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Reds down City, claim top spot

Adelaide United have defeated Melbourne City 2-0 tonight at AAMI Park, with Isaias and Bruce Djite scoring to keep the Reds’ Premier’s Plate hopes alive.

The equation for both teams was simple – a win would give them a chance at claiming the Premier’s Plate, pending other results later in the weekend.

Adelaide had the added insurance of a draw being enough to push them into top spot, and after last week’s 2-0 away win at Sydney, manager Guillermo Amor put faith in an unchanged line-up to record a fifth straight away clean sheet, and another win on the road.

For the home side, a 3-2 loss in Perth hurt their premiership claims considerably. With a season-ending injury to Michael Zullo, Connor Chapman was introduced at full back, with Jacob Melling preferred ahead of mid-season signing Anthony Caceres.

It was Adelaide who jumped out of the blocks, establishing an early 1-0 lead in just the 4th minute of the match.

Sergio Cirio held the ball up for Marcelo Carrusca, who showed dazzling footwork before he was unceremoniously felled by the forearm of Patrick Kisnorbo. From the free kick, Isaias stunningly curled it over the wall and into the bottom corner of the net, past the diving Thomas Sorensen.

The Reds were confident, and as a result, City were finding it difficult to establish a footing in the game.

Match Details Full match details »

Date/Time Fri Apr 8, 2016, 7:40 PMStadium AAMI ParkAttendance 11,454Referee Strebre Delovski

Melb. City

Yellow Card42′ P.KisnorboYellow Card45′ T.SorensenYellow Card46′ H.NovilloYellow Card77′ O.Malik

Adelaide

Goal4′ I.SanchezYellow Card25′ B.DjiteYellow Card29′ I.La RoccaYellow Card31′ I.SanchezPenalty45′ B.Djite (Pen)
Yellow Card46′ S.MaukYellow Card80′ D.McGowanYellow Card90′ E.Galekovic

In the 12th minute, Bruce Djite had a chance to make it 2-0, but his shot on the turn — after some clever lead-up play by Bruce Kamau and Stefan Mauk — flew over the bar.

City’s first real chance on goal came in the 19th minute, when Harry Novillo was fouled on the edge of the Reds’ defensive penalty area. Taking on the free kick responsibility himself, Novillo aimed for the far corner but was comfortably denied by Eugene Galekovic.

Adelaide, though, were still in almost complete control leading up to the half time break, dominating possession and launching consistent attacking raids through the likes of Carrusca, Cirio, and Craig Goodwin.

In the shadows of half time, the Reds would capitalise on their dominance from the penalty spot.

Some superb hold-up play by Djite to find Carrusca allowed the Argentine to deliver a chipped ball through the City defence to find Mauk. With the ball up for grabs, Sorensen decided to front up to Mauk near the by-line instead of attack, needlessly fouling the young attacker and giving referee Strebre Delovski no choice but to award a penalty.

From the spot, Bruce Djite buried the ball into the bottom corner to make it 2-0 at the interval.

The half wasn’t quite over, though, as both sides clashed on their way down the player’s race, with Stefan Mauk — who took a hard knock to the ribs from Sorensen’s penalty area challenge — irate with a collection of City players. Both Mauk and Harry Novillo would receive bookings for their role in the melee.

City seemed re-energised once the second half began, with Mooy and Novillo becoming more involved as City drew a greater share of possession.

Despite that, though, they still struggled to create chances in the final third, with the resolute Adelaide defence — statistically, the best in the league — standing tall.

Adelaide thought they had a third goal in the 63rd minute when Dylan McGowan headed home from a deep cross. Referee Delovski, however, had spotted an infringement from McGowan on City’s Patrick Kisnorbo, and thus ruled the goal out.

The game petered out in the final twenty minutes, with Guillermo Amor resting key men Djite and Carrusca, and City continuing to be stifled by an impressive Adelaide defensive line.

The Reds hopes of clinching a second Premier’s Plate now hinge on the result of the Melbourne Victory vs Brisbane Roar match on Saturday night, with anything but a Roar win confirming silverware for the Reds.

Meanwhile, City are reliant on a draw or loss for Perth Glory against Sydney FC on Sunday in order to ensure they finish in 4th place and secure a home final in week 1 of the play-offs.

 

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About the author

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

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