A last-gasp penalty from Marcelo Carrusca has helped Adelaide United to a thrilling 2-1 win over Sydney FC at Coopers Stadium on Friday night.
Sky Blues fullback Alex Gersbach was dismissed midway through the first half before James Jeggo put the Reds in the lead just past the hour mark with a stunning strike from distance.
Under-fire marquee Filip Holosko appeared to have salvaged a point for Sydney with 20 minutes remaining with a audacious finish before a clumsy challenge from Jacques Faty in stoppage time allowed Carrusca to net the winner.
1-0 (James Jeggo 62’) – Dylan McGowan expertly knocked the ball down into the path of Jeggo on the edge of the area with the midfielder smashing a first-time drive past the helpless Janjetovic.
1-1 (Filip Holosko 70’) – Milos Ninkovic rose highest to win a header on the edge of the box before finding Holosko inside the area. The Slovakian cleverly controlled the ball on his chest before dinking a delightful shot on the turn over the stranded Eugene Galekovic.
2-1 (Marcelo Carrusca 90+4) – Jacques Faty clumsily brought down Ryan McGowan inside the area deep into stoppage time to give Marcelo Carrusca the chance to win it from the penalty spot. The Argentinian coolly slotted his shot into the roof of the net past Vedran Janjetovic.
In an opening stanza devoid of genuine quality, Adelaide almost found the opener through an audacious free kick from Spaniard Pablo Sanchez. The striker whipped in a fizzing ball from close to the touchline which bamboozled Sydney FC shot-stopper Vedran Janjetovic before smashing into the crossbar.
Sydney FC were forced to absorb a glut of pressure in the second stanza but appeared certain to fall behind in the 55th minute before the intervention of goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic. The shot-stopper produced a stunning reflex save to deny Pablo Sanchez from point blank range after a delightful cross from James Jeggo.
Sydney FC young gun Alex Gersbach produced a moment of madness in the 28th minute, correctly shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Reds midfielder James Jeggo.
It was a largely stop-start affair at Coopers Stadium with a total of 34 fouls, five yellow cards and one red punctuating a somewhat spiteful clash.
THE FINAL WORD
Graham Arnold will be pleased with his side’s endeavor after being forced to play much of the match with only 10 players.
Skipper Alex Brosque and Andrew Hoole will be welcome additions for Sydney FC’s trip to Wellington next weekend, though Arnold will need to rejig his defensive structure with the suspension of Gersbach.
Filip Holosko’s second goal of the season will ease the pressure on the marquee and could give the Slovakian some much needed confidence after an indifferent start to the season.
Adelaide have now won two on the bounce and are beginning to show signs of improvement especially in the attacking third.
The Reds will look to next week’s clash against the Jets as a real opportunity to grab their third win of the season and close the gap on the top six.
Adelaide United: Galekovic (GK), Marrone, McGowan, Elsey, Elrich, Carrusca, Isaias, Jeggo, Cirio, Pablo Sanchez, Goodwin
Sydney FC: Janjetovic (GK), Grant, Ryall, Jurman, Gersbach, Dimitrijevic (O’Neill 73’), Ninkovic, Tavares, Holosko, Smeltz, Naumoff (Faty 29’)
Scorers: Jeggo 62’, Holosko 70’, Carrusca 90+4
Red cards: Gersbach 28’
Yellow cards: Elrich 6’, Jurman 8’, Galekovic 36’, Dimitrijevic 57’, Elsey 82’
Conditions: Fine 19c