Resilient Reds overcome Wellington


A second-half brace from Ken Ilsø has inspired Adelaide United to a come-from-behind 3-1 win over Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Saturday night.

The Dane was instrumental in the second stanza after the Reds fell behind early through Spaniard Mandi.

But a Tom Doyle own goal on the stroke of half-time got Adelaide fortuitously back into the match, before the Dane struck twice in the space of 18 minutes.

Marco Kurz made four changes, some tactical and others forced, to the starting line-up that lost to Perth Glory two weeks’ ago. Taylor Regan received his maiden appearance of the season replacing Michael Jakobsen (soreness), while Michael Marrone was given the nod at right-back.

Ilsø made his third league start of the year, leading the line, and Ryan Kitto his first with Ben Halloran on the other flank.

It was a cagey start from both teams as they struggled to find any fluency to their play, before Wellington began to show more purpose going forward.

Their endeavour was rewarded on 14 minutes when Mandi hit a bouncing effort past Paul Izzo after he was unable to adequately clear the ball.

The Reds’ concession seemed to spark them into life after lacking rhythm in the opening half hour.

But they could not have envisaged equalising in the manner that they did as United were invited back into the contest right on half-time.

Halloran’s cross from the left picked out Doyle, who got his positioning all wrong and headed past his own goalkeeper.

The second-half commenced with a bang as Ilsø scored his first goal for the Club with a sensational header to make it 2-1. Michael Marrone’s expert delivery was inch-perfect for the 31-year-old to steer his effort past Filip Kurto.

And he was credited with United’s third, after some initial confusion, as the ball also appeared to ricochet off Doyle again and beyond the gloveman.

Halloran ignited the move, surging forward and threading a pass to Kitto, whose back post cross deflected off both the Dane and Doyle on 65 minutes.

Adelaide played smart football to see out the match, limiting the Phoenix’s chances, while exploiting them on the counter.

Halloran almost scored his first league goal in stoppage time, but squandered his header from Nikola Mileusnić’s cross.

However, it was rendered inconsequential as United bounced back and extend their unbeaten streak to nine matches against the New Zealand outfit.

Key moments:

14’ | GOAL: Izzo’s punch is cleared but only as far as Mandi and rifles his bouncing effort into the ground and in from the edge of the box.

45’+1’ | GOAL! Adelaide get back into match through Doyle’s own goal after he headed in Halloran’s cross.

Ben Halloran's cross forces a Wellington own goal.

47’ | GOAL! Ilsø connects with Marrone’s incisive cross and heads past Kurto for the lead.

Ken Ilsø scores his first Adelaide United goal!

65’ | GOAL! An excellent attacking move sees Halloran dribble forward before feeding Kitto and his low cross finds Ilsø who manages to deflect his tap-in off Doyle.

Ken Ilsø doubles his tally.

Match details:
Saturday, 24 November 2018
Hyundai A-League 2018/19 – Round 5
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Mandi 14’)
Adelaide United 3 (OG Doyle 45+1’ Ilsø 47’ 65’)
Venue: Westpac Stadium