near-capacity crowd of 14,274 people were in attendance as the Reds’ 14-match undefeated streak came to an end following a Nick Fitzgerald curling strike. 

From kick-off, the Reds were straight at City’s heels, creating three half chances in the opening three minutes. But the visitors soon sorted themselves out at the back, moving the ball well through midfield and winning a couple of free-kicks in promising positions. 

The two teams were eager to let the ball do the talking, but many needless fouls restricted the sides from settling into any true rhythm. 

George Mells distributed the ball confidently from a few testing positions, while Bruce Djite did his part by holding play up well, laying off to the arriving support of Marcelo Carrusca, Stefan Mauk, or Craig Goodwin, on occasion. 

However the first real chance of the match came from an Aaron Mooy free-kick, 30-yards from goal. Iacopo La Rocca brought down Harry Novillo, who was surging through the middle of the park, allowing Mooy to test the reflexes of Eugene Galekovic. The ‘keeper was equal to the task, though, stretching to the top right corner of his goal and tipping Mooy’s curling effort wide for a corner. 

Carrusca, Djite, and Mauk combined well for the Reds, especially on the edge of City’s defensive box, but for a Carrusca whipping effort from 20 yards, Melbourne goalkeeper, Thomas Sorensen, was largely untested. 

But Guillermo Amor was forced to withdraw Carrusca at half-time, the Argentine suffering soreness in his groin, calling upon the youthful exuberance of Bruce Kamau as a result. 

With the Reds sustaining some early pressure soon after the restart, their defensive pairing of Dylan McGowan and Iacopo La Rocca were kept rather busy, but the two managed to clear any posing threat with relative ease. 

United managed to apply pressure of their own, Kamau looking lively on the right wing and linking up well with Michael Marrone. Yet the Reds weren’t able to muster any clear-cut chances during what was their most promising spell prior to City taking the lead. 

In the end it took a moment of quality from Fitzgerald to break the deadlock, the winger curling home a left-footed effort with incredible precision, denying Galekovic a clean sheet on his 250th Adelaide appearance. 

Djite went in search of an instant response with a powerful, low drive but it was only just saved by Sorensen, who had to dive down to his right quickly. 

The striker had two chances later on in the piece, first from a Kamau cross, but Djite wasn’t able to direct his glanced header towards goal. The second was another headed effort, but it narrowly missed the top right corner. 

The hosts threw everything forward in the remaining few moments of the match, but they weren’t able to level the scores, however remain the Hyundai A-League’s number one ranked side. 

Reflecting on the result, Amor said he could not fault the efforts of his men, regardless of the score line, but 

“Its important to learn things from your football,” Amor said. “In the games that you win, you learn, but when you lose, you learn more. 

“We don’t like to lose games, but it’s possible when you play against good teams (like Melbourne City). 

“The level of our players is very good. The players that played today, for me, their performance was good. 

“It’s very difficult for me to say something negative about our players because they gave their all. 

“But in the A-League, the teams are all difficult and it depends on the day (which team will win).” 

Amor also elaborated on the state of Carrusca, saying: “We decided to rest Chelo and not risk him. 

“We will check tomorrow (the extent of the injury), but at this moment, we don’t know.”  

Match details: 
Friday, 11 March 2016
Hyundai A-League Round 23
Adelaide United 0
Melbourne City 1 (Fitzgerald 71’) 
Venue: Coopers Stadium
Attendance: 14,274