Resolute Reds hold Wellington scoreless

Adelaide United snapped a three-game losing streak with a hard fought 0-0 draw against Wellington Phoenix in Round 13 of the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 season at Westpac Stadium on New Year’s Day.

In inclement conditions, neither side could break the deadlock as Adelaide gallantly earned a vital point, after repelling a late barrage of Phoenix incursions into the box. The result means the Reds have now kept the Phoenix scoreless in four consecutive meetings.

Reds Head Coach, Guillermo Amor, was forced to make two changes to his starting XI with Nikola Mileusnic and Taylor Regan superseding injured pair Marcelo Carrusca and Iacopo La Rocca respectively.

Proceedings started in end-to-end fashion with both sides looking to grab the ascendency early in what were wet and blustery circumstances – not conducive to playing attractive football.

Tarek Elrich, celebrating his birthday, was lively throughout the encounter marauding up and down the flank. His first involvement forward saw the defender cut inside on to his non-preferred foot, before dragging his effort off target.

Goalkeeper and Club Captain, Eugene Galekovic was called into action on several occasions during the match and answered expertly.

With United defending in numbers, they arguably should have taken the lead, albeit against the run of play. A swift attacking move involving Sergio Cirio saw his cut-back fall to Mileusnic with the latter firing his strike over the crossbar from nine yards out.

The Phoenix’s Hamish Watson and Roy Krishna proved a handful for the Reds rearguard, but fortunately were kept mostly quiet, courtesy of the steadfastness illustrated by Dylan McGowan and Regan.

After the interval, the sometimes hasty encounter brought about a plethora of cautions to both sets of players for a range of professional and reckless fouls.

However, it still made for intriguing viewing with Wellington largely dominating possession and chances in front of goal. To Adelaide’s credit, the aforementioned McGowan, Regan and Elrich threw their bodies on the line and committed a catalogue of vital interceptions to keep the clean sheet intact.

But the ‘Nix did appear certain to score when Watson squared to Kosta Barbarouses only for Galekovic to make a sensational smothered save from close range. Meanwhile, Adelaide’s best opportunity in the second-half occurred when substitute Ryan Kitto executed a venomous shot from distance on 62 minutes, which went inches wide of the upright.

The South Australian’s had to remain resolute right until the final whistle with the Reds surviving a wave of attacks. Galekovic commanded his area extremely well, dealing with Gui Finkler’s dangerous in-swinging corners and free-kick, Watson’s follow-up attempt and Adam Parkhouse’s hit. 

Following the match, Boss Amor, was proud of his side’s defensive effort and said the performance is a step in the right direction to resurrect their campaign. 

“The feeling is good and we didn’t lose and in this moment for us it’s very important,” Amor said.

“I think the first-half we played at a good level, in the second-half the last minutes it’s possible we suffered.

“But this is one step (in the right direction), the performance of the team was good, it was positive, the players are in a good moment and this is very important.

“The defence and the centre-backs played very well today… In the midfield I think (Sergio) Cirio, Isaias and James (Holland) played fantastic.”

Match details:  
Sunday, 1 January 2017 
Hyundai A-League Round 13
Wellington Phoenix 0
Adelaide United 0
Venue: Westpac Stadium