Cornthwaite’s Corner: The moment that went under the radar

AUFC membership 23/24 sign up now

I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun watching a game of football. There’s almost too much to talk about this week.

Working in the news, there are days and stories where you really must ask yourself, “What is the lead here?” mostly due to the fact that there isn’t really a lot happening or there’s two or three weak angles. You need to kind of decide what you’re going to make the main talking point.

I have the very same problem this week, for very different reasons.

 As a journalist, you hope something great might happen or really bad, I suppose, but on Sunday, there were genuinely seven amazing storylines that any day of the week could have been the lead.

Nestory Irankunda’s free kick – incredible. Joe Gauci’s penalty save is vital. Ryan Tunnicliffe”s first A-League goal – special. Musa Toure is following in his brothers footsteps – destiny. Bernardo off the bench – heartwarming. Six teens featuring – exciting. And beating reigning premiers Melbourne City, six-nil, historic.

I could wax lyrical about any one of these incredible storylines, but I want to focus on the one that probably went under the radar. Joe Gauci’s penalty save.

Whether you realise it or not, that was probably the most important moment of the entire match. two-nil up with 35-minutes to play and the A-League’s greatest ever goal scorer with a chance to cut the margin in half.

At that point in the match, just after halftime, City is probably having its most dominant spell of the game. You can’t control a game for 90 minutes, and the opposition will always have a period where they get on top. It’s crucial if you want to be successful not to let the opposition be rewarded in those periods. That’s the roll-up-your sleeves moment in a match where, whatever happens, don’t let them score.

Looking at the league table; it’s easy to think Adelaide have walked unopposed to the position they’re in, but without Joe, the goals against column would look a lot different.

He’s starting to remind me of Eugene Galekovic in the fact that his big saves are worth points to the team now and not meaningless. He looks ridiculously confident, and there’s no doubt he’ll be in the next Socceroos squad.

While Ange Postecoglou at Tottenham said “it’s not his job to burst the fans bubble and to let them dream”, with Spurs sitting top, I think we need to see a slightly larger sample size before we dream of a championship, although there’s a similar vibe to last year’s champions, Central Coast, about the Reds now.

It all means little, and people will change their tune very quickly, if Adelaide doesn’t show up against Victory on Saturday night.

The team and the teens have made a remarkable start to the season, but this game is another level all together. Coupled with the fact that Melbourne is also unbeaten and flying high, this could be on for the ages.

Melbourne and Victorians have always had an air of arrogance, a chip on their shoulder, and a confidence that Adelaide has just never really had. It’s something you can’t put into words.

But this Adelaide United team feels different. With the likes of Nestor, Musa, Panashe Madanha, or Joe Gauci, there’s a carefree swagger about the boys. They seem fearless and are more excited than fearful. Nothing fazes them. To be honest, I think that scares the rest of the A-League.


Follow Robbie on Twitter and Instagram.

AUFC membership 23/24 sign up now