Cirio strikes as Reds make FFA Cup history

Adelaide United has beaten ten-man Perth Glory thanks to a Sergio Cirio goal on 67 minutes to claim the inaugural FFA Cup in front of 16,142 spectators at Coopers Stadium.

The Reds were deserving winners having been the more threatening side throughout, though it wasn’t until after Josh Risdon saw red just before the hour mark that they were able to break the deadlock. 

 

Playmaker Marcelo Carrusca was unsurprisingly the architect as he slipped a pass through for Cirio who calmly rounded Danny Vukovic and scored from a tight angle.

The goal meant Cirio finished as the competition’s top scorer with six to his name, and the Spaniard was also awarded the Mark Viduka Medal for the best individual performance on the night.

Coach Josep Gombau was understandably delighted to have given Adelaide its first silverware since the 2005/06 National Soccer League title.

“All the group and all the people that are working in the club – for us it is important to win something,” he said afterwards.

“I think that we deserved it because in the cup we played against four Hyundai A-League sides and we won every single game and now is the moment for us to enjoy.”

For their part, Glory never got going and striker Andy Keogh was a frustrated figure up front as he ran himself into the ground in the absence of any consistent service.

The West Australians were under the pump for large parts of the game, even with eleven players on the field, and should have been at least a goal down at the break were it not from some wasteful Awer Mabil finishing.

Even the most one eyed Glory supporter would find it difficult to make a case against the yellow cards issued to Risdon, for chopping down Cirio in the first half and then for a tug on Carrusca’s shirt, even if the latter did fall to the floor for unnecessary emphasis.

Glory set up in a 4-1-4-1 with the aim of containing United’s free flowing passing game, and it worked for bulk of the opening 45 minutes.

Indeed, the visitors could have taken the lead against the run of play when Nebojsa Marinkovic played Richard Garcia through on goal but he was foiled by the onrushing Eugene Galekovic, with Keogh unable to hit the target with the rebound.

Mabil wasted the best chance of the opening period in injury time when he blazed high and wide after being played in by Bruce Djite.

Reportedly a target for Dutch giants Ajax, Mabil again failed to hit the target minutes after the restart and was later replaced by Fabio Ferreira.

Risdon’s dismissal made an already difficult task even harder for Glory and their backs to the wall spirit was eventually broken when Cirio struck.

A goal down, Kenny Lowe rather surprisingly waited until the 79th minute to introduce another striker in Jamie Maclaren, while Chris Harold remained on the bench.

It was United who came closest to finding the net in the closing stages as Vukovic pulled off a stunning one handed save to tip a shot from Isaias over the crossbar.

For the 500 or so travelling Glory supporters, the outcome was all too familiar to the 2012 A-League Grand Final when they lost out to Brisbane Roar with the same numerical disadvantage, but they can take consolation from the fact that their side is still top of the regular season ladder.

Regardless of the outcome of the final, the FFA Cup has captured the imagination of the Australian sporting public in its first year and will no doubt go from strength to strength for years to come with a bit of fine tuning.

Adelaide United: 1. Eugene GALEKOVIC, 2. Michael MARRONE, 3. Nigel BOOGAARD, 4. Dylan MCGOWAN, 8. Isaias SANCHEZ OLIVARES, 9. Sergio CIRIO, 10. Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11. Bruce DJITE, 17. Awer MABIL, 18. James JEGGO, 21. Tarek ELRICH.

Subs: 7. Pablo SANCHEZ, 14. Cameron WATSON, 22. Fabio FERREIRA, 24. Bruce KAMAU, 30. John HALL.

Perth Glory: 1. Daniel VUKOVIC, 5. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 6. Dino DJULBIC, 8. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 9. Andrew KEOGH, 10. Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11. Richard GARCIA, 19. Joshua RISDON, 20. Daniel DE SILVA, 21. Scott JAMIESON, 23. Michael THWAITE.

Subs: 3. Brandon O’NEILL, 14. CHRIS HAROLD, 15. Jamie Maclaren, 16. Sidnei SCIOLA, 18. Jack DUNCAN.

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Neil has covered the Perth Glory and the Hyundai A-League for five years and is one of Western Australia's most knowledgeable football journalists.