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What went right, what went wrong vs Newcastle Jets

Adelaide United secured a dramatic 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets thanks to a late comeback at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.

Fifteen-year-old Nestory Irankunda dispatched a sensational 88th minute free-kick to cancel out Beka Mikeltadze’s 59th minute volley, before another Reds substitute, Hiroshi Ibusuki, scored a close-range header in the second minute of stoppage time.

The smash and grab victory propels Adelaide provisionally into third spot on the ladder and extends its unbeaten streak to five matches.

The result is the first time United have registered back-to-back triumphs this season and have still not tasted defeat in the Hunter Valley since December 2017.

WHAT WENT RIGHT. WHAT WENT WRONG.

What went right: Reds’ character again on display

Sure, Newcastle did run out of steam towards the end due to its first game in 42 days, but Adelaide never yielded irrespective of leaving a lot to be desired. Adelaide almost had no right to win this match, but somehow found a way. Call it resilient, call it a great escape or call it luck. Regardless, you can never count this side out, and that is indicative of the environment within this team – they always show endeavour and enterprise. Adelaide leads the league in goals scored in the second stanza and they proved again why they are first in this category. With another two goals tonight, they have now scored 13 second-half goals. However, they have shown to be slow starters – trailing in seven of of their 10 matches this campaign. Despite this, they have managed to recover nine points in five of those games – including a second consecutive come-from-behind win. There certainly is a steely resolve about this squad and it is quite infectious how they push through adversity together.

What went right: Irankunda’s sensational cameo

In just his third Isuzu UTE A-League appearance after becoming the fourth youngest Red to debut and sixth youngest player in the competition’s history a few weeks ago, 15-year-old Nestory Irankunda scored his first goal. The prodigious talent showed real poise and responsibility to step up and take the free-kick and for good measure. Irankunda showcased his class over the dead ball, curling his set-piece up and over the wall and beyond Jack Duncan to equalise. In doing so, he became the second youngest player to find the back of the net in the league behind Mohamed Toure.

What went wrong: Lack of discipline

Four Adelaide players caught the ire of the referee in the first-half as they all received bookings. The Reds currently lead the competition in yellow cards and their ill-discipline is a concern. Javi López and Juande are both walking tightropes having accumulated their fourth bookings. Jacob Tratt was brandished his fifth caution, meaning he will now miss Friday night’s clash against Sydney FC and Mohamed Toure was rightly carded for simulation in the penalty box. Meanwhile, Isaías was already absent for this match – serving a one-match suspension due to accruing a fifth booking last weekend. In the end, United finished with six players booked and need to improve in this area moving forward or risk being understrength in its upcoming fixtures.

What went right: Carl Veart’s substitutions

All of Carl Veart’s substitutions proved to be inspired changes in the second-half as they impacted the positive outcome and shifted the momentum into the Reds’ favour as the Jets began to fatigue. Lachlan Brook and Hiroshi Ibusuki were introduced at the break and imposed themselves on the game while speedster Nestory Irankunda looked to drive forward at every opportunity. Josh Cavallo also did not stop running and his inch-perfect cross found the head of the Japanese striker for a simple header and his second goal since his arrival. Indeed, the 30-year-old helped ignite the initial move, winning an aerial ball near the half-way line which allowed Irankunda and Brook to combine for Cavallo, whilst Ibusuki sprinted into the box.

What went wrong: Disjointed first-half

The Reds lacked rhythm to their play and struggled to effectively execute their pressing game with too much space between the lines. It allowed Newcastle to get on the half-turn and play forward without a whole lot of pressure. Ironically, it looked like Adelaide were the side that had not played in six weeks given it was a lacklustre showing and not Newcastle. The only real positive was that the score remained 0-0 going into the interval. The absences of Craig Goodwin and Isaías was apparent and it took some time for the team to adjust as they finished the first 45 marginally stronger.

Match details:
Sunday, 30 January
Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 – Matchweek 12
Newcastle Jets 1 (Mikeltadze 59’)
Adelaide United 2 (Irankunda 88’, Ibusuki 90+2’)
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Attendance: 6,040