Adelaide v Glory

A-League report by Lino Fusco
Adelaide United v Perth Glory

Pre-match there was an injury cloud over Adelaide striker Qu and attacking midfielder Petta. Coach Kosmina decided not to risk the two players and brought Brasilian Fernando back into the line up after a month on the sidelines due to injury along with Aaron Goulding. Angelo Costanzo also returned from several weeks out with a minor knee injury but started on the bench.

Perth Glory also had its injury problems going into this game with Stan Lazaridis and Stuart Young ruled out and replaced by former Adelaide United player Mimi Saric and Luka Glavas. Perth continues to miss key midfielder Simon Colosimo who suffered a hamstring injury several weeks ago.

Adelaide turned on the weather for this derby clash with perfect conditions for a pleasant Sunday afternoon of football.

The game kicked off with both Adelaide and Perth taking a very positive approach to the game.

Perth almost earned an early reward for its attacking endeavour in the 5th minute when Tarka hit a long ball over the top. Despotovski outpaced the Adelaide defence before striking the ball from just inside the box only to be denied by a good save from Adelaide goalkeeper Bajic.

Spagnuolo earned Adelaide its first corner in the 9th minute. Spagnuolo took the corner and found the head of Kristian Rees. Vrteski could only watch as the header skimmed the top of the crossbar.

Perth were dealt a blow when Naum Sekulovski succumbed to a shoulder injury and had to be replaced by Jeremy Christie. But almost immediately afterwards Perth pinched the ball in midfield from Aloisi and Lukas Glavas hit a nicely weighted pass into the path of the pacey Mimi Saric. The former Adelaide United player used his pace to streak away from his defender before hitting a well placed low drive just inside the post. 1-0 to Perth Glory.

But Perth's lead was very short-lived with Spagnuolo pulled back by Coyne inside the box. Referee Breeze awarded a penalty despite Spagnuolo staying on his feet and having his shot well saved by goalkeeper Vrteski. Carl Veart made no mistake with the penalty this week sending Vrteski the wrong way. 1-1 with only 16 minutes on the clock.

The game flowed from one end to the other with Fernando heading over the bar from an Adelaide corner then Saric forcing a good save from Bajic at the other end. Adelaide went down the flank through Dodd who crossed in for Fernando and then Veart to strike the ball but somehow Perth blocked the shots and scrambled the ball clear. Up the other end for a Perth corner - Adelaide fail to clear but Harnwell hits a soft shot straight into the arms of Bajic. Then it's back to the Perth end and Spagnuolo earns another corner for Adelaide. The ball flashed across the Perth penalty box and goes out for a goal kick much to the relief of goalkeeper Vrteski.

Adelaide attack again from the goal kick with Travis Dodd rounding a Perth defender before cutting the ball back across the box. Veart dummies the ball to Owens who side-foots the ball into the back of the net. 2-1 to Adelaide - 3 goals in the opening 24 minutes - this is exciting A-League football at its best.

A few minutes later Owens should have grabbed his second of the game when some good work down the flank by Adelaide saw Alagich crossing the ball into the box. Owens slipped between two defenders to reach the cross but somehow headed the ball centimetres wide from only two metres out.

The action continued to flow at both ends of the park with both defences regularly stretched to the limit. There was no question that this game was going to produce more goals.

With only seconds remaining in the half referee Matthew Breeze decided it was time to even up the penalty count and the scoreboard by awarding Perth a very soft penalty. Breeze pulled the penalty out of thin air after Glavas had gone to ground after a desperate attempt to reach a high ball in the box. Glavas was un-touched and players from both sides were caught by surprise when Breeze pointed to the spot. Despotovski made no mistake with the penalty to level the scores right on half time.

Perth came out in the second half minus injured Despotovski. His place was taken by Adelaide boy - defender Paul Pezos.

The second half continued in the attacking vein of the first half - more end to end football. In the 47th minute Perth went close to taking the lead after Harnwell met a Perth Glory corner and headed powerfully goal-wards. Goalkeeper Bajic produced a brilliant save to deny Harnwell.

In the 54th minute Adelaide made a surprise change bringing off Spagnuolo for Matthew Kemp. But the change reaped a quick reward for Adelaide when Kemp capitalised on a loose ball inside the Perth penalty area and a misunderstanding between Coyne and goalkeeper Vrteski. Kemp slipped in between the two players and flicked the ball over Vrteski from an acute angle. 3-2 to Adelaide.

Ten minutes Perth went close to grabbing an equaliser. Bertos took a free kick out wide. Harnwell was stretching to reach the ball at the back post and was unable to get his full foot to the ball from only one metre out.

Perth continued to attack searching for an equaliser. But its chances were dealt a body blow in the 74th minute with another controversial decision by referee Matthew Breeze. Perth midfielder Paul Pezos was body checked by Adelaide's Aloisi after Pezos had laid off a pass. Pezos was issued with a straight red and so was destined for an early shower after less than 30 minutes on the park.

Adelaide controlled the final 15 minutes of the match to take three very important points.

Adelaide coach John Kosmina will be very pleased with the win that cements his sides spot in the top four. Adelaide is now two wins inside the top four. The victory was achieved despite injuries to key players Qu and Petta, the lack of match sharpness after the return from injury of two other key players Fernando and Costanzo and the absence of young guns Burns and Djite on international duty.

Perth Glory may believe they could have taken something away from this game but the side lacks the squad depth of Adelaide United. Perth should be commended for their free flowing attacking football. Some sides take a defensive approach away from home - not Perth Glory. It makes for great entertaining football.

Both coaches will have some questions about the performance of referee Matthew Breeze who is making a habit of controversial decisions.

Adelaide had many solid contributors making it difficult to pick its best players. Travis Dodd and Jason Spagnuolo terrorised Perth Glory down the flanks creating most of the goal scoring opportunities. Kristian Rees was solid at the back while Owens worked tirelessly in the centre of the midfield.

For Perth young goalkeeper Vrteski pulled off some good saves. Harnwell was solid at the back and dangerous from the set pieces up front. Glavas had some great touches.