Resilient Reds claw back important point

Adelaide United’s Senior RAA NPL side claimed a trying point away to Adelaide Olympic on Saturday night, reducing an early two-goal deficit.

Adelaide United’s Senior RAA NPL side claimed a trying point away to Adelaide Olympic on Saturday night, reducing an early two-goal deficit.

The Young Reds found themselves 2-0 down after just 10 minutes, thanks to sublime strikes from Cooper Mullins and Joe Wright.

In an unusual position, United were forced to respond early, and Jake Porter was able to return serve after 18 minutes with an emphatic finish over the goalkeeper.

Giuseppe Bovalina’s headed effort made it 2-2 after 66 minutes and that’s how it stayed despite several more United attempts on goal.

As far as ‘handy points’ go, United’s Seniors have maintained a seven-point gap in third position after 15 matches, with every point and ladder position crucial to the top-six finals finish.

Youth Head Coach, Airton Andrioli, conceded it was a ‘little bit of a strange’ start to the game, but he was proud of the way his team rallied.

“Their two quick goals took us a little by surprise which happens in football, but it showed we weren’t switched on from the start,” he said.

“In saying that, I was really pleased with how we responded and after their goals we virtually controlled the game from there.

“This result gives me a lot of confidence that we’ll be competitive regardless of our personnel at the moment.”

Andrioli’s current roster across both Seniors and Reserves squads contains majority of players who are eligible for the SA NTC’s Under 18 squad.

One of those is Mohammed Hassan, who is leading United’s Reserves goal-scoring chart with six goals from the 12 he has played.

His double at the weekend, and goals from Luka Blazevic and Jacob Thang, lifted the Reds to a vital 2-4 win that has kept them in the top six.

United will be further tested given Panagiotis Kikianis’ late call-up to the Young Socceroos squad for the Portugal Sub-18 International Tournament, alongside goalkeeper, Steven Hall, and forward, Luka Jovanović.

“Pana (Kikianis) left yesterday next to Steven and Luka to join the Young Socceroos squad and I was really excited when I got a call late last week with the news,” Andrioli said.

“I’ve got a lot of time for him and he’s doing really well, plus he’s been a real leader for us in the backline and thoroughly deserves this opportunity.

“It’s the price we pay for developing younger players, but it’s what we’re about and we’re looking forward to the challenge this week.

“Let’s see what happens.”

United’s Reserves play next in a Tuesday night fifth-round Federation Cup thriller against Adelaide Comets at ServiceFM Stadium from 7:30pm.

The hungry Lions approach:
United will certainly aim for a faster start in what looms as another tricky task against Sturt Lions next Sunday.

While the ladder has featured Sturt at its foot for a large part of the season, Andrioli will be weary of a side containing former United Championship player, Michael Marrone.

“Sturt still have a good side with a lot of experience no matter where they are on the table,” Andrioli said.

“Micky (Marrone) is a competitor and he always gives 110% which encourages the players surrounding him, as well as Gonzalo Rodriguez up top and Akira Kobaishi in the midfield, among others.

“They will see us coming with a young brigade and they’ll be looking for a vital three points, so we know we’ll need to negotiate the tough moments and win those individual battles against teams like Sturt who are hungry for results.”

Adelaide United and Sturt Lions clash on Sunday, 11 June at 5:00pm at ServiceFM Stadium (Pitch 1).