Jeronimo Neumann’s second half goal has helped Adelaide United FC to consecutive wins to start the season as the Reds inflicted the first defeat on new Hyundai A-League club Western Sydney Wanderers in a 1-0 result at Hindmarsh Stadium tonight.
The Argentinean’s clinical 70th minute finish decided a game that took until the second half to really come to life.
It could have been a different story after Neumann had a penalty saved by Ante Covic only five minutes earlier, but the Reds’ number 21 would not be denied as he finished off a superb counter attack as the home side pounced from a Wanderers corner.
The Reds’ three new foreigners – Neumann, Fabio Ferreira and Marcelo Carusca, all showed they will be more than capable of causing problems for opposition defences this season, while at the other end of the park the Reds can boast back to back clean sheets, something they failed to do during the entirety of last season.
In United’s first home game of season 8, the opening 45 minutes failed to reach any great heights, with passes not quite finding their mark and both sides making a number of mistakes.
Neumann was proving the Reds’ most potent force, the Argentinean coming close in the 15th minute as he blazed a shot into the side netting.
Defender Nigel Boogaard’s timely interception ensured Mark Bridge could not manufacture a shot on target to test Galekovic, the Wanderers’ best chance of the half coming in the 32nd minute when Mateo Poljak’s dipping strike forced Galekovic into a sharp reflex save.
From the opening minute of the second half the Reds’ increased intensity was evident and they went close to breaking the deadlock when Ferreira showed a clean pair of heels to send a pinpoint cross to the far post which was met by a firm Ramsay header but it went straight at Covic.
Ferreira’s pace out wide was a feature and in the 65th minute he won United a penalty as he was brought down by Nikolai Topor-Stanley, the referee eventually pointing to the spot after consulting the linesman on whether the contact occurred inside the area.
But Neumann’s penalty was easily saved by Covic to keep the Wanderers level as chances started to come with more frequency at both ends.
The deciding moment came after WSW failed to make the most of a corner. Ramsay darted away with space around him before cutting inside as Neumann made a diagonal run across him. The former found the latter with a clever no look through ball and the noise of the crowd said the rest as Neumann coolly guided his left footed shot around Covic and inches inside the post.
Wanderers substitute Labinot Haliti had a couple of opportunities to equalise as he sent a venomous shot into the side netting before he had a header that went powerfully but into the arms of Galekovic.
Coach John Kosmina predicted in the lead up to the game that it was going to be a difficult assignment after rigours of the trip to Tashkent and Newcastle, and was proud with the way his team came through and secured three points.
“It was good that we backed up from last week because I always felt this week was going to be tougher than getting them up for Newcastle, simply because of the fatigue factor, we only trained twice,” Kosmina said.
“We were rusty early on, I think we still played well but we were rusty, we weren’t fluent, but in the second half it started to come good.”
Kosmina was also complimentary of Neumann for his persistence and determination to make amends from his missed penalty.
“He (Jeronimo) wanted it. He’s hungry for goals so I don’t mind…he missed and made up for it,” Kosmina said.
“Knowing what he’s like, he would have been pretty annoyed with himself missing that penalty and he was going to make up for it one way or another, and he did.”
“Jeronimo is a natural striker and the way he finished his goal, I haven’t seen anyone open up like that for quite awhile.”
A blockbuster against Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium next Friday night awaits the Reds in Week 3.
Adelaide United FC 1 (Neumann 70’)
Western Sydney Wanderers 0
Referee: Brenton Hayward
Crowd: 8,950 @ Hindmarsh Stadium
Adelaide United starting line-up: 1.Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard, 6.Cassio, 11.Bruce Djite (8.Marcelo Carrusca 61’), 12.Antony Golec, 14.Cameron Watson (19.Jake Barker-Daish 77’), 16.Daniel Bowles, 17.Iain Ramsay, 21.Jeronimo Neumann, 22.Fabio Ferreira (23.Evan Kostopoulos 89’)
Substitutes not used: 30.John HALL (gk)
Yellow Cards: Malik 45’, Neumann 62’, Barker-Daish 82’
Red Cards: Nil
Western Sydney Wanderers starting line-up: 1.Ante Covic (GK), 3.Adam D’apuzzo, 4.Nikolai Topor-Stanley, 5.Michael Beauchamp, 6.Jerome Polenz, 8.Mateo Poljak (11.Tarek Elrich 79’), 9.Dino Kresinger, 10.Aaron Mooy, 17.Youssouf Hersi (7.Labinot Haliti 62’), 19.Mark Bridge, 21.Shinji Ono
Substitutes not used: 18.Iacopo La Rocca, 20.Jerrad Tyson (GK)
Yellow Cards: Hersi 41’, Poljak 42’, Ono 57’, Beauchamp 65’
Red Cards: Nil