Roar v Adelaide

A-League report by Andrew Demack
Queensland Roar v Adelaide United

Adelaide United's John Kosmina isn't interested in taking on the Young Socceroos coaching job, but he does believe we need a national youth league as soon as possible - preferably next season.'

Hearing the visiting coach's views on a variety of football topics at the post-game press conference seemed better than focusing on the Queensland Roar's woes after a second successive 1-0 loss. That's three 0-1 results in the last four games for Queensland.

Roar coach Miron Bleiberg says a lot in a press conference. Some of it is even relevant to the game just played.

Here are some of Bleiberg's points and quips on this occasion:

This last point is certainly the most substantial, but doesn't really explain the oddness of the formation that Queensland started the game with. It was a kind of lop-sided 5-3-2. Sasa Ognenovski was given the job of man-marking former Brisbane favourite Fernando Rech. Ognenovski was certainly up to the job, and Fernando had a very quiet game as a result.

Adelaide were in an a 4-4-1-1, with Fernando as the deeper striker, so Ognenovski was mostly about 15 metres ahead of the other two central defenders, the 'Big Macs' (McLaren and McCloughan). Ben Griffin (left) and Andrew Packer (right) were the two fullbacks, or were they wing-backs?

Packer had plenty of room ahead of him on the right flank, but on the left, Spase Dilevski was playing a wide role in midfield, which meant Griffin wasn't needed to surge forward. In the early stages of the game, both Griffin and Dilevski were giving the ball away with poor touches anyway.

Matt McKay and Hyuk-Su Seo were the central midfield pairing and Reinaldo and Simon Lynch were the starting strikers.

Kosmina left Greg Owens and Nathan Burns on the bench, with the result that the spine of the team was composed of highly experienced, one might almost say veteran, players. Michael Valkanis at the centre of defence, Angelo Costanzo and Ross Aloisi in midfield, and Carl Veart leading the line up front.

Adelaide's youth were on the flanks with Travis Dodd on the right and Jason Spagnuolo on the left.

Queensland started the game like a team low on confidence. Their passing and movement seemed a metre or two slower than earlier in the season when they were getting good results. That said, Adelaide were not threatening at all in the early stages, and were not committing men forward in support of Veart and Fernando. Liam Reddy in the Roar goal barely made a single save in the first half.

Queensland's first half-chance came in the 20th minute, when Simon Lynch got a looping header towards goal from a hopeful ball forward by Hyuk-Su Seo. With Bajic scrambling back the ball landed on the roof of the net.

Slowly Queensland's dangerous players Dilevski, McKay and Lynch began to find some space to work in. Lynch was being marked especially tightly by Kristian Rees who gave away an endless string of free-kicks and must have been fortunate not to be yellow-carded for persistent infringements.

Lynch brought a save from Bajic with a low shot from outside the box in the 25th minute, and Dilevski produced a carbon copy in the 35th minute. Just before half time a shot from Hyuk-Su looked even better but it fizzed inches wide.

The Roar finished the half playing more fluent football than the visitors, but it was nothing like the bombardment of the Adelaide goal that occurred on their last visit in September.

McCloughan, slightly concussed after a heavy fall, was replaced by Dario Vidosic at half-time. Seo moved into defence.

With Vidosic providing more drive forward than Seo, Queensland had more attacking threat, but were still finding it hard to convert that into good shooting opportunities. Valkanis and Rees were always there to get a foot or a head to the ball at the crucial moment.

And at the other end of the park, Carl Veart was having a fine game. With Fernando well contained, Veart seemed to be taking on the Queensland defence on his own. Yet he nearly managed to put Adelaide ahead in the 50th minute, with a close-range header.

Queensland came up with three golden opportunities in the second half. The first of them was in the 56th minute, when Dario Vidosic took a left-foot snapshot that sailed well wide. Vidosic had failed to notice a totally unmarked Andrew Packer to his right. A simple pass would have put Packer one on one with Bajic.

A couple of minutes later, a long throw-in from Packer skimmed off an Adelaide head and fell for Simon Lynch. His mis-hit volley dribbled across the goal from close range.

With an hour gone, Kosmina introduced Greg Owens for Spagnuolo, and Bleiberg brought on Ante Mililic for Dilesvki.

And two minutes later Adelaide struck, with Carl Veart the destroyer. Veart and Stuart McLaren contested a 50-50 ball out on the left flank. Veart won control of the ball and shrugged off McLaren, who lost his footing. Veart advanced to the byline, looked up and calmly waited for Travis Dodd to time his run to the far post. He threaded a perfect pass to Dodd, eluding the desperate efforts of Reddy, Ognenosvki and Griffin.

And really, that was the game. Queensland huffed and puffed, but were never going to blow Adelaide's house down. It was too solid.

Reinaldo had one final chance to square the game. The lead-up work was by Lynch, who chased a long ball into the corner, beat his man and put in a fine left-foot cross. Reinaldo needed a firm header to trouble the keeper, but could only glance the ball across goal.

Afterwards a satisfied John Kosmina described Adelaide's performance as "extremely disciplined" and said "we ground them down". He assured those assembled that Adelaide would not give up the chase for top spot, despite Melbourne's massive lead.

Queensland Roar are still in the top four, but a win by either Newcastle or Central Coast in their derby would put them level with the Roar on 16 points. Queensland will need to find some form for their home game against runaway A-league leaders Melbourne Victory this coming Friday night.

Subsequent to the game Miron Blieberg resigned, and this was accepted by the Board.