Analysis: Adelaide’s Latin duo shine in Grand Final


The class of Marcelo Carrusca and Isaias has been obvious to most in the Hyundai A-League since they arrived Down Under but it wasn’t until Sunday that Adelaide United fans got to see the Latin duo make the difference on the big stage.

The midfield pair’s combined A-League finals record coming into this season was one win and three defeats, with Isaias only playing in two of those losses.

But with the most balanced squad around them since they arrived in South Australia, Carrusca and Isaias had the platform they required to shine in the 3-1 grand final victory over Western Sydney Wanderers.

Adelaide United win A-League Grand Final

Carrusca: Adelaide United’s historic night

‘Former Barca star A-League’s best coach’

With the match on the line in the first half, Carrusca and Isaias provided the quality that ensured Adelaide led 2-0 at the break.

Carrusca teed up the opening goal for the Reds with a perfectly weighted cross in the 22nd minute that Bruce Kamau dispatched past Andrew Redmayne.

Soon after Isaias surpassed his free-kick from three weeks ago with a strike that found the top corner of Redmayne’s net and Adelaide were on their way to victory.

The polish the Latin duo provided in the forward third was in stark contrast to Western Sydney, who had a number of chances to convert counter-attacks in the first half only for their execution to let them down.

As early as the fourth minute, the Wanderers broke forward in numbers but Mitch Nichols’ in-field pass to Romeo Castelen was behind the Dutchman, slowing the visitors’ momentum.

Mark Bridge was the next to look a bit rusty after a tough 5-4 extra-time over Brisbane Roar last week, as he declined to cross first time in the 19th minute when Brendon Santalab was streaming towards goal.

The delay allowed Adelaide’s defence to scramble back and the hosts made the Wanderers pay soon after.

A nice piece of combination play on the Reds’ left involving Carrusca, Goodwin and Mauk saw the latter nutmeg Western Sydney full-back Scott Neville before releasing his Argentine team-mate.

Isaias celebrates with teammates after scoring a stunning goal in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final.

Carrusca loped forward as Andreu bore down on him before whipping in a cross at the last possible moment.

The timing was perfect, as it allowed Kamau to get into position to surge past a static Scott Jamieson and turn the ball home.

Two more Western Sydney attacks would come and go – Santalab’s cross evaded a sliding Nichols before the latter sliced a cross over the bar.

Then it was Isaias’ turn to provide a moment of magic.

The defensive midfielder – so long admired and loathed in equal measure for his ability to thwart attacks and get under his opponent’s skin – has revealed an impressive ability at dead-ball situations this season.

Isaias’ early free-kick inside Thomas Sorensen’s near post kick-started Adelaide’s 2-0 triumph over Melbourne City to win the Premiers Plate last month.

In front of 50,119 spectators on Sunday, he went to another level.

From almost an identical position, slightly to the left of centre as he faced the goal, Isaias bent his right boot around the ball, curling his shot so it almost kissed both the crossbar and post as it went in.

Although Neville would hand the Wanderers a lifeline in the second half, another of Adelaide’s Latin brigade – Pablo Sanchez – sparked celebrations in South Australia’s capital that lasted long into the night.