Why Adelaide United are championship dark horses

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Johan Absalonsen has been the breath of fresh air both the A-League and Adelaide United have so desperately craved in these final rounds.

11,738 fans – the most Coopers Stadium has seen this season – flocked to see the Reds dispose of the Wellington Phoenix by a 3-1 scoreline last night.

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Hopes of claiming the championship title, the final home game of the campaign and $20 adult tickets will do that, however it is the first factor that matters most to devout fans of the club.

And Johan Absalonsen brings precisely that.

It is fitting that it is the Easter weekend, because the former Danish International has come back from the dead – a three month injury layoff – to breathe life into his club.

The 32-year-old now has three goals in his last three matches since returning from injury including a fine header last night to open Adelaide’s account.

It brings his total to five goals from eight matches, a wonderful ratio for any winger that solidifies his place as the most prolific scorer wearing Red.

Having scored 54 goals in 243 club appearances before his arrival in the City of Churches, the left-footer’s free-scoring ability has come as somewhat of a surprise for some.

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But not to Adelaide coach Marco Kurz.

“He’s a special player for this league,” said Kurz.

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“His experience, his quality, his speed, his left foot is the best in the league, and he’s clever.

“There’s a lot of reasons he’s so special. He knows what he does on the pitch and for us its a big win to know that Johan is back and fit.”

A huge win, in fact.

In the nine matches Absalonsen has featured in, Adelaide United have scored 18 of their 33 goals, the other 15 of which came in 16 matches.

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The Dane’s wing play is both exquisite and seemingly effortless and when laid bare, Adelaide’s goalscoring is more than doubled whenever he graces the pitch.

Absalonsen will be hoping to continue his clinical form when he suits up next Sunday in a barometer clash against favourites Sydney FC, but Wellington interim coach Chris Greenacre is convinced that Adelaide are dark horses for the A-League championship.

“They’re going to go under the radar.

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“They’re very well organised and they’ve got quality throughout the team. I was speaking to Vince Lia afterwards and he was saying they’re just getting their starting XI back together after a run of injuries.

“I certainly feel that Adelaide have got a real chance to do something, they were the better team tonight and I think they’re one to watch out for.”

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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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