A first-half brace from Jamie Maclaren has consigned Adelaide United to a 2-1 loss to Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon.
Riley McGree halved the deficit midway through the second stanza as Adelaide had the ascendancy, but Maclaren’s double in the space of four first-half minutes proved insurmountable.
Adelaide will now prepare to face the same opponent on Wednesday night in the FFA Cup Final 2019 at Coopers Stadium.
There were five changes made to the starting XI by Head Coach, Gertjan Verbeek. New signings, Kristian Opseth and Michaël Maria, were given their first Hyundai A-League starts while young defender Yared Abetew received his Reds debut, featuring at right-back. Michael Marrone and Vince Lia were also called into the line-up with Ben Halloran left out of the matchday squad altogether due to illness.
The undermanned Reds found themselves on the back foot early into proceedings with Ramy Najjarine forcing Paul Izzo to save his effort onto upright.
And that foreshadowed what was to come with Maclaren opening the scoring with the Reds’ defensive line under pressure.
Connor Metcalfe showed great endeavour to shoot at goal and his strike fortuitously deflected into the path of Maclaren for a simple finish on 24 minutes.
For the second time in as many games, United found themselves two goals behind when the Socceroos striker had his second – executing his volley past Izzo following a short corner routine.
Adelaide improved after the break and McGree pulled a goal back after City could not clear their lines.
The 20-year-old fired in a lovely drive into the bottom left corner on his weaker right-foot.
Verbeek’s youthful side dominated the remainder of the match and McGree almost drew the visitors level when his volley off Nikola Mileusnić’s cross landed just wide.
Despite the result there were some encouraging signs with Louis D’Arrigo continuing to impress with another assured display, while substitutes, Nathan Konstandopoulos, Lachlan Brook and Al Hassan Toure also enjoyed positive outings.
7’ | CHANCE: Najjarine cuts inside and sees his effort saved onto the post by Izzo.
24’ | GOAL: Metcalfe’s deflected shot falls to Maclaren to open the scoring.
28’ | GOAL: City work a short corner which sees Maclaren volley in following Jamieson’s cross.
32’ | CHANCE! Maria forces Bouzanis into a smart near-post save after unleashing a stinging right-footed strike.
67’ | GOAL! City fail to clear a corner and the ball falls to McGree, who drives a low finish past Bouzanis.
Sunday, 20 October 2019
Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season – Round 2
Melbourne City 2 (Maclaren 24’, 28’)
Adelaide United 1 (McGree 67’)
Venue: AAMI Park