The celebrations of Adelaide United FC captain Eugene Galekovic’s 150th Hyundai A-League game have been soured after the Reds fell 1-0 to Brisbane Roar at Hindmarsh Stadium.
The result followed the same score line to when the sides last met at Hindmarsh on Boxing Day and again it was a second half strike that gave the Roar all three points.
Substitute Ben Halloran’s 83rd minute goal proved the match winner for the Roar as the Reds, who finished with ten men after Osama Malik was sent off in the dying minutes, suffered their third home loss of the season and reignited Brisbane’s hopes of defending their title.
An extremely hoarse and frustrated Michael Valkanis was left to ponder a less than desired performance from his team and why the level has been so contrasting from one week to the next.
“In the first half we didn’t turn up. We didn’t play the football we want to play,” Valkanis said.
“It was completely different from the week before where we tried to play out, there was movement…this week there was no movement and it was like we didn’t turn up to play.”
“We needed to make some changes to our structure and I think in the second half it got a little bit better but not enough.”
“There were too many stupid errors, too many turnovers, going backwards when we could go forwards, and even the goal was comical with two players crashing into each other… it was poor.”
After watching the Roar dominate the first half and create more clear cut chances, Valkanis said the gulf between the Reds’ best and what transpired today must decrease if they are to be taken seriously as a championship threat.
“To me it seems like it’s mental because there are days when they can turn it on and play good football and there are days like today where they didn’t turn up,” Valkanis said.
"It looked like we were waiting to concede a goal. I can't understand the mentality and it's something we have to work on and we have to fix, but that's the challenge. We have to find that consistency quick."
In a scratchy opening from both sides, Brisbane started the stronger and went inches from going ahead in the 11th minute. A curling Luke Brattan free kick was met by Ivan Franjic at the far post, his header hitting the inside of the woodwork, going across the goal line, coming off Galekovic, and then coming off the near post before somehow bouncing away to safety.
In his milestone appearance, Galekovic was the busier of the two keepers in the opening half, Franjic forcing him into a sharp save low down to his right to keep the Roar winger out.
The home side’s best chance of the half came just before the half hour when fine vision from Dario Vidosic found Marcelo Carrusca in the area but he could not pull the trigger in time as the Roar defence converged.
Just moments later the Reds somehow escaped again when it was pinball in their penalty area, Galekovic saving Besart Berisha’s final touch out with his shin.
Straight after the half time break Galekovic was required to keep out a well timed Thomas Broich shot but a minute later Berisha won the Roar a penalty after he went down in the box from a Malik challenge.
However in his 50th Hyundai A-League game, the Albanian fired his penalty into the post.
Making his home debut, Tomi Juric brought a fine save out of Michael Theo from long range but the Reds were struggling to build serious pressure on the Roar keeper.
The defining moment came in the 83rd minute when Berisha made the most of some confusion between Carrusca and Iain Ramsay, feeding the ball out to Halloran who pinpointed his shot across Galekovic and inside the post.
Juric again tried to beat Theo without success as time was running out for the Reds to find an equaliser, and then in the final 90 seconds a professional foul from Malik saw him red carded and suspended for the clash with Melbourne Heart on March 11 as he brought down Halloran who was in on goal with Galekovic caught up forward.
Adelaide United FC 0
Brisbane Roar 1 (Halloran 83’)
Referee: Shaun Evans
Crowd: 6,878 @ Hindmarsh Stadium
Adelaide United starting line-up: 1.Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard, 6.Cassio, 8.Marcelo Carrusca, 10.Dario Vidosic, 12.Antony Golec, 14.Cameron Watson (16.Daniel Bowles 59’), 21.Jeronimo Neumann (17.Iain Ramsay 46’), 24.Awer Mabil (23.Evan Kostopoulos 75’), 25.Tomi Juric
Substitutes not used: 20.Paul Izzo (gk)
Yellow Cards: Malik 51’
Red Cards: Malik 90+3’
Brisbane Roar starting line-up: 1.Michael Theo (gk), 3.Shane Stefanutto, 5.Ivan Franjic, 7.Besart Berisha, 9.Stef Nijland (10.Henrique 77’), 13.Jade North, 14.Steven Lustica (17.Mitch Nichols 77’), 15.James Donachie, 18.Luke Brattan, 19.Jack Hingert (11.Ben Halloran 70’), 22.Thomas Broich (c)
Substitutes not used: 20.Matt Acton (gk)
Yellow Cards: Hingert 21’, Brattan 43’, Franjic 49’
Red Cards: Nil