Adelaide v Sydney

A-League report by Lino Fusco
Adelaide United v Sydney FC

Benito Carbone lit up the Hyundai A-League with a brilliant man of the match performance for Sydney FC against Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Monday. Benito cleverly set up to goals and scored another in Sydney's 4-1 thumping of Adelaide United in front of 15,119 fans.

Adelaide went into the game weakened with the loss of its two big name players - Fernando injured and Qu serving the first of a two game suspension. Kosmina reshuffled his side giving young striker Nathan Burns and veteran import Bobby Petta their first starts while welcoming back defender Michael Valkanis. Sydney added high profile guest player Benito Carbone to its line up and welcomed back Alvin Ceccoli.

Sydney kicked off and immediately went on the attack putting the Adelaide defense under early stress. Sydney increased the pressure on Adelaide by closing down players quickly and high up the pitch forcing Adelaide to give up the ball cheaply.

The first sign of the Carbone factor came in only the 4th minute. There was some slick passing by Sydney which led to the ball being knocked down to Carbone just inside the penalty area. He used his pace to create space before hitting a dangerous ball across the Adelaide penalty area.

A few minutes later Carl Veart hit a great long ball through to Travis Dodd. The midfielder outpaced Sydney defender Ceccoli. With the goals beckoning Dodd squandered the opportunity when he failed to round goalkeeper Clint Bolton.

On 10 minutes Sydney midfielder Zadkovich did some good work down the flanks before crossing in a dangerous ball that was prodded to safety by Valkanis for the first corner of the match. The corner was cleared by Adelaide but Sydney continued to attack until Zadkovich hit a shot well wide from the edge of the box. A minute later it was fellow midfielder Alex Brosque's turn to hit a shot wide of the goal from the edge of the box.

A few minutes later Adelaide almost conceded its first goal when striker Zdrillic was put through with only the keeper to beat. But Zdrillic was ruled offside in a very marginal decision that could easily have been ruled onside.

In the 18th minute Sydney sent another warning to Adelaide United. Defender Ceccoli skinned Dodd down the flank before hitting a dangerous cross into the box. Adelaide cleared the ball only as far as Dodd who, ominously, miscued his clearance sending the ball back into the box to the feet of a surprised Zdrillic. Sydney knocked the ball back to Zadkovich who struck the ball goal wards. His shot was deflected to the feet of Zdrillic who slotted the ball past Bajic only to be ruled offside.

Just as Adelaide was beginning to fight its way back into the game Sydney struck its first goal in the 36th minute. Alex Brosque streaked down the left flank before cutting the ball inside to Carbone. Carbone propped on the ball patiently before threading a perfect pass through to Zadkovich running from deep to beat the Adelaide offside trap. Zadkovich side footed the ball past Bajic to silence the Adelaide crowd - 1-0 to Sydney.

Only three minutes later Sydney almost doubled its lead. Again Alex Brosque streaked down the left flank and crossed the ball into the box to Zadkovich. He nodded the ball down to Zdrillic who drove his shot goal wards only for his effort to be cleared off the line by defender Valkanis.

Sydney went into the half time break with a deserved one goal lead having comfortably outplayed Adelaide for much of the first 45 minutes of the game.

Adelaide started the second half in better form with Costanzo shifted into midfield but the first chance fell to Sydney. It was Carbone again who threaded a through ball to Brosque who outpaced the Adelaide defence. He rounded goalkeeper Bajic but took the ball too wide and was forced to cross the ball into the penalty box where it was cleared by Costanzo.

In the 54th minute Hindmarsh Stadium was set alight with the goal of season by Nathan Burns. The youngster won the ball deep in the Adelaide backlines, streaked forward, held off a Sydney player before passing to Costanzo on the half way line. Costanzo pushed the ball out wide to Owens who then passed it back inside to Burns. Burns continued his run goal wards playing a one-two with Carl Veart, streaked past three more Sydney FC players before slotting the ball past goalkeeper Bolton. It was a brilliant goal that only enhances the reputation of the youngster that some are daring to say could be Australia's next Harry Kewell.

Adelaide's joy was short-lived when Travis Dodd put the ball back into his own net a few minutes later. Ceccoli did well to cross the ball into the box and Dodd prodded the ball into the net under pressure from Zadkovich. 2-1 to Sydney.

For the next 10 minutes Adelaide and Sydney slugged it out in the middle of the park as Adelaide increasingly pushed forward in search of an equaliser.

In the 70th minute another intelligent run from Nathan Burns almost reaped his second goal but he flashed his shot wide of the post.

At the other end of the park Carbone weaved his magic down the flank completely wrong footing the experienced Ross Aloisi and leaving him on his backside before chipping deep into the penalty area. Zadkovich attempted to strike the ball goal wards but only succeeded in miss hitting the ball to Mark Rudan. The big Sydney defender showed why he plays at the back when he turned ball well wide of the post from the 5 yard line.

Adelaide counter attacked through Owens who drove forward and struck a powerful drive just over the crossbar.

The game was opening right up with Sydney coach Terry Butcher starting to look worried on the bench and Adelaide coach Kosmina showing some signs of frustration. But Butcher's concerns were alleviated in the 79th minute when Sydney scored its third goal of the game thanks, once again, to little Benito Carbone. From a seemingly innocuous situation, Carbone brilliantly back healed a pass that split open the Adelaide backlines. Substitute Petrovski ran onto the back heal and tapped the ball past goalkeeper Bajic - 3-1 to Sydney.

Adelaide substitute Jason Spagnuolo had an opportunity to pull one goal back for Adelaide in the 83rd minute when Bobby Petta picked him out inside the box. Unfortunately for Adelaide, Spagnuolo drove his shot high and wide.

A minute later Mark Milligan hit a brilliant ball to Carbone with the outside of his foot. Carbone beat the Adelaide offside trap and then smashed his shot past Bajic in goals - 4-1 to Sydney and game over.

In the closing minute of normal time Jason Spagnuolo decided to outdo his first effort on goal by hitting a second strike that posed more threat to the floodlights than goalkeeper Clint Bolton.

With seconds remaining Bobby Petta outpaced the Sydney defence, chipped the ball over Bolton to the back post but the ball took a deflection and striker Veart was unable to react in time to hit the target from less than a metre out. He bravely collided with the goalpost as he desperately tried to steer the ball into the net.

The full time score - a convincing 4-1 victory to Sydney FC.

The result was disappointing for Adelaide. Coach John Kosmina has some cause for concern with his team struggling to match it in the middle of the park against A-League front runners Melbourne, Queensland and Sydney. Further the defense has lost its status as the Rock of Gibraltar of the A-League and is leaking goals. On a positive note Adelaide is creating chances and scoring goals. But Kosmina will need to fix his leaky defense and miss-firing midfield if Adelaide are to progress up the A-League table.

Sydney FC coach Terry Butcher will be pleased with the outcome. Tactically Sydney very successfully blunted Adelaide shutting down their ability to play football down the flanks. But it was Benito Carbone who really did the damage beating Adelaide's offside trap three times.

Nathan Burns was the pick of the Adelaide side largely due to his brilliant goal. Costanzo was the pick of the rest while Bobby Petta was a mixed bag of clever play and getting caught on the ball. Veart toiled hard up front for no reward.

Benito Carbone put in a man of the match performance. Zadkovich and Brosque were strong performers down the flanks and Ceccoli played well on his return to first team action.