Ten-man Adelaide United has fallen 3-0 to Central Coast Mariners on a wet and miserable Saturday night in Gosford.
It was an evenly contested game to begin proceedings but it quickly went pear-shaped for the visitors.
Joe Gauci was given his marching orders by the VAR after clattering into Marcos Urena and after keeping the Mariners at bay for 50 minutes, the Reds’ resistance would finally be breached late in the second-half.
Urena broke the deadlock on 77 minutes before Jason Cummings and Matthew Hatch scored in stoppage time to consign United to a second loss in three matches.
WHAT WENT RIGHT. WHAT WENT WRONG.
What went right: Gauci red card
Joe Gauci was given his marching orders following VAR intervention in the 27th minute. The goalkeeper misjudged coming off his line and clattered into Marcos Urena as he got on the end of a long ball from Mark Birighitti and in behind the defence. Referee Alireza Faghani initially brandished a yellow card, believing Lachlan Barr had provided enough coverage, but the 21-year-old was deemed the last man. The dismissal meant Lachlan Brook had to be sacrificed for young goalkeeper Steven Hall with the Reds switching to a 4-4-1 formation. Gauci will also miss next weekend’s Original Rivalry clash with Melbourne Victory at Coopers Stadium.
What went right: Valiant effort but a bridge too far
It was always going to be a tough ask to get something out of the game following the numerical disadvantage. But to Adelaide’s credit they held firm and defended resolutely for as long as they could, while absorbing incessant spells of Mariners pressure. But the relentless nature of the hosts’ attacks meant it was only a matter of time before the inevitable concession. Sadly, Urena connected expertly with Lewis Miller’s cross to open the scoring and then the floodgates opened at the death.
What went right: Hall impressive
Despite the one-sided scoreline, 17-year-old goalkeeper Steven Hall was unflappable following his introduction. It was the goalkeeper’s third senior appearance and second time he has come on in the league. Hall again illustrated maturity beyond his years, producing countless saves – including a brilliant stop to deny an Urena header. His composure and temperament is quite phenomenal given his age as nothing appears to faze him and certainly plays with ice in his veins. He could do nothing about the first goal and the last two came as the pressure continued to mount with little he could do.
What went wrong: Winless in three
Having won three matches in a row, the Reds are now winless in its previous three games as they prepare to host Melbourne Victory in a massive Original Rivalry clash next weekend. While nothing is of course guaranteed, one thing in Adelaide’s favour is its run home with five of its remaining six matches at Coopers Stadium. Carl Veart’s side must capitalise on that situation if they are to finish in the top four, with the majority of the chasing pack still boasting games in hand.
Saturday, 26 March
Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 – Matchweek 20
Central Coast Mariners 3 (Urena 77’, Cummings 90+1’, Hatch 90+3’)
Adelaide United 0
Venue: Central Coast Stadium