Verbeek lauds Reds' fightback after third successive league win
Adelaide United’s ability to overturn an early deficit by scoring “three beautiful goals” in their 3-1 victory against Central Coast Mariners pleased Gertjan Verbeek.
The Reds marched to their third straight win and fourth including the FFA Cup Final 2019 triumph in Gosford on Saturday, thanks to a rampant response after initially falling behind.
Ben Halloran, Nikola Mileusnić and Kristian Opseth all found the net in the first-half to render Milan Duric’s opener from the penalty spot inconsequential.
Verbeek said while he was satisfied with the three points, he lamented the team’s wastefulness midway during the second-half when they squandered several chances to put the game to bed.
“I think we started well in the game but I found that our opponent was a little bit more aggressive in the first 10, 15, 20 minutes which cost us a goal,” Verbeek told reporters after the match.
“After that we became better in the game and I think we scored three beautiful goals.
“The second-half the first 15 minutes was okay and I think the break point was the penalty we missed and it motivated the opponent.
“We got a lot of space in transition but we were sloppy and we also got tired, but I was not afraid that we could lose that game.
“But still it’s a pity we didn’t get the form back from the first-half.”
Curaçao international, Michaël Maria, was deployed at left-back and enjoyed his most productive outing after being a catalyst down the left flank.
The 24-year-old was involved in Halloran’s equaliser before marauding forward and assisting Mileusnić’s stunning volley.
Verbeek, familiar with Maria’s qualities having coached him at VfL Bochum and FC Twente, praised his versatility.
“I’ve known (Michaël) Maria for a long time also from Holland,” he said.
“And I know he’s an all-round player because I had to use him against Melbourne City as a right winger and also in the second-half as a right-back.
“So it’s always nice for a trainer to have some players in your squad that can fill in many positions.
“We got him for the left side, left wing, left midfielder, left-back.”
While it was a rather comprehensive performance, Captain Michael Jakobsen and Mileusnić both succumbed to injury.
However, the Dutchman hoped their issues were not too serious and would be available for next weekend’s Original Rivalry clash against Melbourne Victory.
“I’m not so worried about Mileusnić,” he revealed.
“I think that’s more a very sprint type and his muscles get tired.
“For Jakobsen it’s a little bit worse. It’s back pain. A stiff back and he already had it two years back when he was playing for Melbourne City.
“He got some injections and after that it was better but it’s coming back so we’ll see, I hope it’s only this week and by the traveling and the training and next week with a little bit more rest he’ll be back again.”
Adelaide United host Melbourne Victory in Round 7 of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season on Saturday, 23 November at Coopers Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.00pm ACDT. Gates open at 5.30pm. Live and Exclusive on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports and the My Football Live App.