Adelaide United FC has made Cassio’s 100th Hyundai A-League game one to savour thanks to a come from behind 3-1 win over the previously unbeaten Wellington Phoenix at Hindmarsh Stadium.
A second half brace from Jeronimo Neumann split by a goal from the man of the moment Cassio saw off the Phoenix after Stein Huysegems put the team from New Zealand in front at half time.
Cassio’s goal was one to add to the highlight reel of his 100 appearances in what was his first Hyundai A-League goal since he found the back of the net against Newcastle in October 2009, while Neumann’s double made it three in four games for the pint sized Argentinean.
In a cautious opening, the Reds’ first purposeful move eventuated in the game’s opening goal, Dario Vidosic, the recalled Sergio van Dijk and Neumann all combining but Leo Bertos came to Wellington’s rescue.
The Reds were being made to be patient going forward and in the 21st minute Daniel Bowles set Neumann loose down the right, the resultant shot stinging the gloves of Mark Paston but it did not beat the Phoenix keeper.
In the lead up to the game, Coach John Kosmina credited the Phoenix as a highly organised and disciplined unit, and they were proving to be just that as they tried to suffocate the Reds’ ability to link up in midfield.
Wellington were also finding it difficult to fashion serious chances, Eugene Galekovic forced into a save low down from defender Ben Sigmund in the 26th minute in a rare opportunity for the visitors.
But just as all seemed in control, in the 42nd minute Paul Ifill’s saw perfectly weighted ball for Huysegems caught United’s defence high and led to Wellington taking the lead as the Belgian striker rammed the ball past Galekovic.
Jeremy Brockie then went close to doubling the Phoenix’s lead just before half time as he rifled a shot narrowly wide of Galekovic’s right post.
Encouraging his side to remain composed, Kosmina watched the Reds continue to probe the Phoenix half of the pitch and in the 55th minute they drew level.
Marcelo Carrusca’s speculative drive from outside the penalty area pin balled off a Wellington defender into Osama Malik before falling out to a free Neumann, whose quick fire shot beat Paston low to his right.
The linesman’s flag then gave the Reds a lucky escape as Jeremy Brockie was adjudged offside as he directed his header into the top corner of the net.
Yesterday Cassio stated his favourite moment of his previous 99 Hyundai A-League games was when he scored twice against Wellington at Hindmarsh, and a superb individual effort in 68th minute gave him another lasting memory against the Phoenix to celebrate.
Starting the run in his own half, Cassio showed up Wellington substitute Benjamin Totori for pace before playing a short give and go with Neumann, the lineman’s flag staying down on the Argentine allowing Cassio to slide the ball past Paston.
Neumann was then in the thick of the action again in the 77th minute when Sigmund was shown a straight red card for infringing his run as the potent forward was through with just Paston in front of him.
The three points were sealed with five minutes remaining as a sublime through ball from Vidosic unlocked Wellington’s defence again and Neumann again displayed his killer instinct in front of goal.
Malik’s overall performance in the holding midfield role was also a highlight, his work not going unnoticed as he was given a fitting reception by the Reds faithful when he was replaced late on.
Despite going a goal down, Kosmina said he was not concerned at half time and was proud of the way the players responded after last weekend’s result.
“You make your own luck sometimes and the guys have put a good effort in,” Kosmina said.
“Last week was tough, it was a hard one to take, but I think today we went out and we tried to play football, and good intent gets you good outcomes and we got a good outcome today.”
“We got three goals and with a bit of luck we could have had a couple more as well so the hunger was definitely there and it’s nice that we can get wins at home – the fans come out and see that, we scored three goals and played some good football.”
Adelaide United FC 3 (Neumann 55’/85’, Cassio 68’)
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Huysegems 42’)
Referee: Jarred Gillett
Crowd: 8,497 @ Hindmarsh Stadium
Adelaide United starting line-up: 1.Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 2.Osama Malik (14.Cameron Watson 84’), 5.Iain Fyfe, 6.Cassio, 8.Marcelo Carrusca, 9.Sergio van Dijk (11.Bruce Djite 77’), 10.Dario Vidosic, 12.Antony Golec, 16.Daniel Bowles, 17.Iain Ramsay (22.Fabio Ferreira 66’), 21.Jeronimo Neumann
Substitutes not used: 30.John HALL (gk)
Yellow Cards: Golec 11’, Neumann 60’, Cassio 79’, Malik 87’
Red Cards: Nil
Wellington Phoenix starting line-up: 1.Mark Paston (gk), 2.Manny Muscat, 3.Tony Lochhead, 6.Alex Smith (17.Vince Lia 52’), 7.Leo Bertos, 8.Paul Ifill, 10.Stein Huysegems (12.Tyler Boyd 74’), 11.Jeremy Brockie, 16.Louis Fenton (9.Benjamin Totori 64’), 18.Ben Sigmund, 22.Andrew Durante (c)
Substitutes not used: 20.Glen Moss (gk)
Yellow Cards: Fenton 16’, Durante 86’, Brockie 90+3’
Red Cards: Sigmund 77’