What went right, what went wrong vs Melbourne Victory

Adelaide United’s Liberty A-League 2021/22 season has ended after a 2-1 semi-final loss to Melbourne Victory at Coopers Stadium on Sunday.

The Reds’ maiden finals game did not go according to plan when they fell behind on 29 minutes through Lia Privitelli.

Nano Sasaki responded straightaway via a speculative free-kick but Victory again scored after half-time as Melina Ayres was unmarked at the back post, and United could not find a way back.


What went wrong: Tentative start

It was a cagey start to the game from the Reds. They struggled to retain possession of the ball beyond the back four, frequently giving the ball away cheaply. Perhaps the sense of occasion was a little overwhelming to begin the match. Of course, it was United’s inaugural finals game so the added apprehensiveness might have been a factor. Head Coach Adrian Stenta disagreed to an extent in a post-match interview, but from our vantage point they did appear to be a little hesitant. Victory broke the deadlock after Catherine Zimmerman found Lia Privitelli unmarked at the back post to give the visitors the lead. However, once the nerves settled United acquitted themselves better and illustrated more urgency.

What went right: Parity restored immediately

Adelaide’s response was immediate with Victory’s lead lasting just three minutes. The concession appeared to instantly spark the hosts into life, even in the brief minutes prior to the equaliser. Indeed, that goal was scored by Nano Sasaki in audacious fashion as her free-kick from approximately 40 yards caught Casey Dumont off guard, clipping the underside of the crossbar, when she expected a cross.

What went wrong: Season over

It felt like the Reds’ season ended prematurely and they could have come away with more from the year. On the day, Victory were not necessarily superior but the Reds just could not capitalise on the chances they created when they really needed to. A missed opportunity to make a genuine push for the title, but when it is all said and done this campaign was United’s most successful to date and certainly something to build on.

What went wrong: Struggled to create consistent problems in attack

The free-flowing football that we have become accustomed to seeing this season was largely absent today. Perhaps that is a credit to Melbourne. However, Fiona Worts and Chelsie Dawber were less effective in wider areas and the Reds struggled to play through the midblock with Victory happy to sit off and not implement a high-press on United’s defence.  

Match details:
Sunday, 13 March
Liberty A-League 2021/22 – Semi-final 2
Adelaide United 1 (Sasaki 32′)
Melbourne Victory 2 (Privitelli 29′, Ayres 57′)
Venue: Coopers Stadium
Attendance: 2,607