Adelaide United coach Josep Gombau is keeping his fingers crossed the calf injury suffered by Osama Malik on Friday will not keep the versatile Red out for too long.
Malik, capable of playing at centre-back, fullback and in midfield, was subbed off and carried down the tunnel in the second half of Adelaide’s 3-2 loss to Melbourne Victory, their first defeat in the Hyundai A-League this season.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Gombau confirmed the 24-year-old had suffered a calf problem, but is yet to discover the extent of the issue.
“He had something similar this pre-season and he stayed out for, I think, six weeks,” he said.
“I hope and wish that it (isn’t) that big.”
The Reds proved unable to withstand a lightning start from the hosts at AAMI Park, with Victory 3-1 up shortly after the 30-minute mark.
Kevin Muscat’s side are now top ahead of second-placed Perth Glory’s match away to the struggling Brisbane Roar on Saturday, but the Reds’ Spanish boss stopped short of anointing Victory as title favourites.
“I don’t know, it’s so early,” he said.
“Just eight weeks. We are one point less than them. (They’re) a good team, yes. But also, they have very conditions and they have spent a lot of money. But I don’t have the feeling they are a team who will win the league easy.”
Gombau left out former Victory man Jimmy Jeggo and played Sergio Cirio and Marcelo Carrusca behind a three-man frontline in an attacking gambit that didn’t quite pay off. However, the coach stood by his decision to gamble on an offensive XI.
“After thinking a lot and preparing for the game, this is what we decide,” he said.
“Normally, when you decide, it’s the best (decision).”