United v Glory

Cup report by Andrew Howe
Adelaide United v Perth Glory

Adelaide United and Perth Glory drew two-all in a match at Hindmarsh Stadium, in a hard fought but tentative opening Pre-Season Cup encounter which saw the sending-off of Perths Steve McMahon Jnr just seven minutes after coming on as a substitute.

Perth though were able to hang on for the final 15 minutes after McMahon Jnrs dismissal, although Glory coach Steve McMahon Snr will be disappointed his team didnt win after blowing a two-goal lead.

Although the home side started the better, Perth Glory soon attained the ascendancy. A 24th minute cross by Naum Sekulovski to Bobby Despotovski who headed just over almost saw the Glory open up their account.

However just five minutes later the same two players combined to pressure Adelaides Michael Valkanis into conceding an own goal. After Sekulovski managed to get a critical low cross through the Adelaide United defence it was Valkanis, under pressure from Despotovski six metres in front of goal, who could only watch in despair as the ball deflected off his leg and into goal.

Perhaps in a sign of frustration, Valkanis earned himself a yellow card soon after when he illegally brought down Despotovski.

Two more quick cautions then went to Adelaide players, Carl Veart and Kristian Rees both committing unnecessary challenges in what was a physical encounter. By half-time Adelaide United were five-one up in the yellow card count, a tally that might prove costly for the team in the latter stages of the A-League pre season cup.

Seven minutes after the break Sekulovski managed to find space down the left flank to take the ball all the way to the by-line; the Glory striker then cut back a pass to an unmarked Despotovski who converted a gift chance from eight metres out.

Although two goals down, the home side were not quite finished, and in less than two minutes after Perths second goal came back thanks to a strong strike from Ross Aloisi. Good lead-up play from Travis Dodd, starting from the centre of the park, ended with Dodd slotting an incisive pass through to Aloisi, who gave Milan Jovanic no chance.

Following a 62nd minute indiscretion from Perth, Valkanis sneaked forward and found himself the recipient of Angelo Costanzos free kick; the Adelaide defender tussled for the ball with Perths Ante Kovacevic, and whilst both players fell to the ground 10 metres from goal Valkanis managed to get a kick in which ended up in Glorys net. Following his first half own goal, Valkanis had certainly turned from villain to hero.

With 15 minutes of the game remaining, Perths 68th minute substitute McMahon Jnr committed a rash challenge on Costanzo, earning himself the ire of the home teams players and the red card from referee Craig Zetter.

Adelaide failed to take advantage of the extra player, although Matthew Kemp almost snatched a winner with the last kick of the game, following a weaving run from half-way and a shot from 15 meters out which had Jovanic stretched but not sweating with his save.

With the other group A game between Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Victory finishing 1-1 the group remains wide open, with both teams looking to improve significantly after fairly nervous performances tonight. In the next matches, Adelaide is at home against Newcastle, while Perth is away at Melbourne.