Adelaide United kicked-off its pre-season with a 0-2 win over local South Australian National Premier League side, Para Hills, on Tuesday night.
Close to 500 football fans flocked to The Paddocks on Tuesday evening, braving some fresh, winter weather, to see Marco Kurz’s squad take the field for the first time ahead of the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 season.
With United’s FFA Cup campaign set to commence on Wednesday, 1 August against fellow Hyundai A-League outfit, Central Coast Mariners, Kurz and his coaching staff utilised their first opportunity to get match-minutes under their players’ belts by fielding a total of 22 Reds.
Kurz handed Adelaide United debuts to new signings Michael Jakobsen and Ken Ilsø, while Craig Goodwin also took to the field in a Reds shirt for the first time since re-joining the Club in May.
Upon kick-off, the Reds were quick to express superiority over their opponents, retaining the vast majority of possession throughout the opening 45 minutes. Nevertheless, Para Hills were eager to take the game to their visitors, pressing United well and unlucky on a couple of occasions not to break-through Kurz’s side’s back-four.
But it took just nine minutes for United to break the deadlock; Nathan Konstandopolous pounced on a neat lay-off from Ilsø following a Ryan Kitto cross. The young midfielder took a touch away from his defender before blasting a left-footed strike into the far, bottom corner, the effort taking a slight deflection as it found its way into the back of the net.
The Reds continued to pressure the Para Hills defence with Ilsø looking very lively in his first 45 minutes of football for Adelaide, the No. 10 very unlucky not to open his account for the Club.
With 24 minutes on the clock, Goodwin and Kitto linked-up superbly on the left flank, the former completing quality one-two for Kitto to whip in a dangerous ball towards the near post. A lurking Ilsø looked to flick-on his header towards the far post, but he wasn’t able to get enough purchase on the ball as the Para Hills ‘keeper collected low to his left.
Four minutes later, Reds Captain, Isaías, gallivanted forward somewhat uncharacteristically, combining with Kristin Konstandopoulos on the right before squaring a typically brilliant ball back for Ilsø, but the Dane’s shot looped over the crossbar.
Towards the end of the first half, Ilsø had an effort stifled by the Para Hills defence from a Marrone cross, Lachlan Brook unleashed a devilish curling strike from distance that almost burst into the back of the net, and Goodwin struck an audacious left-footed volley that fell from above him that was only just palmed to safety.
A host of changes were made throughout the second half, Kurz fielding a number of Paul Pezos’ Youth Team players to complete the match, complimented by the vastly experienced Vince Lia who finished the game captaining the squad.
Yet, despite the relatively inexperienced replacements, the ‘younger’ Reds held their own and added to the score-line through Aladin Irabona in the dying stages, the versatile forward knocking the ball home following a textbook Carlo Armiento cross to the near post.
Tuesday, 10 July 2018
Para Hills 0
Adelaide United 2 (N. Konstandopoulos 9’ Irabona 85’)
Venue: The Paddocks