Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 7

Wellington sink Adelaide with club record Win
By Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 18
7:30pm, Friday 3 February, 2012
at Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide

Adelaide United FC 1
(Bruce Djite 10’)
lost to
Wellington Phoenix FC 2
(Tim Brown 14’, Dani Sanchez 38')

(linked from FFA web site)

Wellington Phoenix came from behind at Hindmarsh Stadium on 3 February to score a 2-1 win at Adelaide United, and in doing so made history for the club by notching a record fourth consecutive Hyundai A-League victory, this time at the expense of a side languishing one place off bottom spot on the league table.

After a quiet opening ten minutes, the game exploded into life when Adelaide scored with the first attack of the match. Sergio Van Dijk reacted first to a loose ball, and sent Dario Vidosic racing towards the heart of Wellington’s defence.

Birthday boy Ben Sigmund and Manny Muscat, between them, thwarted his progress, with the ball spilling loose. Bruce Djite was onto it in a flash and, from around the penalty spot, sent a low first-time drive arrowing past the stunned figure of Mark Paston into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

All of a sudden, Wellington were hanging on, surviving two close calls in the next two minutes as Adelaide sought a swift second strike. A vital clearance by Andrew Durante thwarted the fast-closing figure of Djite after Paston had parried Iain Ramsay’s well-struck first-time volley in the eleventh minute.

Sixty seconds later, Van Dijk struck the angle of post and bar with a glancing header from Vidosic’s well-flighted free-kick. And within seconds, Adelaide were raiding again, Vidosic leading the charge this time, only to run into Muscat.

The defender’s block tackle allowed him to emerge with the ball, which he sprayed wide to Paul Ifill on the left. His first touch was delightful, while his second was an inviting cross which Tim Brown took full advantage of, steering his shot wide of the stranded figure of Eugene Galekovic as Adelaide defenders stood and watched.

From being on the ropes, Wellington were now level after executing their first attack of the match. Cue an Adelaide riposte, Cameron Watson’s long throw-in in the sixteenth minute. The visitors failed to clear the danger, with the ball finding its way to Nigel Boogaard, whose shot through the crowd took a deflection, allowing Paston to gratefully pounce on the loose ball.

After Vidosic - with an overhead kick - and Chris Greenacre - a snatched volley - had threatened to alter the scoreline at each end of the park, Leo Bertos unleashed a gem of a twenty-five yard volley which was bound for the top left-hand corner of Galekovic’s net, until the ‘keeper nonchalantly plucked the ball from the sky as if picking a plum off a tree.

His clearance released Ramsay down the left, who in turn fed the darting run of Djite through the inside left channel. Adelaide’s marksman evaded a challenge, only to direct his low cross for Van Dijk behind his fellow front-runner on the half-hour.

After Ramsay had steered a fifteen-yarder wide of the mark following a Vidosic free-kick which wasn’t cleared, Wellington took the lead seven minutes before half-time. Alex Smith’s free-kick to the far post was cleared to Greenacre, whose clipped cross in was watched by Adelaide’s defenders.

Dani Sanchez couldn’t believe his eyes as the ball arced towards him without a single figure in red attempting to challenge its progress, and the diminutive Spaniard duly rose and directed a glancing header past the static figure of Galekovic from six yards - 2-1.

The vast majority of the 8,425 fans present couldn’t believe their eyes, instantly thinking that the scorer must have been in an offside position for the Adelaide players to have stood statue-like as the cross came over. But the replay showed the flag-bearer was spot on with his call - Sanchez was onside, although Brown was standing beyond his team-mate in an offside position, but crucially not in the active area of play.

Adelaide reeled from this blow, and took a few minutes in the second half to get up to speed, during which time Wellington held sway. But after Cassio’s deflected thirty yarder - from a free-kick - had been parried to safety by Paston in the 53rd minute, and a cross-shot from the fullback had been grabbed by the ‘keeper beneath his crossbar on the hour, the home team gradually got a foothold in the contest again.

Unfortunately for United, they discovered Sigmund and Durante were in imperious form at the heart of the visitors’ rearguard - many an attack of potential foundered on Wellington’s defensive rocks, be it via their marshalling of the offside trap, their tackling and interceptions, or their positioning. The pair of them were immense, and Adelaide found opportunities hard to come by as a result.

