Perth keeps Adelaide at bay at Coopers

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Adelaide United and Perth Glory fought out a 1-1 draw at Coopers Stadium on Sunday afternoon as 9,711 fans were shown a game of two distinct halves.

Adelaide opened the match in its standard home-ground fashion, nabbing an early goal through Pablo Sanchez who bewildered the Perth defence with a superb run.

Having collected Tarek Elrich’s subtle through-ball, Sanchez turned around one defender and stepped past another before chipping the ball to the left of Danny Vukovic.

But that goal was nullified early in the second half through a Nebosja Marinkovic screamer, as the big Serbian belted a stunning drive into the far side of Adelaide’s goal from outside the area.

Collecting Sidnei Sciola’s pass following a lengthy run down the flank, Marinkovic caught all the Adelaide defenders and keeper Eugene Galekovic by surprise by having a crack, and despite the gloveman’s extended dive to the far post, the ball cannoned into the top corner of the net.

Perhaps most surprising though was the way in which the visitors were able to turn their performance around at half-time.

During the opening verse, Perth consistently slowed down the play via unnecessary fouls, frustrating the fans and the Reds players alike.

But on the resumption of play it was a different story as the hosts were pushed around by a speedy Glory outfit, led by Sidnei’s constant running down the wing.

As a result Adelaide spent most of the second half on the back foot, something this squad isn’t used to at home.

The pressure was telling and all of a sudden it was the Reds missing passes and interceptions they otherwise would have devoured.

In the last ten minutes Adelaide fought back though, but despite having a good deal of the ball in the final third of the park Vukovic stood tall as he came up with a number of acrobatic saves to ensure his side travelled home with a solitary point.

Despite Perth’s supreme form all season, it’s a point more than the last two times they have met Adelaide.

The tie also showcased one of Josep Gombau’s biggest headaches: finishing.

Once again his team created a smorgasbord of chances but were unable to find the back of the net regularly.

Sergio Cirio and Bruce Djite both missed tap-ins at crucial times, and the thrashing against the Jets aside, this is a problem that Gombau can’t seem to arrest.

Gombau said of the draw that he was happy with the result – a statement he habitually makes in post-match dissection.

“My feeling is that I can say now to the players that we did a good game,” Gombau said.

“We had control of the game, and we had more of the chances… but we did better in the first half than the second half.

“We played well, for sure that we will have good things in the future, and now after this weekend everything is the same as before it started,” he said.

Perth manager Kenny Lowe was also pleased with the result, having avoided a loss to his bogey team for the first time this season.

“[Adelaide] is a tough place to come, they’re a super team and play some great football,” Lowe said.

“We hung in there and got something out of it, and as the season progresses we might look back on a result like this and think ‘you know, this could be a turning point or nick you over the line for something’.”

Adelaide lines up again on Saturday when they host Western Sydney Wanderers, whilst Perth heads to Melbourne to take on Melbourne City on Sunday.

Adelaide United: 1 Eugene Galekovic (GK) (C), 2. Michael Marrone, 4. Dylan McGowan, 5. Osama Malik, 7. Pablo Sanchez (Bruce Djite 71’), 8. Isaias, 9. Sergio Cirio, 10. Marcelo Carrusca (Craig Goodwin 76’), 18. Jimmy Jeggo, 19. Miguel Palanca (Awer Mabil 60’), 21. Tarek Elrich

Unused substitutes: 14. Cameron Watson, 30. John Hall (GK)

Perth Glory: 1. Daniel Vukovic (GK), 5. Rostyn Griffiths, 8. Ruben Zadkovic, 9. Andy Keogh, 10. Nebojsa Marinkovic, 11. Richard Garcia (Chris Harold 45’), 16. Sidnei Sciola (Dragan Paljic 76’), 19. Josh Risdon, 21. Scott Jamieson, 23. Michael Thwaite, 28. Denis Kramar

Unused substitutes: 3. Brandon O’Neill, 15. Jamie McLaren, 18. Jack Duncan (GK)

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