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Reds put three past ten-man Phoenix

A red card to Albert Riera provided the turning point in a close contest on Boxing Day, with Adelaide running away to a 3-0 win over ten-man Wellington Phoenix.

In front of 11,655 fans at Coopers Stadium, a first-half own goal to Manny Muscat separated the two teams, before goals to Craig Goodwin and Michael Marrone ensured the Reds walked away with all three points.

The Reds drew 0-0 with Newcastle last week, but despite the disappointing result, coach Guillermo Amor opted to make just the one change to his starting line-up, with Bruce Djite replacing Pablo Sanchez.

Ernie Merrick, conversely, was forced into a few key changes after the 1-1 draw with Sydney last week. Thomas Doyle (suspension) and Louis Fenton (ankle injury) were both unavailable, forcing Vince Lia into the starting side as a makeshift centre half and Troy Danaskos in his natural full back role.

It was a fast paced opening to the match from both sides, with Craig Goodwin looking to exploit down the right for Adelaide, and the likes of Alex Rodriguez and Roy Krishna looking dangerous for the Phoenix through the middle.

The first shot in anger fell to the visitors in the 7th minute, with Roly Bonevacia — the Phoenix’s most in-form player — firing from distance toward the near post. Eugene Galekovic had it covered, however, and watched it wide of the upright.

Goodwin smashed in a shot from distance for Adelaide in the 13th minute, but after a clever lay-off from Djite, Goodwin couldn’t keep his powerful shot down.

Match Details Full match details »

Date/Time Sat Dec 26, 2015, 5:15 PMStadium Coopers StadiumAttendance 11,655Referee Chris Beath

Adelaide

Own Goal42′ M.MuscatGoal73′ C.GoodwinGoal75′ M.Marrone

Wellington

Yellow Card12′ A.RieraSecond Yellow Card56′ A.Riera

Despite the Reds looking to launch attack after attack out wide, the Phoenix were more than holding their own. From a 21st minute corner, Manny Muscat side-footed a shot around his body on the volley, producing a quality save from Galekovic to tip it out for a corner.

Jimmy Jeggo was starting to look likely as the game ticked toward the half hour mark, producing two quality shots in the 23rd and 27th minutes; the latter requiring a diving save from Glen Moss to ensure the score remained 0-0.

Then, as the game edged closer to half time, Adelaide finally found the back of the net through an unlikely source.

From a 42nd minute set-piece, Goodwin received the ball from Marcelo Carrusca before running around the outside of his defender, parallel to the by-line before placing a low ball across the box. Manny Muscat got a foot in first for Wellington, but only managed to lift the ball into the roof of the net for an unfortunate own goal.

Wellington came out on the front foot after half-time, and had genuine claims for a penalty in just the 48th minute.

A scramble in the box fell to Rodriguez who put the ball immediately to the feet of Riera. On the turn, Riera seemed to have been brought down by Jordan Elsey, but referee Chris Beath waved away the claims from the Phoenix players.

Two minutes later, and somehow the Phoenix couldn’t get back on level terms.

A cross in from the left from Danaskos required Galekovic to dive to his left to tip the ball away. Possession fell to Roy Krishna, and with an open goal, a last ditch effort by Dylan McGowan on the goal line was required to deny the Fijian striker a certain goal.

Just when the Phoenix were finding their way back into the game, a diving tackle by Riera in the 56th minute saw the visitors reduced to ten men. With the Spanish midfielder already on a yellow card, referee Beath produced a second booking before reaching into his top pocket and giving Riera his marching orders.

With the game seemingly there for the taking, Adelaide got on the front foot. Some clever combination work between Sergio Cirio, Jeggo and Goodwin on the hour mark allowed Carrusca to shoot at goal, but disappointingly he could only find the waiting arms of Moss in the Phoenix goal.

The Phoenix continued to attack, belying the fact that they were down a player.

However, all their good work came undone in the 73rd minute, as Adelaide made it 2-0.

An incisive run from Goodwin to cut inside from the right wing onto his left boot allowed the forward to unleash a shot from distance. Moss was well positioned to make a comfortable save, but somehow the Phoenix custodian let the ball slip through and into the back of the net.

The game was all sewn up in the 75th minute, from a superb counter-attack by the Reds.

Pablo Sanchez broke through the middle of the park, before playing in Goodwin on the right. Goodwin cut inside and shot toward the near post, striking the woodwork. Sanchez, on the follow-up, struck the other post, before Michael Marrone fired home his first ever A-League goal from point-blank range.

Marrone had previously gone 130 A-League matches without a goal, what was the longest active streak in the league. That mantle now falls to Brisbane’s Shane Stefanutto, on 126 games without a goal.

Isaias had a chance to make it four in the 80th minute, but his dipping shot was saved well by Moss on the half volley.

Pablo Sanchez, too, had an opportunity to add a fourth as the game ticked over into injury time, but his shot on the run drifted wide of the far post.

Adelaide now find themselves in 7th position — and just two points behind the Phoenix in 6th — before they travel to Western Sydney on New Year’s Day. Meanwhile, the Phoenix play the Mariners on Thursday in Gosford.

 

Ultimate A-League ‘Player of the Season’ Votes
3 Craig Goodwin (Adelaide United)
2 James Jeggo (Adelaide United)
1 Michael Marrone (Adelaide United)

About the author

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

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