Adelaide United continued its impressive form with a convincing 3-0 victory over rivals Perth Glory at Hindmarsh Stadium tonight. The result took Adelaide's goal tally to eight goals in its last two matches.
Adelaide coach John Kosmina decided not to risk key defender Michael Valkanas for this game instead opting for a reshuffled defensive line. Tall timber Cornthwaite moved into the centre to partner Costanzo while Michael Owens slotted into right back and Aaron Goulding at left back.
Adelaide started the game aggressively with Travis Dodd going close to opening the scoring in only the 3rd minute. He picked up the ball on the edge of the box, turned inside and drove his powerful low shot just wide of the upright.
Perth went close to grabbing the first goal when one defender Tarka hit a deep ball to fellow defender Harnwell loitering deep in the Adelaide box. Harnwell outjumped Goulding and hit a powerful header into the post.
Only a minute later Adelaide opened the scoring with a very well worked move. Veteran midfielder Carl Veart switched the ball wide to Dodd who slipped the ball through Glory defence to Owens. The overlapping Owens hit the by-line before crossing to Qu at the back post. Qu intelligently nodded the ball back to Fernando who smashed his shot just inside the post making it 1-0 to Adelaide.
In the 20th minute Adelaide goalkeeper Bajic gave his team a scare when he dashed out of his box to beat Perth's Stuart Young to the ball. Young won the sprint but Bajic won the bout clattering into Young and earning him a yellow card in the process.
Qu went close when he snapped a shot from another Greg Owens cross. Perth goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski was both surprised and relieved as the shot flew just wide of the post.
On the half hour mark Simon Colosimo stepped past Carl Veart on the edge of the box before curling his shot goalwards. Fortunately for Adelaide goalkeeper Bajic was equal to the task pulling of a great save to deny Perth an equaliser.
Adelaide counterattacked almost immediately with Qu striking the ball from outside the box. The shot took a wicked deflection forcing an excellent reflex save from Perth goalkeeper Vrteski.
Vrteski barely had enough time to ponder of his excellent save before Adelaide's Dodd smashed a spectacular 25m shot into the back of the net. Hindmarsh Stadium erupted - 2-0 to Adelaide at the 34 minute mark.
For the next ten minutes Adelaide and Perth pushed and pressed with neither side creating many opportunities. But only minutes before half time Fernando could have made the score line 3-0 when Dodd cut the ball back to him inside the box. With the goals beckoning, Fernando smashed the ball high into the crowd.
In the dying moments of the half Qu appeared to be pulled back by Kovacevic by referee O'Leary avoided making a decision by blowing the whistle for half time.
In the second half it took Adelaide only five minutes to put the result beyond doubt with its third goal. In another very well worked goal, Adelaide moved the ball from the back to the front with a series of passes before Spagnuolo back healed the ball to Fernando on the edge of the box. Fernando's shot took a wicked deflection and the wrong footed Vrteski could only watch the ball roll into the back of the net - 3-0 to Adelaide and game over.
In the 55th minute Aaron Goulding unleashed a rasping drive from outside the corner of the box. Goalkeeper Vrteski was at full stretch when he turned the shot around his post. A few minutes later Owens was given too much room inside the Perth penalty area and he hit a powerful drive forcing another brilliant reflex save from Vrteski. Perth were on the rack and only great goalkeeping from Vrteski was keeping the score line respectable.
Adelaide coach John Kosmina used the final third of the game to give some game time to new signings Bobby Petta and Dez Giraldi. Both players showed some good touches giving Adelaide fans more reasons to be optimistic of their clubs prospects for season 2006/2007.
The final 3-0 score line was a fitting reflection of another comfortable victory for Adelaide.
Adelaide are improving with each outing. The concern for other A-League sides is Adelaide is not at full strength and is short of its best form. Qu and Fernando are beginning to recreate the understanding that made them the most dangerous partnership in the A-league last season. Fernando has now scored four goals in two goals. At the other end of the pitch it is no co-incidence that Adelaide's run of good form parallels the return to the starting line-up of Angelo Costanzo. The defender is in superb form. Coach John Kosmina will be very pleased to see some of his squad players stepping up to the mark and adding quality and depth to his squad.
Perth Glory coach Ron Smith will be disappointed with the result. Hindmarsh Stadium has traditionally been a good ground for Perth but this time they were clearly second best. But for some good saves by goalkeeper Vrteski the score line could have been much worse.
Angelo Costanzo was the pick of the Adelaide side. Owens defended well and was dangerous down the flanks adding another attacking dimension to Adelaide. Cornthwaite was strong at the back, Spagnuolo continued to impress in his debut season and Brazilian Fernando grabbed another double.
For Perth young goalkeeper Vrteski pulled off some good saves. Colosimo struggled to stamp his mark on the game but did have some good moments. Sekulovski and Young toiled hard up front but with little reward.