An undermanned Adelaide United has gone down 1-0 in an entertaining clash with old foes Melbourne Victory at Coopers Stadium on Saturday night.
Adelaide fell behind inside seven minutes and despite dominating the majority of the Original Rivalry, the hosts could not find a breakthrough.
The result means the Reds slump to a second straight defeat and fourth home loss, and are now winless in four games.
WHAT WENT RIGHT. WHAT WENT WRONG.
What went right: Understrength Reds give good account of themselves
Indeed, the result was not what was required to consolidate its place in the top six, but the circumstances can be mitigated by the number of absentees. Adelaide were without four of their centre-backs meaning Isaías had to drop in and fill the void. Meanwhile, Bernardo, George Blackwood and Ryan Kitto all missed with Covid-19. This was then compounded by Mohamed Toure sustaining an untimely injury and forced to come off early into proceedings.
Despite the setbacks, Adelaide did give a strong account of themselves and played with heart and desire. They showed great urgency, intensity and endeavour, while controlling possession. However, they were left to rue their lack of polish in the final third, resorting to plenty of crosses and were vulnerable in transition at times.
What went wrong: Toure succumbs to injury
Mohamed Toure’s night was abruptly cut short in the 21st minute after being pulled down with his right shoulder giving way. The 18-year-old remained down as play continued and was visibly in discomfort before needing to be stretched off still clutching his shoulder. The Club confirmed it was a dislocation, but the full extent of the injury will not be revealed until further scans are done. Hopefully it is nothing too serious that forces a long lay-off.
What went right: Isaías reaches 200 games
Of course, the match did not go according to plan for the Reds faithful or Isaías, who was playing in his 200th game. The Spaniard became just the second Red to achieve the milestone after legend, Eugene Galekovic. However, to mark the occasion, Isaías did not occupy his traditional defensive midfield role, instead featuring as an auxiliary centre-back and he performed quite admirably.
His distribution (87% passing accuracy), allowed the ball to get into the midfield quickly and also recorded four tackles and an interception as well as delaying and halting Victory counter-attacks. A special player and hopefully many more strong performances into the future before he hangs up the boots in a few years.
What went wrong: Conceded first again
Adelaide were undone by a neat routine in the seventh minute. Francesco Margiotta’s chipped ball found an overlapping Jason Geria and his cut-back picked out Marcos Rojas, whose shot deflected in off Isaías and proved to be the solitary goal in the match. While it was well-worked, questions will be asked about the ease in which Geria was allowed to float in behind untracked. It is now the 13th game the Reds have conceded the opening goal.
What went wrong: Goal-scoring troubles
It can be easy to simplify football. Without pointing out the obvious: goals win football matches. But how to manufacture them and the build-up play involved is the complicated part. You do need a little bit of luck at times too. They are creating chances, though arguably not enough clear-cut opportunities consistently. And when they do, the attempts are not going in. To their credit Victory defended resolutely with two banks of four.
The Reds have now failed to score in their past three matches and have found the net just once in their previous four. It is becoming a concern and one that needs to be rectified quickly to avoid sliding down the ladder further.
Saturday, 2 April
Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 – Matchweek 21
Adelaide United 0
Melbourne Victory 1 (Rojas 7′)
Venue: Coopers Stadium