Adelaide hand Wellington a footballing lesson

by Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of

Hyundai A-League – Season 11 – 2015/2016 – Round 22
7:15pm, Saturday 5 March, 2016 – Westpac Stadium, Wellington NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 0
lost to
Adelaide United FC 4
(Dylan McGowan 31′, Stefan Mauk 41′, Bruce Djite 49′, Alberto Sanchez 90′)

Adelaide United handed Wellington Phoenix a footballing lesson at Westpac Stadium on March 5, 2016 trouncing the natives 4-0 to surge to the top of the Hyundai A-League, fourteen rounds after they had been propping up the table.

The visitors were very good value for their victory too, although they survived a seventeenth minute scare when Sergio Cirio executed the perfect air-shot while looking to clear his lines in United’s penalty area.

Roly Bonevacia pounced on the opportunity instantly, but his attempt to set up a team-mate for a tap-in was thwarted by Mate Dugandzic’s timely interception, the lone opening of a generally tight opening half-hour of play.

All of a sudden, Adelaide opened the scoring. Marcelo Carrusca’s corner beyond the far post was headed back across goal by Jordan Elsey to the unmarked Dylan McGowan, who stabbed home from six yards to silence the vast majority of the 6,595 fans present.

Wellington sought a swift riposte via Tom Doyle’s long throw-in. Bonevacia was the recipient, and his shot on the turn ricocheted off a United defender straight to Eugene Galekovic, who had very little to do throughout proceedings.

Adelaide doubled their advantage five minutes before half-time, via a classic counter-attacking goal. Michael McGlinchey’s free-kick was headed out to Craig Goodwin, who instantly released Carrusca down the right.

He cut inside before delivering an inch-perfect pass weighted to perfection into the stride of Stefan Mauk, who had stormed upfield from inside his own penalty area to support the attack. His reward was to tuck the ball home past Moss – 2-0.

Wellington looked to pull a goal back before half-time, and had two opportunities to do so. Moss and Doyle combined to release McGlinchey down the left, and from there he cut inside before rattling the side-netting.

Bonevacia then unleashed a goalbound twenty-five yarder, only for Hamish Watson to get in the way of his team-mate’s shot. It summed up the striker’s performance, as on the occasions he did receive the ball he promptly turned it over to United via a dire first touch …

It’s as well Watson is only a stop-gap striker for Wellington via the injury replacement option, because his style of play is far from conducive to the passing game coach Ernie Merrick prefers. The home team certainly play more fluently without him.

Not that they were able to perform at all on this occasion, as there was only going to be one winner once Adelaide got their noses in front. But before they increased their advantage still further in the second half, Wellington spurned another chance to reduce the deficit.

Moss, Bonevacia and Watson combined to send McGlinchey galloping down the left, from where his low cross was somehow missed completely by Goodwin as the United man looked to clear the danger.

Half-time substitute Blake Powell didn’t mind one bit that the Adelaide man fluffed his lines, only for the new man to do exactly the same thing himself, slipping as he shot, thus giving Galekovic the easiest of saves to make, three minutes into the second half.

Sixty seconds later, Adelaide made it 3-0. Carrusca’s immaculately angled fifty yard cross-field ball was allowed to go behind him by Manny Muscat, who was convinced that the ball would run out of play.

That was until he looked behind him, and saw Goodwin steaming forward to gather the ball in his stride and ping a low cross to the far post. Darting in to meet it was Bruce Djite, who rammed the ball home from six yards to settle the contest in scintillating fashion.

Wellington were all at sea after this, and could have conceded a fourth goal six minutes later. Carrusca slipped the unmarked Mauk in on goal inside the penalty area, and after his attempt to set up Djite had rebounded back to him, the midfielder’s bid to score a second goal on the night was blocked on the line by Muscat.

A stray Cirio pass presented Watson with a great chance to reduce Wellington’s arrears, but the striker’s shot was turned away by Galekovic, who cut a rather startled figure when Bonevacia’s twenty-five yard free-kick crashed off the post eighteen minutes from time, by which time Adelaide had been harshly denied a fourth goal.

After Michael Marrone had worked a one-two with Cirio before thrashing a twenty-five yarder across the face of goal, the fullback set off on another marauding run at Wellington’s defence which culminated in him pulling the trigger in the 67th minute.

Moss parried his shot, but Mauk was following in and managed to beat Moss to the rebound and squeeze the ball home. But the midfielder caught the goalkeeper in the process of doing so, prompting referee Peter Green to deem the incident worthy of a defensive free-kick – harsh on Mauk, who connected with Moss after getting his shot away.

Unperturbed, the visitors pressed on, Moss blocking a shot from substitute Bruce Kamau with his legs fifteen minutes from time before gratefully grabbing a Djite shot directed straight at him five minutes later, after Goodwin and Mauk had prised Wellington apart once more.

Efforts from Doyle and McGlinchey kept Galekovic’s gloves warm during the later stages of the match, but the coup de grace was delivered in stoppage time by substitute Pablo Sanchez, who latched onto Cirio’s deft flick and thundered the ball home past Moss to clinch a clinical 4-0 victory for the new league leaders, who extended their unbeaten run to a club record fourteen matches with this win.

Match details
Crowd: 6,595

Wellington Phoenix FC: Moss (gk); Muscat (booked, 84), Fox (booked, 53), Durante, Doyle; Bonevacia, Riera, Rodriguez; Ridenton (Powell, 46), Watson, McGlinchey

Adelaide United FC: Galekovic (gk); Marrone (booked, 10), McGowan, Elsey, Elrich (La Rocca, 16); Carrusca (booked, 39) (Kamau, 73), Mells, Mauk (booked, 42); Cirio, Djite (Sanchez, 82), Goodwin

Referee: Peter Green

Points and ratings

Match  6/10
Pitch  7/10
Referee  5/10

3.  Carrusca (AU)
2 . Mauk (AU)
1 . Cirio (AU)