Cosmos v Ad City

Round 9 report by Nick Guoth
Canberra Cosmos v Adelaide City

The ghosts of Cosmos past haunted the current team on Monday when they dominated the opposition, generated numerous chances, yet failed in all attempts to capitalise and then lose to the odd goal.

Although Adelaide coach Zoran Matic stated that his players should have done a lot better, it was a controlled and patient display by the visitors that having withstood the barrage were able to reap the rewards through a 78th minute strike by Carl Veart.

Canberra started with the same shape as in their last match, and also with the same enthusiasm. Knezevic, on what many have said were his last legs, was again in goal. Zelic was moved back to sweeper with Popovich, Amarildo and Wilson in front of him. Marcina, Langone, Magnacca and Prenzoski made up the midfield and Buljan and Musitano were the strikeforce.

Adelaide lined up with the strength of Veart and Mori up front and the experience of Ivanovic and Tobin at the back. A solid midfield and Jason Petkovic in goals was going to make Canberra's task difficult.

The most surprising news about he lineups was more an off-the-field situation with Slovakian import and midfielder, Michael Hudec having disappeared since last Friday evening. It appears the Cosmos may be contacting the police to search for him.

Five minutes into the game, Anthony Magnacca was fouled near the touchline. Doug Marcina took the free kick and found a rather unmarked Amarildo at the far post, but his header was blocked before it could test Petkovic. Another five minutes and it was Damian Mori to try a free kick, but Knezevic was awake and held the shot comfortably.

The next twenty minutes saw the much of the action in the midfield, although Canberra were doing more of the penetrating only to find the likes of Ivanovic and Tobin there at the last moment to crush any attack. It was left to set pieces as the main weapon for the Cosmos, but unfortunately these were never executed anywhere near perfection.

The midfield of Magnacca, Prenzoski and Langone were performing excelently, not only winning the ball, but creating good chances for Musitano and Buljan who in turn lost out to the opposition defenders.

A flurry of action came about in the last 5 minutes or so of the first half. Brad Hassell sent a long shot just wide, then Leo Langone had two chances, but was unable to get either on target. Finally, Vilson showed he now knows how to run by coming out to intercept a through ball and clear directly to Popovich.

Nil-all at the break, and the very first time this season that the Cosmos had made it through to the break without conceding a goal. The defence was looking somewhat more confident and except for a wayward Lindsay Wilson clearance, were the best we've seen this season.

Two minutes into the second half and Canberra should have been one-up. Langone weaved his way to the edge of the box and instead of taking a shot layed the ball off to Anthony Magnacca. The youngster completely muffed his shot and from close range could not even get it on target.

Then five minutes later and Adelaide were extremely unlucky not to score. A cross into the box and Vilson was out to smother the ball. Some way he lost it through a challenge and Dino Mennillo's shot came back of the upright from less than 10m out.

Canberra continued to threaten and twice near the quarter of the hour mark, Adelaide had problems clearing the ball from a corner. In the first instance Magnacca's shot just curled wide of the post, whilst in the second Amarildo volleyed over.

The locals continued to try for that elusive goal. Zelic blasted over from a free kick and Michael Musitano showed a brief bit of brilliance only to see his shot saved very well by Petkovic. Meanwhile at the other end, Knezevic showed his sweeping skills by coming out 25m and intercepting a through ball before laying it off calmly to a teammate.

A couple more chances at both ends before Carlo Talladira was able to get past Lindsay Wilson to send in a low cross from the right. Mori's first time volley was well saved by Knezevic, but the rebound then bounced off the thigh of Carl Veart and into the goal.

The Cosmos pushed forward for the equaliser, even bringing on young Danny Burt for Musitano and playing him up front as an extra target man. They had two more chances, two headers. The first came from a Marcina cross and found Amarildo head straight at Petkovic, whilst the second saw a Zelic freekick find Danny Burt, but his attempt went over.

In the last minute of play, Adelaide could have doubled their tally of goals when Mori found himself one-on-one with Knezevic. The keeper showed great clam in timing his save of the shot.

Matic said afterwards that "Adelaide City never play well against the bottom team. They (Canberra) showed alertness and motivation, and especially committment, something my players didn't."

Tony Brennan was disappointed. "A mistake led to the goal. I was happy with the way we played. Vilson was confident and didn't let us down, but fitness overall is a problem. Also, the crossing and shooting let us down tonight."