OPINION: What went right, what went wrong vs Canberra United

Adelaide United Women

Emily Condon’s dramatic winner helped Adelaide United bounce back with an impressive 2-1 win over Canberra United at Marden Sports Complex on Sunday.

The Reds acquitted themselves expertly in what was an extremely disciplined display, coming from behind to claim a vital three points and get its campaign up and running with a first victory of the Liberty A-League 2021/22 season.

Nanako Sasaki was also influential with a goal and an assist in the hard-fought triumph.

What went right. What went wrong.

What went right: Disciplined performance

It was a vastly improved performance from Adrian Stenta’s team from the previous week and it needed to be. The Reds were largely in control and passed the ball around with urgency and purpose. Overall, Adelaide’s intensity to limit the time and space of Canberra’s attackers was also noticeable despite the hot conditions with the likes of Emma Stanbury and Emily Hodgson showing tremendous tenacity to constantly make interceptions, win tackles and put their bodies on the line. It was a resilient effort, although the team could have had one or two more goals in the first-half.

Adrian Stenta

What went wrong: Conceded against the run of play, potential offside

While the Reds made a decent start, they will be frustrated by conceding against the run of play, even if Michelle Heyman’s goal looked offside by at least a yard. Thankfully, though with Condon’s late winner it proved insignificant. But as a whole, Adelaide was much tighter defensively with Canberra struggling to create genuine opportunities.  

What went right: Nano Sasaki heavily involved

The Japanese midfielder certainly does not look out of place at this level after several impressive years in the local Women’s National Premier League with Adelaide City and Adelaide Comets. Sasaki made the step up to the Liberty A-League and has looked extremely composed. Her technical ability allows her to keep possession due to her close ball control as she evades her opponents often on a half-turn. The 22-year-old scored an absolutely phenomenal strike from outside the box as the ball dropped and she met with extreme power and precision as it arrowed into the net. Her creativity was then made manifest when her scooped ball over the defence, in stoppage time, allowed Condon to control and execute a clinical finish to win the match.

What went right: Better at defending set-pieces

Last week against Melbourne Victory, Adelaide looked vulnerable when defending set-pieces, especially corners. However, it was a drastic turnaround a week later with Annalee Grove delivering a superb outing in goal. Stenta highlighted this in a post-match interview with the goalkeeper commanding her area brilliantly. She claimed several crosses and punched clear a number of corners.

Annalee Grove

Match details:
Sunday, 12 December
Liberty A-League 2021/22 – Round 2
Adelaide United 2 (Sasaki 23’, Condon 90+1’)
Canberra United 1 (Heyman 16’)
Venue: Marden Sports Complex
Crowd: 780