Not so at the other end of the park, however. Daniel came on as a substitute for Sanchez, and with his first touch delivered a peach of a free-kick into the danger zone towards which Galekovic and Boogaard converged. So did Sigmund, his head by now swathed in a bandage - another cut for the cause, and he rose in between them to direct a header narrowly over the crossbar.

The same crossbar Ifill struck with venom aplenty after being gifted possession just outside the penalty area in the 73rd minute, some six minutes after a solo raid down the right had seen him evade three challenges before lashing a shot from similar distance narrowly over the aforementioned obstacle.

Adelaide’s urgency for an equaliser was increasing, and with fourteen minutes left, they spurned a great chance. Cassio and Djite worked a one-two down the left which saw United’s goalscorer beat an opponent and cross to the near post for substitute Zenon Caravella.

He steered his shot wide of the mark, but seconds later, Djite went to ground when tackled by Sigmund - the last defender - as he made his way through the inside left channel. Referee Gerard Parsons - not his finest ninety minutes by any stretch of the imagination - brandished the yellow card when a red one seemed inevitable.

Worse was to come from the official five minutes from time. Ifill set off on another of his rapier-like thrusts into the opposition penalty area, tormenting defenders at will. When he went down after being tackled from behind by Boogaard, a penalty seemed a racing certainty, but to say Ifill was livid when the official waved play on is something of an understatement!

He was seething, and talked his way into the referee’s notebook prior to the final whistle, after which he was still remonstrating with Mr Parsons over the incident - it really was a shambolic decision by the referee, and Ifill rightly gave him both barrels.

It helped Adelaide’s cause, of course, because it meant they could still snatch a point from the game. But for all their pressing, it simply wasn’t happening for them, until, in the very last minute of stoppage time, Fabian Barbiero popped up on the left and curled in a cross beyond all-comers to the far post.

Arriving on cue was someone who would have been an unlikely hero for United had he scored. But with Paston stranded, Osama Malik stole in and stabbed his shot inches past the ‘keeper’s right-hand post, a miss which confirmed Wellington’s club record victory and a second-ever win in Adelaide, while consolidating their grip on second place with seven rounds remaining till the play-offs commence.

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 18
7:30pm, Friday 3 February, 2012
at Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide

Adelaide United FC 1
(Bruce Djite 10’)
lost to
Wellington Phoenix FC 2
(Tim Brown 14’, Dani Sanchez 38')

    Crowd: 8,425


    Adelaide United FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard, 6.Cassio, 8.Evgeniy Levchenko, 9.Sergio van Dijk, 10.Dario Vidosic (15. Jacob Melling +75’), 11.Bruce Djite, 14.Cameron Watson, 17. Iain Ramsay (7.Zenon Caravella +63’), 18. Fabian Barbiero

    Substitutes not used: 30. Paul Izzo (rgk), 21.Francisco Usucar

    Coach: John Kosmina

    Yellow Cards: Osama Malik 37'
    Red Cards:Nil

    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Mark Paston (gk), 2.Manny Muscat, 3.Tony Lochhead, 6.Tim Brown, 7.Leo Bertos, 8.Paul Ifill, 9.Chris Greenacre (17.Vince Lia +70’), 18.Ben Sigmund, 21.Dani Sanchez (11.Daniel de Costa +63’), 22.Andrew Durante (c), 24.Alex Smith

    Substitutes not used: 19. Jimmy Downey, 20. Tony Warner (gk)

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Manny Muscat 54’, Ben Sigmund 78’, Paul Ifill 87’, Daniel de Costa 90+3’'
    Red Cards: NIl

    Referee: Gerard Parsons 3/10
    Assistants: Daniel Goodwin, Curtis Wordsworth; Fourth Official: Regis Queffelec

    BOTN Player Points:
    3. Ben Sigmund (WP)
    2. Andrew Durante (WP)
    1. Paul Ifill (WP)
    [Adelaide's best was Ramsay - and I still can't figure out why he went off after an hour!!! Hence no points for their lads]

    Pitch rating: 7/10

    Game rating: 5/10

    Match Report and ratings: By Jeremy Ruane

Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their compete accuracy although we do strive for that. Any photos used here, unless attributed, are as implicitly supplied by FFA and used by assumed permission.

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