Adelaide United needed extra-time to advance to the Round of 16 of the FFA Cup 2021 following a 3-1 win over Floreat Athena on Sunday.
It was far from smooth sailing for the Reds in a largely frustrating afternoon, but their quality eventually shone through in extra-time, scoring two goals to avoid an upset.
Louis D’Arrigo headed the visiting side into the lead on 18 minutes but Floreat equalised via Christopher Saldaris after the break.
With nothing separating the two teams at full-time, Adelaide started on the front foot and won a penalty which George Blackwood converted, while Yaya Dukuly added some insurance 10 minutes later.
The sunny conditions were deceptive with the weather quite blustery, compounded by an uneven playing surface making it difficult to string quick passes together and build pressure.
There were two debuts handed out by Carl Veart with Jacob Tratt and Bernardo appearing for the first time for the Club. The latter, son of Reds legend Cássio, is the first father-son duo in the Club’s history.
Isaías started proceedings from the outset in his first game back, while Ben Halloran, wearing the Captain’s armband, occupied an attacking midfield role with Mohamed Toure entrusted to lead the line on his FFA Cup debut.
Adelaide dominated the match in the opening 25 minutes and were rewarded courtesy of a well-worked move with Josh Cavallo swinging in an accurate cross which picked out D’Arrigo’s untracked run into the box and he brilliantly guided his header in at the near post.
But United’s intensity abated and its lack of pre-season matches was clearly evident. The contest also had a bit of niggle to it as well with George Timotheou fortunate to still be on the park after fouling Robert Harding as the last man. However, the referee issued only a caution.
After the break, the hosts restored parity with Saldaris’ long-range strike and they grew in confidence making things difficult.
The introduction of Blackwood and Dukuly midway during the second-half certainly changed the momentum.
However, it remained evenly poised with another 30 minutes required.
To begin the first period of extra-time, Halloran drove forward and was impeded in the area.
Blackwood, on his return to the Club, nonchalantly stepped up to smash a convincing penalty home to score his fourth goal for the Reds in the competition.
In the 102nd minute, as the ball bobbled around the six yard box 18-year-old Dukuly took matters into his own hands and steered his finish into the net to make it 3-1.
Following Bernardo’s inclusion in the starting line-up, a second father-son combination would enter the fray with Ethan Alagich, son of Richie, brought on with eight minutes remaining.
There was still time for one final debutant with Arbi Mollas making his maiden senior appearance.
The result means Adelaide extends its winning streak in the tournament to a record 11 games with its last cup defeat transpiring in the 2017 final.
18’ | GOAL: Kitto’s delivers an expert cross which is nodded in by D’Arrigo for his first cup goal.
25’ | YELLOW CARD: Timotheou is lucky to escape a red card after catching Harding as the last man.
56’ | GOAL: Saldaris checks inside onto his left foot and fires a low drive beyond Delianov.
92’ | GOAL! Halloran marauds forward and wins a penalty which is dispatched by Blackwood.
102’ | GOAL! A scramble in the box sees the ball fall to Dukuly and he manages to squeeze his finish into the net to register his inaugural cup goal.
Sunday, 26 September 2021
FFA Cup 2021 Round of 32
Floreat Athena 1 (Saldaris 56’)
Adelaide United 3 (D’Arrigo 18’, Blackwood (p) 92’, Dukuly 102’)
Venue: E & D Litis Stadium