A first-half double from Adelaide United’s Bruce Djite secured the three points for Guillermo Amor’s men, seeing the Reds sit at the top of the Hyundai A-League table after Saturday night.
Strikes in the 26th and 45th minute from Bruce Djite returned the Reds to the summit of the Hyundai A-League standings, piling the misery onto Graham Arnold’s Sky Blues.
A patient opening 45 minutes from the Reds saw the visitors control possession confidently, bossing the Sky Blues from early on and totally dictating the intensity of the contest.
Initially, chances were few and far between for both teams, but United’s momentum increased with each passing minute, and so too their dangerousness in front of goal.
Come the 15th minute, the Reds looked to have found the perfect opening to rightfully take the lead when Djite held the ball up well and fed Stefan Mauk on the right wing. Mauk then squared the ball back for Djite, who struck firmly from ten yards out, but straight into the midriff of Vedran Jenjetovic.
But United didn’t have to wait much longer to find the opener, coming through Djite in the 26th minute. A Michael Marrone cross that was clipped in towards the near post wasn’t cleared by Zach Anderson, the defender forcing his goalkeeper into palming the ball to safety, however he instead palmed it into the path of Djite, who made no mistake from point-blank range.
With the advantage, the Reds continued to dictate the football and found more openings as the half wore on. But to Sydney’s credit, the hosts tightened their defensive efforts and prevented United from extending their lead.
Throughout the first-half, Marrone made countless runs on the right flank, while Sergio Cirio drove down the opposite wing frequently, both troubling the Sky Blues’ fullbacks, Riley Woodcock and Aaron Calver.
On the stroke of half-time, though, Djite bagged his second and doubled the Reds’ lead when he rifled home an unstoppable strike with his left boot from just within the 18-yard-box.
The second-half was largely dominated by United and Djite was unfortunate not to have bagged the second Hyundai A-League hat-trick of his career.
The Reds were able to hold off some later Sydney pressure, in what was a lacklustre performance from the hosts, who only mustered two shots on target the entire game.
Following the match, Guillermo Amor spoke of his delight at the way his squad responded to the pressure of battling Sydney with top spot up for grabs, hailing the Reds’ performance as “fantastic”.
“It was a perfect performance and we were fantastic,” Amor said. “The attitude of our players was fantastic the entire game and, (I say it often), but it’s true.
“These players (always work hard) and it is a pleasure to be the coach of this group.
Amor then made clear how United’s thoughts now turn to their final game of the season, against Melbourne City, in what could decide the Premiers’ Plate.
“We can always improve and after we look at the (video) of the game, we will prepare well for (Melbourne City).
“We won today and we played well and we are comfortable, but it’s important to always remember there’s room to improve.
“We will only think of our game against Melbourne, now, on Friday night. We’re focused on playing a good game and after that we will see.”
Saturday, 2 April 2016
Hyundai A-League Round 26
Sydney FC 0
Adelaide United 2 (Djite 26’ 45’)
Venue: Allianz Stadium