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OPINION: What went right, what went wrong vs Melbourne Victory

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Adelaide United suffered its heaviest defeat since 2017, going down 5-1 to reigning champions Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon.

The Reds found themselves 4-0 behind at half-time but did draw the second-half 1-1, however the damage was obviously well and truly already done in their season opener.

It was a frustrating start to the campaign, but the good news is the only way is up. Head Coach Adrian Stenta and his staff will analyse the game in detail and come back stronger next week when they host Canberra United at Marden Sports Complex on Sunday.

What went right. What went wrong:

What went wrong: A mountain to climb

Everything that could go wrong felt like it did in the opening exchanges. Against the defending champions, the Reds had to be switched on from the outset and avoid unforced errors. However, their downfall was self-inflicted and were punished for virtually every mistake made. Three costly mishaps directly led to goals and ultimately there was no way back.

What went right: Patches of promise

Despite the one-sided scoreline, there were periods where Adelaide was on top and showed flashes of their potential. However, while it seemed every time Victory got forward they were rewarded with a goal, the Reds’ opportunities were either saved by Casey Dumont or whistled past the post. Fiona Worts, Paige Hayward and Shadeene Evans worked okay together in the final third and with more game time together their understanding will improve.

What went wrong: Chemistry lacked

While the Reds had kept some core players, the losses of Dylan Holmes and Charlotte Grant were noticeable given they had been regulars in the side for quite some time. It looked like a side that lacked cohesion in the first-half and had not played much as a team with several new faces. Indeed, this is mitigated by COVID-19 restrictions which has made it difficult for the side to adequately gel in the pre-season, with the full squad yet to train as a group.

What went right: Worts lively

The Englishwoman was a shining light in attack and without question United’s brightest spark. On another day she could have scored more, but did finally get her reward when the ball fortuitously fell into her path after Chelsie Dawber was tackled before shooting. You could not fault Worts’ endeavour as she had six attempts at goal, which included a strike that rattled the woodwork and a long-range drive that flew inches wide of the top corner. The 25-year-old will be pivotal this season alongside Dawber when she returns to full fitness.

What went wrong: Vulnerable defending corners

Two of the goals Adelaide conceded arrived via corners. The South Australians failed to clear its lines allowing Claudia Bunge to tap home at the back post and Lia Privitelli to nod her header in inside the six-yard box. Adelaide will need to be more assertive in its area moving forward.

What went right: Stanbury impactful off the bench

United were frequently overrun in the midfield throughout the first-half. The introduction of experienced midfielder and new signing Emma Stanbury at half-time helped sure things up in the centre of the park and coincided with the Reds finding more balance and control. She competed well and even went on a slaloming run in the second-half which had Victory momentarily nervous.

Match details:
Sunday, 5 December
Liberty A-League 2021/22 – Round 1
Melbourne Victory 5 (Privitelli 10’ 69’, Morrison 19’, Bunge 23’, Zimmerman 39’)
Adelaide United 1 (Worts 65’)
Venue: AAMI Park
Crowd: 3,450