United v Glory

Cup report by Lino Fusco
Adelaide United v Perth Glory

Adelaide United fought back from two goals down to snatch an important point against Perth Glory in the opening game of the A-League Pre-Season Cup.

The match was a very physical encounter between the two sides with United giving the Glory a roughing up in the opening 45 minutes.

Glory grabbed the opening goal in the 29th minute. Sekulovski broke out wide down the flank and crossed the ball low and to the front post. Valkanis beat Despotovski to the ball but only managed to turn the ball into his own net as he fell to the ground. There were claims from United of a push on Valkanis but referee Craig Zetter awarded the goal. 1-0 to Glory.

Glory seemed to seal their victory when they scored their second in the 52nd minute. Once again it was Sekulovski who found space down the flank behind the United defence. As he reached the by-line Sekulovski cut the ball back to the un-marked Despotovski who made no mistake with his shot from 5 metres. 2-0 to Glory.

Glory was in control of the game and to most neutral observers it seemed the only question was how many more goals Glory would hit.

However good fortune smiled on the determined Adelaide United who hit back against the run of play. Midfielder Travis Dodd miss-controlled a short pass and appeared to have lost the ball. But he quickly recovered and clipped the ball forward into the path of Aloisi who caught the Glory defense napping. Aloisi had slipped through the Glory defense and comfortably slotted the ball past Jovanic in goal. 2-1 to Glory.

Glory further incensed coach McMahon when they gave away a second goal in the 62nd minute. A ball into the box found United defender Valkanis. He tussled with Kovacevic before managing to mishit the ball towards goal with a shot that appeared to come off his knee. In almost slow motion the ball dribbled just inside the goal post to level the scores - 2-2.

The game was further turned on its head when Glory substitute McMahon was shown the red card in the 75th minute. McMahon had been involved in several tough tackles with United midfielder Costanzo and had come away with the ball. However there was clearly some ill-feeling between the two players. When McMahon rushed in to steal another ball off Costanzo the United midfielder went to ground. Referee Zetter gave McMahon his marching orders for allegedly using his elbow though it did appear to be a harsh decision.

The ten man Glory pushed its players behind the ball and defended solidly for the closing 15 minutes of the game. The game ended with the scores locked at 2-2.

The fight back by Adelaide United created some interest in what was otherwise a very un-inspiring match. Perth Glory were disappointing and were a shadow of the team that thrashed United at Hindmarsh Stadium in the closing rounds of the NSL.

Most disappointing was key midfielder Simon Colosimo. His passing was poor, he lacked sharpness and was frequently caught on the ball - a performance you would not expect from a player that is one of the few locally based members of the current Socceroo squad.

Glory will improve with more match practice and the addition of the several key players that were missing tonight.

There are worrying signs for Adelaide United. Their performance lacked class, style and imagination. They are clearly a very determined and hard running side but this alone will not be enough to bring back the big crowds.

Costanzo worked hard in the midfield and became increasingly prominent in the second half.

The addition of marquee play Qu late in the game added some life to what was otherwise a very dull performance by United.