A-League 2017/18: Adelaide upset Durante centenary

The Phoenix sunk to yet another home loss on captain Andrew Durante’s big night as George Blackwood earned three points for United away from home

On the occasion of Durante’s record breaking 278th appearance in the A-League, the Phoenix did not have enough spirit to muster a win. The competition’s bottom placed side still have a lot to do if they are to mount an improbable run to the playoffs. Adelaide did just enough to bounce back from their previous weeks drubbing with a hard-fought win.

Blackwood opened the scoring for the away side, finishing off a one-on-one after being sent through around the half hour mark. The young striker beat the offside trap and outpaced the defence, slipping the ball through Lewis Italiano’s legs to add insult to the scoreline difference.

The possession stayed with United for the majority of the first half and they closed it out in the ascendancy.

The second-half was memorable purely for the lack of shots taken by either side. Too often actual attempts were delayed, time was given to defenders to get back, or a potential shot turned into a ball out wide and a wayward cross. Right at the end one of these almost paid off for the home team, but substitute Alex Rufer could only hit the crossbar from a tight angle.

No Krishna, more problems for Wellington

There was no Roy Krishna for the Nix and Marco Rossi was also absent due to suspension. So a reshuffled lineup for the home side featured Gotan Paracki as a cnetre-back, while Adam Parkhouse deputised for the Fijian. The attacking spark from previous weeks was clearly missing, as Krishna’s hamstring strain was a clear blow to the home side’s attacking rhythm. While the lack of the Italian was an issue, the biggest absence was clearly Krishna, who has proven to be a massive part of the Nix playing well for the last three seasons at least. Without him the Kiwis struggled yet again.

Marco Kurz engineers quick turnaround

It was a classic move from the German after his team had been so thoroughly outplayed by Melbourne City to shift his tactics and personnel to ensure maximum possession. The patience Adelaide displayed when they were on the ball, and their ability to keep their shape was much improved from their previous week’s display. For long periods in the match they were disciplined, where they had previously been dire.

Clear-cut chances kept to a minimum

Opportunities were largely lacking in a game that increased in its scrappy intensity in a muddled second half. Both teams had the vim and vigour but lacked the X factor to turn the match into a true spectacle. This was summed up when Blackwood sliced a shot out for a throw, in the 52nd minute, ruining some nice one-two buildup play Matt Ridenton then mis-hit a cross into the woodwork in the 60th minute to almost level. The lack of chances came from a mixture of poor execution and defences overpowering strikers. The only exception was Blackwoods finish.