Nathan Konstandopoulos marked his second game back from a long-term knee injury with an impressive performance, punctuated by a stunning free-kick at the death.
Adelaide United prevailed 2-0 over Western Sydney Wanderers in their first pre-season friendly against A-League opposition on Monday evening.
Konstandopoulos believed there many promising signs in the clash at Valentine Sports Park in Sydney.
“I think it was a positive game for us,” he told AUFC Media.
“Great to play against A-League opposition, great opportunity for us to see where we’re at the moment in pre-season.
“I thought we started extremely well, we played up until maybe the last 15 minutes where we maybe started to tire a little, I thought we played some great football and showed some really good stuff.”
The 24-year-old played the final 60 minutes of the contest and felt comfortable out on the park having recovered from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament he sustained in training at the start of the year.
He also dispatched a sensational set-piece into the far top corner in the 90th minute to double United’s advantage after Kusini Yengi’s first-half header.
“I thought I did okay,” he revealed.
“I listened to the coaches and tried to implement what they wanted from the game, lots of forward runs and stuff like that.
“Obviously fantastic to get on the scoresheet, only my second game back from injury so that’s a big bonus.
“But mostly it was just doing my job for the team yesterday and working hard, and I think defensively we were quite strong which is good.”
Reds boss, Carl Veart, has too been amazed with just how well his midfielder has slotted back into the team, suggesting he has barely skipped a beat, despite the time away.
Konstandopoulos was humbled upon hearing what Veart had told a Club official and said his aim was to be up for selection ahead of the season proper.
“It was really flattering to hear that and it’s really nice to hear that from your coach, that he’s got confidence in you in that regard,” he said.
“It’s nice to hear all the hard work that I did over those nine months has probably paid off.
“But there’s lots of games coming thick and fast and a great opportunity for me to get the game time and get my game awareness and stuff like that back.
“I’m really excited, playing these sort of games is fun and it’s enjoyable, and just makes you so much more excited for the season.”
Adelaide’s attention turns to their second pre-season match against newly-formed A-League outfit Macarthur on Thursday before flying home later that evening.
The focus will remain on executing the systems and tactics imparted by the Veart and his coaching staff.
“I think tomorrow we’ll start looking more towards the Macarthur game,” he said.
“But Carl said, so far it’s about implementing the structures, implementing our game plan and also using it as a good tool to get game minutes.
“So I think we’ve got to do all of the above and it will be a good test to see where the other A-League teams are at.”