Mariners’ title defence begins with defeat as rampant Reds begin new era in style

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Adelaide United have started the season with a bang, defeating reigning Champions Central Coast Mariners 3-0 at Coopers Stadium on Friday night.

Two enforced changes by the half-hour mark destabilised the Champions, and in the 38th minute the hosts broke through for the opener. A swift team move fed through Clough and then Hiroshi Ibusuki, who turned on the edge of the box to feed a pass into Halloran’s path for a first-time finish off the crossbar.

Clough had hit the post earlier in the first half after a determined piece of wing play from Irankunda, who took a heavy touch to round his direct marker Jacob Farrell and supply a cut-back cross for Clough to strike against the woodwork. 

Adelaide doubled the advantage just beyond the hour mark when Dylan Wenzel-Halls – Kuol’s first-half replacement – committed a clumsy foul on new Reds captain Ryan Kitto in the box. Goodwin was Adelaide’s penalty taker last season – but on Friday night it was Clough who stepped up to the spot; he relished the responsibility, sending Danny Vukovic the wrong way to slot home the spot kick with ease.

The Mariners’ night went from bad to worse when Farrell earned two yellow cards in as many minutes for a pair of fouls on Adelaide substitute Musa Toure.

Farrell was dismissed by referee Alex King after the second challenge and the subsequent free-kick, taken by Bernardo on the edge of the penalty box on a tight angle, was served on a plate for defender Nick Ansell to head home a third for the Reds.

Mariners goalkeeper Danny Vukovic stood tall late in the piece, denying Adelaide on a number of occasions to ensure the margin didn’t balloon out to four.

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