Adelaide United extinguished Adelaide Olympic’s flame, coming out on top in a massive 5-3 win in Round 12 of the PlayStation 4 National Premier League at The Parks Football Centre on Saturday night.
The Reds shined bright under the lights in an impeccable first half, to earn a 4-0 lead at the break, courtesy of a Ryan Strain penalty, and goals to Aladin Irabona, Jordan Maricic and Hamish McCabe.
However, the tides had turned in the second half when the match came down to the wire as Olympic fought hard to cut down United’s lead.
Adelaide Olympic ignited their spark, as Alex Koutoulogenis and Christos Pounendis fired two goals within minutes of the second stanza, and Tomas Maricic closed in on the deficit by just one goal.
But in the dying minutes, Hamish McCabe completed his brace and ultimately scored the fifth for his side, securing the well-deserved, and desperately needed three points.
In every aspect of the game, Adelaide United performed their best football in the first 45 minutes, with wonderful attacking prowess, and stellar defending from Maricic and Zak Waters.
It took only six minutes for Adelaide United to stun the hosts, as Strain executed the awarded penalty past Olympic ‘keeper, Matthew Pelizzari.
Isaac Richards made some stellar saves once again, punching away a Pounendis volley, which started a counter-attack that saw Captain, Josh Mori almost double the advantage.
As Olympic brought on their attack, it was Irabona in the Red who made the most of his chance, seizing the moment to knock the ball into the bottom-right corner, following flamboyant play by the front three of United.
Two minutes after, in the 28th minute, defender, Maricic levitated the highest to latch his header onto Blake Carpenter’s perfect corner, into the back of the net to make it 3-0.
Hamish and Liam McCabe petrified Olympics defence, as Liam played a slicing ball through for Hamish to finish off nicely.
Fausto Erba almost pegged one back for his side before the break, but his strike clipped over the crossbar from close range.
In wet and windy conditions, Albert Kidd’s side were the better team heading into the second half, fighting back with courage and enforcing the physicality onto the younger Adelaide United.
This was proven as Koutoulogenis struck back within seconds of the half, catching the visitor’s off-guard.
In the 50th minute, Erba was brought down in the penalty area, but Yosief Ambesager wasn’t able to convert the spot-kick.
Adelaide were not out of danger, as Richards tapped away the shot, but then Pounendis hit into the net with anticipation.
Sean Brennan and Koutoulogenis looked dangerous throughout the period, leaving Reds’ fans on the edge of their seats.
Just over the hour mark, Tomas Maricic was able to make it 4-3 as his side sensed a comeback, much to United’s dismay.
Pounendis demanded an equaliser, and came close to doing so, as his volley thumped the crossbar from 5-yards out.
Erba also came close to scoring the leveller, but his shot was off target in the 86th minute.
At the death, Adelaide United reacquired their white-hot form of the first half, when they needed it the most.
In injury time, Hamish McCabe latched onto a pass in a congested 18-yard box, and managed to finish his chance to keep their opponents out of the game.
Adelaide United Head Coach, Huss Skenderovic, admitted that his side became complacent heading into the second half, but said his side has improved since their last meeting with Adelaide Olympic and have developed into a physically stronger team, which helped in achieving the win.
“In the second half, because they are young footballers, they become complacent and they think the game is already won,” he said.
“And when that complacency sits in, you think it is going to be easy, but when Olympic started to come up, it gave them momentum and it changes the whole context of the game.
“But on a positive note, I thought physically, we were fantastic and we stood up from the first time we played them, and we have seen that development, and we are now competing.
FT | We come out on top after a tough second half. Go Reds! 5-3 #AOvAU— Adelaide United YT (@aufc_YouthTeam) May 27, 2017
“Structurally, we were very good and in patches of the second half where we had to defend and fight, we did, and it got us through to get the result.
“Overall, we are happy, because I think we thoroughly deserved it and we played some really good football in the first half.”
Judging on Adelaide United’s first half alone, Skenderovic revealed he was ecstatic with the improvement of his young footballers.
“On a half of football, you enjoy what you see and focus on the principles and we have delivered that.
A great night for both our teams, with the Reserves winning 6-2 #AOvAU— Adelaide United YT (@aufc_YouthTeam) May 27, 2017
“We are ecstatic and we have improved in set pieces as well, which is something we have been working on.
“It is about consistency, which is what we are lacking, but we are still developing, and we will just take it game by game.”
Goal scorer, Hamish McCabe, was utterly pleased with his team’s performance, and his winning goal.
“It was such a great moment for myself and the team, especially how it was tight in the second half, and Olympic piled on the pressure,” he said.
“They were very physical and we couldn’t get much of the ball, but we fought it out and ended up getting the result which we needed.
“We played really well in the first half, and Huss kept telling us to push and it has gone in our favour, and the boys are absolutely stunned.”
Next week, Adelaide United will have another challenge on their hands, as they face Adelaide Comets at The Parks Football Centre, while Adelaide Olympic travel to Marden Sports Complex to play Adelaide Blue Eagles.
Adelaide United 6
Adelaide Olympic 2