Adelaide United FC’s tussle with league leaders Brisbane Roar has ended in the Reds suffering a narrow 2-1 defeat at Coopers Stadium on Friday night.
Osama Malik gave the home fans something to cheer about after just 7 minutes when he bobbed up to open the scoring but the Roar can largely thank prolific marksman Besart Berisha and keeper Matt Acton for taking all three points back to Brisbane.
Berisha found the back of the net in each half while Acton reeled of a number of stellar saves to deny a Reds outfit that could well have been at least two goals up at half time and were left to wonder how they do not have anything to show for their performance.
Reds Coach Josep Gombau was full of plaudits for his players as they lead their more fancied opponents in a number of areas, but at the same time he expressed his disappointment for the legion of United fans who are loyally sticking by the team.
“I am happy with the way that we played. We won in a lot of areas but we lost in the most important and that is the result,” Gombau said.
“We won in number of passes, in shooting, in crossing, in attempts at goal, we created more chances than them and they have less chances than us and score two goals.”
“I am satisfied with the players. They are working very hard, they are playing in my opinion brilliant football. In my opinion we played against the team that plays the best football in this league, so I am satisfied with this but of course I am sad and unhappy about the result…for the fans, for the people that come here that cannot see the team winning.”
“This is my concern but what we can do is keep working and next week we have another game and we will try to win the next game.”
“Today the people that can understand football can see that Adelaide United played a very good game and created a lot of chances, and normally if you do this you win but we are unlucky in this.”
The Reds started the stronger of the two sides, dominating possession early which resulted in a narrow miss by Isaias from outside the box.
If Isaias sent a warning shot, the Reds landed the blow two minutes later when a corner kick leaked to an unmarked Malik who calmly headed home from 7 yards to give Adelaide the initiative and his second goal in four games.
However, the Roar produced a typically strong response which saw them equalise in the 21st minute. Tarek Elrich bundled Corey Brown over in the penalty area as he chased a throw in, Berisha stepping up to safely dispatch the spot kick into the bottom right corner.
The contest continued to see-saw as Adelaide refused to be content and overawed by the league leaders. The home side exhibited exceptional build-up play – one attack of which was almost brilliantly finished by Marcelo Carrusca who cleverly flicked the ball from a cross inches wide which left Acton stranded.
Furthermore, the Reds could have considered themselves unlucky when Fabio Ferreira seemed destined to score from inside the box, only to be denied by a brilliant save from the Roar keeper.
In his first start of the season, striker Bruce Djite put in a superb hour long shift before he was replaced by Jeronimo and the Argentine went close to putting the score back in the Reds’ favour when he tried his luck first time from distance after a neat turn and delightful through ball by Carrusca, however Acton was well positioned to deal with it.
Carrusca was putting on a master class in midfield but in the 72nd minute he was upstaged by Berisha who collected the ball just outside the box before penetrating Adelaide’s defences. The Albanian’s run was eventually halted by Malik, however the ball somehow clumsily trickled through and over the goal line.
Adelaide’s best chance to equalise came in the 83rd minute as substitute Awer Mabil burst down the right-side to cut the ball back to Sergio Cirio who was once again denied by another clutch save from Acton.
The game did not end without controversy however, as the Reds had a late claim for a penalty waved away when Malik went down in the box.
A promising display against the league leaders undoubtedly holds the potential to re-shape Adelaide’s fortunes for the remainder of the season. Regardless, the Reds must continue to believe and remain upbeat with the Central Coast Mariners coming to Coopers Stadium next Saturday.
Adelaide United FC 1 (Malik 7’)
Brisbane Roar 2 (Berisha 21’ (pen)/72’)
Referee: Peter O’Leary
Crowd: 8,861 @ Coopers Stadium
Adelaide United starting line-up: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 4.Jon McKAIN, 5.Osama MALIK, 8.ISAIAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Bruce DJITE (7.JERONIMO 63’), 13.Steven LUSTICA (19.Jake BARKER-DAISH 73’), 18.Michael ZULLO, 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Fabio FERREIRA (17.Awer MABIL 69’)
Substitutes not used: 12.Antony GOLEC, 30.John HALL (gk)
Yellow Cards: Djite 60’, Cirio 90+4’
Red Cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar line-up: 20.Matthew ACTON (gk), 2.Matthew SMITH (c), 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 7.Besart BERISHA (29.Kwame YEBOAH 77’), 10.HENRIQUE (11.Liam MILLER 57’), 15.James DONACHIE, 17.Matt McKAY, 18.Luke BRATTAN, 19.Jack HINGERT, 22.Thomas BROICH, 26.Corey BROWN
Substitutes not used: 14.Diogo FERREIRA, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 30.Fraser CHALMERS (gk)
Yellow Cards: Miller 75’, Hingert 90+2’
Red Cards: Nil