United v Jets

Cup report by Andrew Howe
Adelaide United v Newcastle Jets

A tight Group A pre-season cup match at Hindmarsh Stadium saw honours shared yet again, with Adelaide United and Newcastle United drawing 1-1 on the scoreboard - and 1-1 in the disallowed goals category.

An uneventful first half in front of almost 7000 spectators ended goalless, with the most exciting incident coming very early in proceedings when Adelaide had its goal disallowed.

The 4th minute passage of play started with Angelo Costanzo laying the ball off to Carl Veart, whose shot from 30 metres was parried by the goalkeeper into Ross Aloisi; the Adelaide midfielder managed to find the net with a well placed first-time shot, but was ruled off-side by an observant assistant referee.

The first half then grinded down to a dull affair, with neither team prepared to take any chances.

It was a different story in the second half however, which started with a rash challenge by Newcastleĺ─˘s Allan Picken on Aurelio Vidmar. Once the resulting melee died down Picken was shown the only yellow card of the game.

In the 62nd minute it was Newcastleĺ─˘s turn to have a goal ruled out. The exciting Nick Carle had made a useful run in towards goal, passed on to Labinot Haliti who then found team-mate Matthew Thompson, whose strike into goal was judged to have been scored from an off-side position.

With both sides having shifted several gears up, Adelaide scored the first legitimate goal in the 74th minute. A corner from second half substitute Shengqing Qu lobbed in to the middle of a very congested goalmouth, and it was a lucky Michael Valkanis (pictured above) who claimed the goal when the ball appeared to bounce off his torso and over the line.

Newcastle struck back almost immediately, raiding the Adelaide goal area three times before eventually managing to convert. Nick Carle released a nice backheel to Guy Bates, who ran sideways and laid off a short pass to the rampaging Richard Johnson, who rammed the ball home from 18 metres directly in front of goal. There was little Adelaide goalkeeper Daniel Beltrame could do to stop the 79th minute goal as the ball shot in a few centimetres inside the left goalpost.

The home side almost stole the match in the final minutes, firstly when Chad Bugeja almost got to an near-perfect diagonal cross from Richie Alagich, and then in the 88th minute when the same two players combined; a fine save from the outstretched hands of Newcastle custodian Liam Reddy denying Bugeja a headed opportunity from just four metres out.

Best players for Adelaide were Alagich and a hard working Veart, while Thompson, Craig Deans and Haliti were the pick of the bunch for the away side.