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What went right, what went wrong vs Melbourne City

Mohamed Toure

Adelaide United again scored late to snatch a dramatic 2-1 win over Melbourne City to climb into third place on the table.

Mohamed Toure intercepted an errant back pass to give the Reds the lead in the 85th minute as Carl Veart’s side recorded its first victory at AAMI Park against City since April 2016.

Javi López’s cross that sailed over Tom Glover cancelled out Jamie Maclaren’s opener in the first-half to help United register its fourth triumph of the season.

It is not the first time Adelaide has prevented the title holders from collecting maximum points this season after scoring late twice previously to record a pair of 2-2 draws.

WHAT WENT RIGHT. WHAT WENT WRONG.

What went right: Another resilient fightback

It is palpable that Carl Veart has really instilled a compelling amount of belief in the squad. No matter the performance and how they play, as long as they are in touching distance with its opponents, Adelaide is always a chance to rescue something from the game. It has transpired on too many occasions – seven matches to be precise – for it to be just a mere fluke or disregarded as “luck”. The resolve and mental fortitude this team exhibits are infectious. Despite seemingly second-best for the majority of the clash and against the defending champions away from home, they remained unfazed.

The Reds have now recovered 13 points in 2021/22 from losing situations and have scored 15 of their 20 goals this campaign in the second-half. Further to this, they have a penchant for late goals with eight of those scored on or after the 84th minute – indicative of the character in the squad. Under Veart’s stewardship, the South Australians are also one of the fittest teams in the competition.

What went wrong: Falling behind… Again

Adelaide conceded first in a match for the tenth time this season when Jamie Maclaren pounced on a goalkeeping error from Joe Gauci. The Reds switched off from a long set-piece and the 21-year-old raced off his line but misjudged the flight of the ball, allowing the lethal striker to open the scoring. Adelaide have traditionally been slow starters and it is a trend that they have not been able to rectify. However, the young shot-stopper more than atoned for his mistake with a couple of strong saves in the second-half to keep United in the contest. While the early concessions and slow starts can sometimes be rendered superfluous after a win, it must still pose a concern for Veart and his coaching staff. Without wanting to sound like a broken record, the issue does need to be resolved eventually.

What went right: Zach Clough demonstrates his quality

Englishman Zach Clough immediately made his presence known in midfield following his half-time introduction by Veart. His aptitude in possession is quite evident with his technical ability enabling him to get on the ball and look forward. His inclusion altered the side from a tactical perspective too with Clough taking up a more advanced role which meant Stefan Mauk could operate as the box-to-box midfielder. The result also had a flow on effect for Louis D’Arrigo, who appears to flourish more as the lone defensive midfielder instead of in a double pivot or as an auxiliary eight. The 20-year-old certainly helped control the tempo more in the second-half. Veart’s tactical adjustments in the second stanza got United back into the clash after a poor first-half.

Zach Clough

What went wrong: Struggled to play through City’s press

Melbourne City’s pressing game put Adelaide under significant pressure in the first-half and it resulted in struggling to retain possession. Not only do the likes of Jamie Maclaren, Andrew Nabbout and Marco Tilio (before Stefan Colakovski replaced him), pose an attacking threat, they are also experts at being the first line of defence with their intensity and relentless work-rates. Often United’s centre-backs would have to look long, sometimes it worked, but more often than not, the ball would return straight back to them given Hiroshi Ibusuki was isolated up top. Had it not been for Javi López’s fortuitous goal, the result might have been over by half-time on another day with the equaliser, stunting City’s momentum.

What went right: Mohamed Toure ends goal drought

Mohamed Toure had not found the back of the net since the end of February last year against Western Sydney Wanderers. And tonight, the substitute finally broke that scoreless run of 15 matches without a goal. The 17-year-old profited from Carl Jenkinson’s stray back pass destined for goalkeeper Tom Glover, with Toure alert to the situation and telegraphing the ball to incisively finish and seal a vital three points on the road for Adelaide. Hopefully his maiden goal of the season will give him that extra bit of confidence to really get going.

Match details:
Tuesday, 15 February
Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 – Matchweek 15
Melbourne City 1 (Maclaren 11’)
Adelaide United 2 (López 20’, Toure 85’)
Venue: AAMI Park
Attendance: 2,728