What went right, what went wrong vs Western Sydney Wanderers

Adelaide United’s three-match winning streak ended in frustrating fashion, going down 2-1 to Western Sydney Wanderers at Coopers Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Reds took an eighth minute lead thanks to Craig Goodwin’s sublime free-kick, before the Wanderers equalised.

Despite dominating the entirety of the first-half, Adelaide could not add to its solitary goal and lamented its wastefulness in the second-half.

It was a game that the hosts should not have lost on the balance of play, but will now need to bounce back.


What went right: Goodwin’s red-hot form continues

Craig Goodwin was at the centre of Adelaide’s offensive production and dazzled the fans with an absolute top-drawer free-kick. The winger sent his sweetly struck set-piece into the top corner to equal Bruce Djite’s Club-record 41 goals. The strike is the 30-year-old’s seventh in the league and eighth overall this season to go along with his four assists. He also rarely yields possession of the ball away too, completing 88% of his passes on the night.

What went wrong: Two soft goals conceded

Adelaide’s defence was breached like a knife through butter for its first concession, Ramy Najjarine was allowed to waltz through the defence and slot his finish beyond the onrushing Joe Gauci against the run of play. Gauci, whose been essentially infallible for the last month, would have wanted his initial clearance back after it landed straight to a Wanderers head, enabling the visitors to profit from the swift transition. Phillip Cancar then scored from a corner after the Reds failed to clear the loose ball.

What went wrong: First loss in four matches

Adelaide had prevailed 2-1 in its preceding three games and were looking to continue that run with another home match in quick succession. A win would have further distanced themselves from the chasing pack below and provide substantial breathing room. Unfortunately, that went against the script and their inability to capitalise at key moments ultimately cost them the three points, with Carl Veart post-match believing his team played some of their best football of the season in that opening ‘45. United will have to avenge the result when they face the same opposition in Sydney on Sunday.

What went right: Clough improving

In his third league start, English attacking midfielder Zach Clough enjoyed his most auspicious outing since his arrival. The 27-year-old was extremely tidy in possession and occupied great spaces between the lines particularly in the first-half. His technical ability got him out of tight areas and boasted a 91% passing accuracy rate during the 70 minutes he played. We got to see a bit more of his creativity and inventiveness and the hope will be those glimpses translate into complete performances on a consistent basis. Certainly promising signs.  

What went wrong: Jakobsen off injured

Michael Jakobsen went off injured in the second-half after appearing to suffer some sort of leg issue. The Dane’s withdrawal meant Alexandar Popović was summoned from the bench, making his professional debut in the process. The 19-year-old centre-back has trained hard and impressed in the Club’s youth team so it was fantastic to see another local South Australian on the park. While the extent of Jakobsen’s injury is still unknown, his expected absence does present more minutes for the likes of Popović to get a genuine chance to play Isuzu UTE A-League football.

What went wrong: Reliant on too many crosses

Adelaide resorted to crosses once it struggled to find a way of breaking down Wanderers’ two banks of four. They became a bit too predictable with some of the deliveries rather aimless and easy to defend. Daniel Margush made five punches from balls into the box. At times they panicked and could have knocked the ball around the edge of the Wanderers’ 18-yard-box, before finding a killer pass to unlock a sturdy back-four. No doubt all will be analysed in the post-mortem and ideally rectified for its next meeting against Western Sydney and beyond.    

Match details:
Wednesday, 16 March
Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 – Matchweek 8
Adelaide United 1 (Goodwin 8’)
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Najjarine 26’, Cancar 75’)
Venue: Coopers Stadium
Attendance: 3,553