Adelaide, the kids are alright

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Adelaide United’s youngsters showed no fear on the pitch against Sydney last night, overcoming the most testing frontier yet to force an encouraging 0-0 result.

The thoroughly deserved point – brought about by fierce defending and steely resolve –  was achieved without 11 integral players in the season plans of Marco Kurz.

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Experienced campaigners in Johan Absalonsen, Vince Lia and Tarek Elrich were all out injured, as was young enforcer Nathan Konstandopolous.

To complicate matters Ryan Kitto, Nikola Mileusnic, Baba Diawara and Taylor Regan were all forced to withdraw late, each for separate reasons.

Add to this the three Reds removed to represent their country and you have yourself a squad list thinner than a sheet of lasagne.

But this only made the performance all the more mesmerising.

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Daniel Margush made a fistful of world-class stops.

He was excellently serviced by centre-backs Jordan Elsey and Ben Warland, the latter entering the fray for a hospital-bound Ersan Gulum (ribs) late in the first half.

Ryan Strain was superb in an unfamiliar left-back role, displaying great chemistry with Mark Ochieng further up field.

Jordan O’Doherty did not just hold his own up front but made wonderful combinations with both 16-year-old Lachlan Brook and fan-favourite Apostolos Stamatelopolous.

The pair of attackers were excellent in their starting debut and asked plenty of questions of a backline with a wealth of international pedigree.

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And to cap off the night, debutants Kristin Konstandopolous and Pacifique Niyongabire failed to miss a beat coming off the bench.

Has the City of Churches answered this country’s prayers for such young talent? Sydney coach Graham Arnold was certainly impressed.

“South Australia and Adelaide should be very proud of those young boys,” he said.

“They stuck to the task, they were disciplined; they did a very good job.”

Marco Kurz – who was ridiculously yellow carded for speaking German to fellow countryman Daniel Adlung – was more focused on the effect the boys would have on his club.

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The former Kaiserslautern coach was still beaming regardless.

“If you saw the line-up, you must be proud about the whole squad and about the young boys,” said Kurz.

“Congratulations to the whole team, its not everyday that you get a draw against Sydney FC.

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“The last 20-30 minutes was a big fight, but we stayed compact and very disciplined against the ball and we also had two big counter-attacking chances.”

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Benito Carbone
Benito Carbone
Adelaide-based writer, content creator and story-teller. Like one of those determined ants that require a second flick.

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