Perth Glory were dealt a blow for their first A-League game of the season. In an ill-tempered match which consisted of 10 yellow cards, two reds and 42 fouls between both sides – Adelaide came out on top with the 3-1 win, and 9 men.
This tussle was arguably the most entertaining match of the round. By 11 minutes in it was already 1-1.
With Glory missing their usual fringe Socceroos centre back Michael Thwaite, Brandon O’Neill was given the tap on the shoulder to step up and start as centre back next to Steve Pentelidis.
Also making their A-League debuts were young Internationals Ryan Edwards (as number 10) and Jamie Maclaren (as number 9), while new exciting Brazilian import Sidnei Sciola started out wide left and was one of Glory’s most dangerous players.
Adelaide were the first to pounce (and I mean literally) with Jeronimo Neumann the quickest to react after, some may say, a lucky deflection to dart in front of his defender to make it 1-0 in the 9th minute.
Adelaide’s celebrations didn’t last long however. With a smart quickly taken free kick from Scott Jamieson releasing Sidnei down the left wing, he had all the time in the world to pin point a brilliant cross straight on to the head of Ryo Nagai. Nagai made no mistake to head it back across goal to make it 1-1 just 2 minutes later.
This goal seemed to spark the Glory who had been finding it hard to get into their rhythm, and they started to create problems for the Adelaide defence. Perth’s new look centre back partnership, however, looked a bit shaky at times, and on the 25th minute Neumann was again in the right place at the right time for a simple tap in. A defensive mix up between the 2 centre backs allowed the ball to bounce in the 18 yard box, Ferriera headed towards Vukovic, the usually reliable goalkeeper failed to hold the ball instead parrying it right in the path for Neumann.
After that blow, the Glory began to get on the ball and create some great attacking moves. The front three of Sidnei, Nagai and Maclaren looked to get in behind Adelaide’s defensive high line. Edwards, found himself weaving into the box to create a few opportunities, but it was to remain 2-1 at the break.
Second half Perth changed their tactics slightly. Instead of allowing Adelaide to play out from the back through their centre backs Boogaard and McKain, Alistair Edwards pushed Edwards on to press high and let himself and Maclaren hunt in packs to close down the balls into the midfield.
This is where Adelaide started to struggle with the pressure being applied by Perth, but nonetheless still looked dangerous when attacking.
The tackles began flying in and already five yellow cards were issued by referee Ben Williams by the 53rd minute. It was turning into a fierce contest which could have nearly gotten well out of hand.
Perth were getting more and more dangerous, looking a lot better in possession and some lovely build up play found Edwards who split the defence to put Maclaren in on goal but he shot just past the post, very nearly making it 2-2. The former-Blackburn player, shortly after went ever so close with a glancing header from a corner which agonisingly tipped off the cross bar and over.
With the possession being shared evenly between the two sides, Adelaide then put the game to bed with Perth again defensively poor. Michael Zullo skipped past Josh Risdon’s attempted tackle and drove towards the goal line. He then crossed it in beautifully towards the back post area, and Scott Jamieson with some questionable defending, did not realize Ferreira was flying in with a late back post run to get in front and stab it home to make it 3-1.
Exactly a minute later however, some plain stupidity from Isaias who was hardly in the game and already on a yellow card, kicked the ball away from a throw in and received his second yellow and was correctly sent off.
That wasn’t the end of the card show, five more yellow cards were to follow for players on both teams.
With time running out, Perth continued to push for goals. Once again Edwards was found on the ball, turned quickly and played a lovely through ball to young gun Daniel De Silva who was through on goal. A very late tackle from Nigel Boogaard saw him receive his marching orders leaving Adelaide down to just 9 men for the remaining 10 or so minutes.
Luckily for Adelaide, the tackle was just outside the box so only resulted in a free kick. With basically their whole team in the wall, Jamieson’s effort went no further than the Red Sea to the booming cheers of the Reds’ faithful. There was a sense it was going to be Adelaide’s day.
The away team controlled the last 10 minutes and kept pushing for goals, but none were to come. Adelaide even though down to 9 men stood strong and were incredibly hard to break down.
It seemed every time Perth were getting on top of the game, Adelaide killed them off by capitalising on uncharacteristically poor defending resulting in Perth having to chase the game.
Other than the silly defensive errors, there were a lot of positives to take out of the game for Glory. As soon as they cut out those minor
imperfections, we will all see the true potential of the team.
A perfect start for Adelaide and new coach Josep Gombau, a need for regrouping and adjustments for Alistair Edwards’ men ahead of their next match against Newcastle Jets.
With the first round of the A-League breaking records for TV ratings (SBS who are now showing the A-League) and smashing our attendance record going past 100,000 – it’s a great start for the A-League and Australian football!