Adelaide thrive on Sydney compost

By Stephen Webb:

Hyundai A-League Season 2013-14
Round 18
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
8 February, 2014, 7.45 pm

Sydney FC 0
defeated by
Adelaide United FC 3 (Djite 15’, Ferreira 27’, Neumann 80’).

This game was exciting for all the wrong reasons. It certainly wasn’t an occasion of free, flowing football.

Not by Sydney, anyway; they were outplayed again and the atmosphere in the stadium was commonly described as toxic.

Social media went wild from the beginning of the game when Sydney’s active supporters group, the Cove, presented banners calling for the end of coach Frank Farina and the club’s CEO and Chairman. Security took the banners down and one of the banner holders was evicted from the stadium.

Then Adelaide played attractive football, Sydney missed chances and almost to a man played abysmally, and someone tipped a beverage on the Sydney coach.

As one tweet said, “It’s sad when watching the social media outcry is more interesting than watching the game.”

So here’s a Twitter summary:

  • No heart. No passion. No point. Thank God for beer …
  • The banner in Russian said: “To sack Barlow and Tony P – Traktorenko”.
  • SCG trust had requested banner to be removed. FFA as well stepping in ejecting the capo of the Cove for the banner.
  • Sources say Pignata told protesting SFC fans in person, to leave the stadium.
  • (Tony Pignata) Fans are entitled to their views We support them. Club did not instruct to eject any1 & I will find out why security acted in this manner.
  • Bad to worse for Sydney FC. Fan ejected for throwing a beer at Farina. Must be cranky … the beers aren’t cheap!
  • Sydney FC 2-0 down at half time. The Cove have just got up and left. The stadium is dead.
  • We have decided to wait until full time to avoid the traffic.
  • I feel about as empty as this stadium.
  • Hats off to Nick Carle. Still came around & thanked the fans. Those of us that were left.

Frank Farina shook things up a bit giving young midfielder Dylan Caton his first start alongside other youthful faces, Hagi Gligor and Corey Gameiro. Marquee of old, Nick Carle, was on the bench. New signing, veteran defender Sasa Ognenovski watched from the stands. One can only imagine what he and recent re-signings Nikola Petkovic and Ali Abbas were making of their career paths.

To acknowledge how well Adelaide played, here’s something of the action.

Bruce Djite had an early chance after Fabio Ferreira shot from the edge of the Sydney penalty area.

When Caton fouled Marcelo Carrusca 20 metres from goal, Cameron Watson swung in a low shot that was easily cleared.

Adelaide were pushing the ball around neatly, Abbas fouled Ferreira on the right sideline and the free kick was again cleared with ease.

Tarek Elrich was quick down Adelaide’s left but his cross sailed behind the goal.

In the ninth minute Gligor shot over the crossbar from five metres, after Sydney built up well down the left and Despotovic set Gligor up.

Gameiro failed to gather in a ball played over the Adelaide defence and then missed a shot across the face from the left.

Michael Zullo beat Seb Ryall and then won a corner. Petkovic hit a long ball for Abbas, whose first touch gave it away. But both sides were making unforced errors.

Matt Jurman blocked Djite on the edge of Sydney’s goal box.

In the 17th minute Djite rounded Petkovic on a pass from Ferreira. Djite’s shot was weak but snuck past Vedran Janjetovic and inside the right post.

Alessandro Del Piero hit a good flick on for Abbas.

Zullo beat Janjetovic and popped up a shot but Jurman cleared off the line. Another Adelaide shot was deflected onto the post.

Del Piero went down in the Adelaide box, didn’t win a penalty so got up and crossed.

In the 27th minute, after Sydney had some joy around the Adelaide the penalty area, Ferreira ran from inside his own half, beat Caton and Gligor and drove the ball home, hard and low from the right of the Sydney box.

