Adelaide United suffered a heart-breaking 2-1 defeat in the dying minute for the second consecutive match against Melbourne Victory in Round 3 of the Hyundai A-League at Coopers Stadium.
Tarek Elrich’s stunning curling effort initially cancelled out Besart Berisha’s first-half strike, however Marco Rojas delivered the killer blow in the 93rd minute to give Victory the win.
Reds Head Coach, Guillermo Amor, made one change to the starting XI for the match against the Victory, with winger Ryan Kitto replacing the injured Sergio Cirio.
Adelaide looked to stamp their authority on the clash in the opening few minutes, as their level of intensity matched the electric atmosphere reverberating around the stands.
On 11 minutes, the hosts created the first attempt on goal with Kitto’s teasing low cross finding Henrique at the back post, whose shot forced gloveman Lawrence Thomas into action. As the game ebbed and flowed, it was the Reds who continued to dominate possession, though the Victory appeared threatening on the break.
And it was Melbourne who struck first courtesy of a swift attacking move, culminating in Marco Rojas’ square ball to Berisha, who calmly finished past Eugene Galekovic.
On the rare occasion when Kevin Muscat’s men pushed forward after their goal, Dylan McGowan and Jesse Makarounas committed vital interceptions to prevent the deficit from increasing. Striker Sergi Guardiola thought he had netted his first goal as a Red, but he was denied spectacularly by Thomas.
On the stroke of half-time Kitto was also thwarted by the Victory gloveman, as the visitors survived a barrage of Adelaide attacks before the interval.
The second-half was all one-way traffic from the hosts as they continued to probe the Victory’s goal, however they were unable to muster any clear-cut chances.
Nevertheless, the Reds duly restored parity through a sensational Elrich strike. The right-back received the ball from Kitto, before cutting inside onto his weaker foot, curling his shot right into the top left-hand corner.
With 10 minutes remaining Adelaide piled the pressure on the Victory in search of a winner. Isaias forced Thomas into a diving save, after curling a wonderful free-kick.
And minutes later, United agonisingly hit the upright twice in the space of as many minutes. Substitute Danny Choi nearly sent the home crowd into a frenzy when he struck the outside of the post with a thunderous low drive, while Guardiola smashed the woodwork from close range.
And Adelaide were again made to rue their missed opportunities as Rojas tapped home the winner with virtually the last kick of the game.
Following the pulsating clash, United boss Amor lamented his side’s misfortune, but was extremely proud of the performance from his players.
“When you don’t win, you can think a lot of things, but it’s true that today I think the team deserved more, the team deserved a better result,” Amor said.
“And we lose another time in the last minute and this is hard for us but this is football … and always we improve.
“I liked the game today, our team played fantastic, fantastic, fantastic.
“It’s impossible to say bad things and the attitude of the players in which they controlled moments for me was very good.”
Saturday, 22 October 2016
Hyundai A-League Round 3
Adelaide United 1 (Elrich 68’)
Melbourne Victory 2 (Berisha 20’ Rojas 90’)
Venue: Coopers Stadium