R7 Wrap: West Adelaide v Adelaide Blue Eagles
West Adelaide were able get themselves up from the canvas with a late strike on goal to salvage a point from their game with their old foe Adelaide Blue Eagles, in Round 7 of PlayStation 4 National Premier League South Australia.
The first ten minutes of the game was a real spar between the two teams as each tried to get an ascendancy on the contest. The windy conditions were causing a problem for players on both sides.
A congested midfield made it hard for either side to get any fluent movement forward.
Blue Eagles suffered a big blow to their already brittle defence in the 18th minute when reliable defender Adrej Rastovac suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury, which forced Adelaide Blue Eagles’ coach Ginaluca Lagati to reshuffle his on field structure.
West Adelaide were defending too deep, which allowed Blue Eagles the opportunity to press high up the field and control the midfield. Damien Crettenden, Adam Harris and Alemayo Kebede began to exert their influence on the game.
Blue Eagles had a chance to open the scoring in the 22nd minute when Alemayo was allowed to waltz into the 18-yard box and shoot on goal, only to have defender Mitch Nicholson clear the ball off the line.
But three minutes later West Adelaide’s luck deserted them when a neat through ball by Anthony Trimboli found Alemayo whose shot beat keeper Lewis Moss from close range to give the Blue Eagles the opening goal of the match.
The goal seemed to open the game up, with both teams setting up forward movements. However Blue Eagles looked the more dangerous as they peppered the goals but were unable to add to the score sheet.
Robby Lippett, Michael Alexandrou, Mitch Nicholson, and Nathan Andijanto were working hard to repel the Blue Eagles’ forward raids.
West Adelaide had their best chance to equalise in the shades of halftime when Nathan Andijanto’s pass found Tommy Briscoe in a goal scoring position but his shot was brilliantly saved by Blue Eagles keeper Pedram Sourjani.
Blue Eagles went into the break with a 1-0 lead, but failing to lay the knockout punch.
West Adelaide with the aid of a strong wind, came out after the break with more urgency. They nearly equalised in the opening minutes when a quick free kick by Briscoe nearly caught Sourjani off guard.
Blue Eagles’ defenders Samuel Tesfagabr, Nathan Nuitta and Hirofumi Kochi were having a good effect in blanketing the West Adelaide attacks, as Ricardo Da Silva, Hikaru Tanaka, Perry Mitris and Tony Hatzis began to wrestle the momentum back West Adelaide’s way.
Mitris was moved into an attacking midfield role and the move paid dividends when he was instrumental in setting up the equalising goal in the 72’ with a beautifully weighted cross to Lippett who headed the ball into the net.
The ball continued to move up down the pitch in a ferocious pace as both sides looked at securing the winning goal.
Blue Eagles broke the deadlock in the 79’ when a wayward clearance by West Adelaide defender Andijanto hit the cross bar, which allowed an alert Alemayo to get his head onto the rebounding ball which sailed into the roof of the net to give the midfielder a brace for the game.
The lead was to be momentary as West Adelaide pressed forward in search of an equaliser. They were rewarded for their efforts in the 88’ when Mitris restored the parity with an excellent header from a Briscoe corner kick to beat a stranded Sourjani on the Blue Eagles goal line.
Blue Eagles defender Tesfagabr said after the game that poor defending late in the game cost them the win as they struggled to cope with the windy conditions.
“We knew that they would come out after halftime and use the wind to their advantage, and we took too long to adjust to the conditions” he said.
“They had two good set pieces that we failed to defend and they made us pay, we should have defended better.”
“We missed some good goal scoring opportunities in the first half which cost us at the end.”
To their credit West Adelaide fought hard to get back into the game, and in the end they were able to secure a vital point against a formidable opponent.
For Blue Eagles their plight doesn’t get any easier next week when they host Adelaide City who are in red hot form.
Written by: Joe Pangallo 5RTI Sports 531am