R19 Wrap: Adelaide City v Adelaide Blue Eagles
Adelaide City tightened their grip on the 2016 Premiership with a hard fought 2-1 victory over arch rival Adelaide Blue Eagles, on the day they celebrated their 70th anniversary in their PlayStation 4 National Premier League round 19 clash at Adelaide City Park.
In a much anticipated duel between two stalwarts of the competition, both sides turned on a great display of Football for the full ninety minutes. Everything was on display from the silky ball movement, the brilliant saves, and classic goals, to the appreciation of the supporters.
Adelaide City took the field minus sharp shooter Anthony Costa (unavailable) and their classy midfielder Nicholas Bucco (injured). Their replacements in the side more than covered the void, a testament of the quality and depth of City’s squad.
The game opened in a break neck pace, as the ball moved from end to end. Both sides had good forward opportunities, but neither side could penetrate the solid opposition defences. City’s defender Paul Blefari continued with his great form alongside the solid Mathew Halliday. Young Bradley Corbo given the marking responsibility of the dangerous Yvan Boyokino did a great job to quell the influence of the Blue Eagles winger.
The City midfield began to have an early influence on the game. Jordan Pudler had the ball on a string and had good support from Thomas love and Joel Allwright. The trio gave their wingers Mamadi Kamara and Nicola Mileusnic plenty of forward opportunities.
Blue Eagles had a golden chance to open the scoring in th 20th minute when their charismatic midfielder Alemayo sent his forward Mattia Perrotti on a run into the box with a neat pass, but the striker’s shot was well saved by a diving Ben Moore in the City goals.
City opened the scoring in the 34th minute when a Love pass found Kamara in the box, the winger danced around his defender and delivered a neat shot into the back of the net. Kamara had an opportunity to add to the score moments later but was denied by some great glove work by Pedram Sourjani.
Blue Eagles, stung by going behind on the scoreboard hit back quickly with an equalising goal in the 36th minute, when Boyokino laid a neat pass to Perrotti on the edge of the box. The Italian import showed his class with a bullet like left foot strike into the back of the net.
Blue Eagles began to get on equal terms with their host, as the game turned into an arm wrestle. Evan Kounavelis began to find plenty of the ball through the midfield while Damian Crettenden, Alex Solari, Chris Christofelis and Samuel Tesfagabr were trying to give the visitors drive from defence.
Both coaches would have been happy with their respective side’s performance in the opening half, the 1-1 score line reflective of the evenness of how the game was played.
The second half opened in the same mode as the first with both sides moving the ball forward through their wing channels only to be repelled by the opposing defence. City’s Mileusnic was becoming a dangerous target up forward as Pudler and his cohorts began to wrestle the momentum back in City’s direction.
Questions were being asked of both defences as the game began to open up. The creative Alemayo began to find open space in the middle third of the park, and along with the hard working Kounavelis were keeping Blue Eagles on par with City.
It was going to take something special to separate two desperate sides on the scoreboard, and it came in the 62nd minute when Pudler put a neat through ball pass at the feet of Milusenic who ran into the eighteen-yard box and fired a fantastic gild edge shot passed the oncoming Sourjani to give City what would eventually be the match winning goal.
Blue Eagles’ coach Gianluca Legati tried to inject some added run off his bench through the efforts of Anthony Dimas and Mathew Dawber as the visitors chased the game.
An 85th minute Kamara strike which ricocheted of the upright post, nearly iced the game for City.
Blue Eagles continued to push forward and were almost rewarded in the 91st minute when Dimas got onto an Alemayo cross at the back post but his header went wide.
A disappointed Boyokino said he was proud of his teammates on their ability to take the game up to the completion leader.
“I am disappointed with the result, but happy that we were able to match them on the park all day. I am proud of the boys how they fought to the end.” Boyokino said after the game
“We proved today that we can play good football against the best. This game was played at a “Finals” standard and we matched them.”
“We will look forward to playing them in the finals, we know we can compete with them and won’t hold any fears.”
Man of the Match Jordan Pudler was relieved to come away from a tough encounter with a determined opponent with the three points.
“We expected a tough hard game and that’s how it was played all day, with both teams not prepared to concede an inch.” Pudler said
“It was a complete team effort. We had a few players drop out of the side through injury, but their replacements did their team role. We had to work hard for the win and it was a good effort to run out the game.”
It was a great result for Adelaide City as they move a step closer to another championship trophy.
Written by Joe Pangallo
Photo by Joe Janko