Gertjan Verbeek’s plucky decision to go for the win rather than take a conservative approach and settle for the draw paid huge dividends against Central Coast Mariners.
The Dutchman rolled the dice by introducing 15-year-old Mohamed Toure on 77 minutes for the second successive week and dramatically helped shift the momentum back in Adelaide United’s favour with the score locked at 0-0.
His injection of pace immediately caused the Mariners problems and was involved in the opening goal as George Blackwood broke the deadlock on 82 minutes courtesy of an emphatic strike.
And two minutes later he would cap off a dream cameo appearance with a goal of his own to become the youngest player in Hyundai A-League history to score after Riley McGree notched his second assist of the night.
Adelaide were on the back foot for large periods but Verbeek was adamant in his mind to secure the three points being the home side.
“The last ten, fifteen minutes I thought by myself if you want something we have to win at home against Central Coast,” Verbeek told reporters in the post-match press conference.
“We want to win, and then you have to be an offensive coach I think.
“You play at home, maybe (if we played) away I thought, ‘okay when it’s 0-0 it’s not a good day for us, and we have a lot injuries and 0-0 is okay’.
“But at home I think we have to win this game and then you take a little bit of a risk and then you have to be a little bit lucky and I think we were.”
It was the perfect response after last weekend’s 2-1 loss to Brisbane Roar with United also keeping their third clean sheet of the season.
“Sometimes you have to force to be a little bit lucky,” Verbeek explained.
“It was not a big problem to defend well, but it cost a lot of energy and we lost a little bit of pressure on the ball.
“Because the two central defenders of Central Coast played wide and Kristian Opseth couldn’t run anymore to get pressure on the ball and then you get long balls.
“And sometimes you have to be aware of the second ball and that’s always difficult.”
The United boss said the match played out very similar to last weekend’s game, which is why he opted to again bring Toure on for his second senior game.
“What happened last week also happened this game, Mohamed came in and gave the team energy,” he added.
“Of course, you have to be a little bit lucky to bring one in and you score almost immediately the goal and the second one he made himself after a few minutes.”
He revealed the only instructions he gave the prodigious youngster was to utilise his attributes, in an attempt to not over complicate things
“Use your speed and your power,” Verbeek disclosed, when asked what he said to Toure before his introduction.
“That’s the only thing because he’s just arriving, he’s just had a few trainings with the first squad so he has to learn a lot and he can’t learn that in a few minutes, because he’s also excited to get in, his friends and family are probably in the stadium.”
Adelaide United face Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 20 of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season on Friday, 21 February at Bankwest Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.00pm ACDT. Live and Exclusive on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports and the My Football Live App.