Adelaide United FC continues to make positive inroads into the playing style being implemented by Coach Josep Gombau despite after a 2-1 loss to the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Just like the previous week, it was a case of large periods of domination but without any points to show for it as there was further evidence of the Reds taking another further step forward under Gombau’s reign.
After surviving and repelling an early barrage from the home side, the Reds opened the scoring through Marcelo Carrusca in the 55th minute. However, former United striker Tomi Juric would have other ideas as he struck twice to give the Wanderers back to back victories.
But is far from doom and gloom for the Reds, who already have matched it with last season’s champions, premiers, and an extremely strong Melbourne Victory outfit.
While his side may have again been on the wrong end of the score line over the past fortnight against the best two teams of last year away from home, Gombau can begin to see the football that he is instilling into the players and has no doubt the rewards will eventually come.
“I think that we played good football and we are improving week by week, and of course I am unhappy with the score because I thought we could get something from here if you see the game,” Gombau said.
“What is important is what we are building. We are playing one style and sometime we will play very well I am sure because in just three months we are keeping the ball, starting from the back…we are a team that is just starting.”
“We are like a baby, after just three months…they (the Wanderers) are a team that have a lot of experience and have played for a considerable time together. When we have this time, we will see.”
There was no lack of feeling in a scoreless opening 45 minutes, which began with the Wanderers putting the Reds on the back foot but as the half went on, it was the visitors who were forcing the issue and controlling the tempo with some slick ball movement.
Shinji Ono raided the Reds penalty area with a number of dead ball situations before Juric stung the gloves of Eugene Galekovic with a venomous drive in the 20th minute, Brendon Santalab firing wide from the rebound in the Wanderers’ most threatening chance.
The Reds’ attempts were forced to come from long range, some of the deliveries into the penalty area from out wide not quite finding the mark.
Gombau would have been pleased with how his side finished the half and 10 minutes after the restart they took a deserved lead as the Reds’ Argentines combined. Jeronimo loaded up on his left from outside the area, it clipped a Wanderers defender on the way through and Carrusca was perfectly placed close to goal, the ball coming off of his knee and ending in the back of the net.
But while Carrusca’s first goal of the campaign managed to momentarily reduce the volume of the boisterous Wanderers crowd, on the hour mark they were in full voice as striker Juric drew the hosts level with a clinically taken finish, although it was not without a touch of conjecture after many of the Reds thought Aaron Mooy should have been called for handball in the lead up to the goal.
With the home crowd urging the Wanderers on, the Reds stuck to the task and with some more polish in the attacking third could well have sent a scare around Pirtek Stadium.
However, with the combinations and understanding of the Reds’ front half still taking time to click, they could not turn it into scoreboard pressure as Juric bobbed up again in the 80th minute, shrugging off his marker to send a header past a helpless Galekovic.
It was a cruel blow for a United team that persisted with the game plan, something which can only prove beneficial as the season goes on.
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Juric 61’/80’)
Adelaide United FC 1 (Carrusca 55’)
Referee: Jarred Gillett
Crowd: 16,279 @ Pirtek Stadium
Western Sydney Wanderers line-up: 1.Ante COVIC (GK), 3.Adam D’APUZZO, 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5.Michael BEAUCHAMP (c), 6.Jerome POLENZ, 9.Tomi JURIC, 10.Aaron MOOY, 11.Brendon SANTALAB (12.Tahj MINNIECON 60’), 18.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 21.Shinji ONO (7.Labinot HALITI 82’)
Substitutes not used: 2.Shannon COLE, 20.Jerrad TYSON (GK), 23.Jason TRIFIRO
Yellow Cards: Santalab 40’, Juric 42’, Bridge 68’, Mooy 73’, Polenz 82’
Red Cards: Nil
Adelaide United starting line-up: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (GK) (c), 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 4.Jon McKAIN, 5.Osama MALIK, 7.JERONIMO (17.Awer MABIL 73’), 8.ISAIAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA (13.Steven LUSTICA 80’), 18.Michael ZULLO, 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Fabio FERREIRA
Substitutes not used: 14.Cameron WATSON, 20.Paul IZZO (GK), 23.Jordan ELSEY
Yellow Cards: Jeronimo 17, Elrich 17’
Red Cards: Nil