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Reds leave it late at soggy Coopers Stadium

Adelaide United left it late to defeat Wellington 2-1 in front of just under 10,000 fans at a rainy Coopers Stadium on Saturday evening.

Roly Bonevacia opened the scoring for the visitors, before Nigel Boogaard equalised for the Reds in a thoroughly entertaining first half. A 94th minute goal from Sergio Cirio sent the home fans into raptures, as Adelaide jump, at least temporarily, into first place on the A-League ladder.

Ernie Merrick would’ve come into the game hoping for an improved performance from the Phoenix at Coopers Stadium, where they’ve managed just 2 wins previously, and conceded a mammoth 34 goals in their 12 matches at the South Australian venue. For Josep Gombau, a continuation of the form that saw Adelaide qualify for the final of the FFA Cup on Wednesday night would be the expectation.

Both teams were missing key personnel through injury and national team duty this week. Wellington were without All Whites’ representatives Tom Doyle, Michael McGlinchey and Jeremy Brockie, whilst Louis Fenton was ruled out indefinitely with a shoulder injury picked up in the win over the Wanderers last week. The Reds, conversely, would need to make do without the talismanic Bruce Djite at the point of attack, with Pablo Sanchez retaining his spot in the team.

The opening ten minutes were frantic, with both sides attacking with little regard for defensive structures. As early as the opening 60 seconds, a low cross into the box from Sergio Cirio seemed destined to find a Reds teammate, if not for the timely intervention of 200-gamer Andrew Durante.

Match Details Full match details »

Date/Time Sat Nov 15, 2014, 5:00 PMStadium Coopers StadiumAttendance 9,726Referee Strebre Delovski

Adelaide

Goal37′ N.BoogaardYellow Card41′ J.JeggoYellow Card77′ O.MalikGoal90′ S.Cirio

Wellington

Goal15′ R.BonevaciaYellow Card33′ N.BurnsYellow Card45′ V.LiaYellow Card54′ R.Bonevacia

It was at the other end, though, where the majority of chances were being made. A rare Ben Sigmund foray into the box in the 3rd minute almost paid dividends, when his volleyed strike forced Eugene Galekovic into a nifty save at his near post. Nathan Burns, too, was being afforded far too much space on the left wing, firing wide with a curling, left-footed effort shortly after.

In the 15th minute, it would be the Phoenix who would take a deserved lead. After Glen Moss pulled off a point-blank save off Pablo Sanchez’s shot, the Phoenix rebounded quickly through the pacy Roy Krishna. The Fijian would carry the ball all the way to the edge of Adelaide’s penalty area before cutting back for Roly Bonevacia, who steadied and fired past a helpless Galekovic to hand the away side the early lead.

From there, though, Adelaide began to settle into the game. If Carrusca’s curling effort in the 25th minute was a warning shot to Glen Moss and the Phoenix defence, then Mabil’s stretching effort that rebounded out off the post minutes later spelled clear trouble for Merrick’s side.

Ten minutes later, and the Reds would capitalise on that dominance and draw level. A wickedly delivered corner from Craig Goodwin found an unmarked Nigel Boogaard in the six yard box, with the centre half making no mistake as he fired his header past a statuesque ‘Nix defence.

As the rain came down even harder toward the end of the half, the game began to take on a physical aspect. Burns, James Jeggo and Vince Lia all drew the ire of referee Strebre Delovski, with some sloppy tackles flying in on the soggy surface.

Wellington’s marking issues from set pieces continued into the second half, with Osama Malik twice finding himself all alone in the 55th and 57th minutes. Firstly, a floated free kick found Malik in space at the back post, with a header across the face of goal somehow not poked home by any Adelaide player.  Then, a corner played to Malik allowed him to place a free header towards goal, that was watched comfortably wide of the post by Moss.

Adelaide’s dominance (holding 70% of possession at one stage in the second half) was telling, but despite that, they were unable to find a killer ball that would allow the likes of Sanchez and Cirio to capitalise. Adelaide’s frustrations would’ve only been exacerbated with an ankle injury to playmaker Marcelo Carrusca, that would see the Argentine forced off with 20 minutes to play.

The intensity of the game dropped in the final stages of the contest, and the game seemed destined to end on level terms. Then, with the final whistle close, a corner to Adelaide almost produced a winner. Another quality Goodwin corner was touched on at the near post, before Sergio Cirio inexplicably poked it inches wide of the far post.

Cirio would make amends in the 4th minute of additional time, though, when McGowan’s knock-down from a free kick enabled the Spaniard to ram the ball home from close range, past a dejected Moss in the Phoenix goal.

About the author

avatarJustin is a passionate football fan, and the Editor-in-chief of Ultimate A-League.

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