About then someone threw a drink at Farina; meanwhile, Sydney players seemed only good at throwing their weight around. Though it was Adelaide’s Nigel Boogaard who elbowed the face of Ranko Despotovic. A Del Piero free kick from the edge of Adelaide’s penalty area swung just wide of the left post. Another Del Piero free kick hit the wall, then the Italian star fluffed a corner.

A better chance came for Sydney when Gameiro slid into Eugene Galekovic and the ball squirted away from goal.

I noted that Isaias was playing well. But later he copped a yellow card for wrestling with Del Piero.

Sydney fans behind me said, “How can they blame the coach when the team is rubbish?” “There are so many mistakes.” “They get the ball in the penalty area and don’t know what to do.”

Caton and Gligor were replaced at half time. Farina said it wasn’t because they weren’t coping. But they weren’t coping. Caton was keen to be involved but Adelaide found him easy pickings.

Sydney showed signs of fighting to get back into the game in the second half.

On an Abbas cross from the left Despotovic was stopped by Galekovic on his knees and a sliding Elrich.

Then Janjetovic was under pressure, down to stop a shot from Ferreira.

Despotovic air swung on a cross from the left and then was too late to meet a cross from Milos Dimitrijevic. When Despotovic was felled another Del Piero free kick from the edge of the penalty area went over the goal.

Del Piero was closer from the edge of the box in the 60th minute when Galekovic caught his chip under the crossbar.

On another cross from the left, Del Piero let the ball go through to Despotovic, who missed a sitter. When Del Piero played on for Gameiro, Gameiro snapped a shot high in the sky. Then Del Piero had a lovely touch on for Matt Thompson and was flattened for his trouble.

Carle provided some excitement in the left of Adelaide’s penalty area, two Sydney players dropped but no penalty was warranted, and Petkovic switched toward Sydney players who dispersed away from the ball.

Sydney fans (other than the Cove, who had already left to protest outside) started to walk out after Adelaide’s third goal, a simple tap-in for Jeronimo Neumann.

Petkovic had given up. Thompson gave the ball away compulsively. Gameiro missed the ball with an attempted bicycle kick. Carle tricked his way into the Adelaide box before supplying Del Piero, who struck well, forcing Galekovic into a diving save.

Adelaide were faster of foot and faster moving the ball forward and through triangles.

With three home losses in a row, Sydney have slipped out of the top six and, with teams behind them in good form, look likely to slump further.

Match stats:

Crowd: 13,335

Sydney FC:
20. Vedran Janjetovic (gk), 2. Seb Ryall, 4. Ranko Despotovic, 5. Matt Jurman, 6. Nikola Petkovic, 9. Corey Gameiro, 10. Alessandro Del Piero (c), 21. Milos Dimitrijevic, 22. Ali Abbas, 24. Hagi Gligor (28 Matt Thompson 46’), 35. Dylan Caton (19. Nick Carle 46’).
Subs not used: 1 Ivan Necevski (gk), 14. Mitch Mallia, 34. Aaron Calver.
Yellow cards: 33’ Ryall, 40’ Despotovic

Adelaide United FC:
1. Eugene Galekovic (gk), 3. Nigel Boogaard, 4. Jonathan McKain, 5. Osama Malik, 8. Isaias, 10. Marcelo Carrusca, 11. Bruce Djite (2. Michael Marrone 73’), 14. Cameron Watson, 18. Michael Zullo (9. Sergio Cirio 60’), 21. Tarek Elrich, 22. Fabio Ferreira (7. Jeronimo Neumann 63’).
Subs not used: 20. Paul Izzo (gk), 17. Awer Mabil.
Yellow cards: 50’ Isaias, 59’ Elrich, 69’ Neumann

Referee: Alan Milliner
Assistants: Leigh Pigram, Anton Shchetinin, Stephen Lucas

Pitch: 7/10

Game: 6/10

Best players:
3. Fabio Ferreira (Adelaide)
2. Isaias (Adelaide)
1. Marcelo Carrusca (Adelaide)

By Stephen Webb