Quick-fire goals from Isaías, Stefan Mauk, and Bruce Djite, followed by a Pablo Sánchez penalty late in the second half saw the Reds past Central Coast Mariners on Sunday.
It was a delightful Easter Sunday at Coopers Stadium for Adelaide United, Guillermo Amor’s men cruising past the Mariners, winning 4-2. The win completed a domestic hat-trick over Central Coast, and notched up the Reds’ fourth straight victory over their Round 25 opponents.
Within the opening three minutes both Marcelo Carrusca and Bruce Djite sought to test former teammate, Paul Izzo, in goal for the Mariners. Carrusca sent a stinging, side-footed effort low to the ‘keeper’s left, which was parried to safety, whilst Djite turned and rifled a drive that narrowly missed the top corner.
But the Mariners grew into the game well, and after a good spell of pressure managed to take the lead through Roy O’Donovan. The Irishman skipped away from Dylan McGowan after being sent through on goal by Liam Rose, cutting back onto his left and slotting neatly past Eugene Galekovic.
United responded very well to going a goal down and weren’t behind for long, with Sergio Cirio and Bruce Kamau lively on the flanks, while Carrusca and Stefan Mauk continued to look for openings through the middle of the park.
The Reds’ equaliser came through an unlikely source – a long-range Isaías strike that dipped late and nestled into the bottom corner of Izzo’s goal.
Five minutes later, Mauk doubled the hosts’ lead with a fantastic solo goal. Mauk danced through Central Coast’s defence with ease and beat Izzo just as simply.
Djite bagged United’s third shortly after when incredible interplay between the forward and Craig Goodwin bemused the Mariners’ defenders and allowed Djite to slide home.
Following the break, a more reserved Reds returned to the field, eager to hold onto their lead rather than extend it and risk losing the three points. But, just before the hour mark, Djite managed to beat Izzo again, but he was denied his brace for being offside.
In the 70th minute, Carrusca picked up the ball on the edge of the 18-yard-box after being fed by Goodwin, the Argentine attempting to curl his effort within the far post, but Izzo was equal to the task and palmed it clear.
With ten minutes left on the clock, second half substitute Pablo Sánchez, who successfully made his return from injury, earned and dispatched a calm penalty to give the Reds some more breathing room.
And that was exactly what United needed after O’Donovan smacked an unstoppable volley past Galekovic to reduce the Reds’ advantage back to two goals.
Into the dying stages of the match, both Mate Dugandzic and George Mells had chances to score a fifth for Adelaide, but they were marginally denied.
Post-match, Amor was full of praise for the way his side reacted to conceding a goal early in the match, adding that the result could have been larger had the Reds finished more of their chances.
“In this moment, when we only have a few games left over in the season, you have to win games and the points become very important,” Amor said.
“Central Coast are in a different situation to us and they played here without presser and were calm.
“This can be difficult, when the two teams are in these different situations.
“When we started the game we wanted to have control and go with patience. We went with this idea but the game became a little open.
“We conceded the goal we had to start again and reacted well and this is very good. We recovered the control of the game and the team did well.
“From today, what is important is the result and the three points. We created a lot of chances and the result could have been better, but it’s okay.
“We (will watch) the video (of the game) and we will improve a lot of things for our next game (against Sydney FC).”
Sunday, 27 March 2016
Hyundai A-League Round 25
Adelaide United 4 (Isaías 30’ Mauk 35’ Djite 38’ Pablo Sánchez 81’)
Central Coast Mariners 2 (O’Donovan 16’ 83’)
Venue: Coopers Stadium