Cornthwaite’s Corner: Something feels a little different about Adelaide this past fortnight

Well, as I said last week, at their best the Reds are more than capable of taking it to the competition’s best and on this occasion should have taken all three points.

Other than the first 20 minutes, Adelaide not only matched the league leaders but probably edged it on points and would walk away from the contest disappointed but also encouraged by what it was able to produce particularly in the front third.

Nestory Irankunda looked back to his brilliant best and while he never really got a decent sight on goal himself other than a miss hit header and deflected free kick, his endeavour down the right caused all sorts of problems for the visitors.

In the first half he just wasn’t able to get the ball out from under his feet or find the killer pass. He did in the second, setting up Hiroshi Ibusuki for his second. After the game Carl Veart said the 17-year old was the most dangerous player on the pitch and while I agree he was very good, for me Ibusuki wasn’t just the best player on the park but also the most dangerous.

It was the best performance from the Japanese import in a Reds shirt and I’d go as far as saying it was one of the best performances ever from a number 9 for United. He was virtually unplayable and his movement at the corner which led to his first goal was exceptional. He was in the right spot for his second, smashed the upright from a tight angle and showed some fancy footwork in the box reminiscent of Lionel Messi which almost lead to the winner. He worked tirelessly in defence and I’m not sure anyone could have asked for any more from the big fella.

Adelaide will be disappointed with the goals they conceded, both avoidable. There are headaches in defence heading into Monday’s game now, with Nick Ansell under an injury cloud and Ben Warland suspended. Lachlan Barr has missed football with a calf issue so we might see Javi Lopez or Isaías in the heart of defence. It’ll be interesting either way.

It’s disappointing we’re not talking about a win to start 2024 but if Adelaide can take that second half performance into Monday night’s clash with Macarthur, then they’ll be hard to beat. Something feels a little different about Adelaide this past fortnight. I think they’re close to going on one of their winning runs.

They have the perfect chance to get back in the winner’s circle against a tired looking Mcarthur. The Bulls played New Year’s Day and on Friday night, scoring a 99th minute penalty to draw 1-1 with Newcastle. The visitors will be looking for their first win in five but still sit inside the top six.

It’s an opportunity for Adelaide to jump above them on the ladder but there’s some similarities about the last time they met. In the previous meeting in Campbelltown, Macarthur we’re coming back from Asia and Carl asked his side to make a fast start and put them on the back foot. In fact, it was Mile Sterjovski’s side that was the brighter and completely battered the Reds in the first half. Adelaide couldn’t keep the ball and the home side had plenty of early chances.

In the end Adelaide conceded two goals in the dying stages to throw away all three points. It was one of the side’s worst performances and defeats of the season so far.

The Bulls have already shown they are more than capable when their backs are against the wall this season and with their skipper Uli Davilla pulling the strings this is a danger game no matter how well Adelaide played on Thursday.

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