Adelaide United scored a timely confidence-boosting 2-1 away win over Central Coast Mariners on Thursday evening. The win halts a three-match losing streak for Marco Kurz’s team and comes less than a week before the Reds’ FFA Cup final showdown this coming Tuesday against League powerhouse Sydney FC.
Adelaide’s win in Gosford came just days after the Mariners inflicted a shock 2-0 defeat on Sydney FC in their Rd 6 encounter.
The Reds had to fight back after conceding a 40th-minute penalty to the home team which Wout Brama converted. However a stunning strike by German midfielder Daniel Adlung put the Reds back on level terms in the second half before wing-back Ryan Kitto netted an injury time winner for the Reds bringing the Mariners crashing back to earth with a thud.
The Reds’ FFA Cup final opponents this coming Tuesday, Sydney FC, face a potentially tough encounter on Saturday against surprise league leader Newcastle Jets just three days before the Cup final. Sydney have had the wood on the Jets for a long time and will be determined preserve their unbeaten home record. They’ll be bolstered by the inclusion of skillful Polish import Adrian Mierzejewski, and Charles Lokolingoy. The Jets also welcome back players Daniel Georgievski and Kosta Petratos, among others.
Saturday’s other scheduled match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Wellington Phoenix has been postponed due to the state of the pitch.
Closing out Round seven on Sunday is Melbourne Victory’s visit to Perth Glory.
Victory find themselves without a win from their six matches this season, and second from the bottom. It welcomes back into the squad internationals Troisi, Milligan, and Barbarouses, although coach Muscat may keep Milligan and Barbarouses on the bench for the start of the match.
Perth, on the other hand, will be eager to make amends for their 5-2 drubbing away to Wellington Phoenix last round, but will have to do it without the services of injured striker Adam Taggart, who is out with a hamstring injury.
Victory have several attacking options apart from Berisha, including Barbarouses, Leroy George, Troisi, and Mitch Austin who returns to the squad from suspension.
Also available to coach Muscat is 17-year-old left winger Christian Theoharous whose cameo off the bench last week produced a strong run and cross which led to a Beshart Berisha goal in the 1-1 draw against Brisbane Roar.
“Chris comes on and he was positive. You sensed that he was playing without any burden, without any pressure or lack of confidence – all the things you get labelled with,” said the coach.
“When Chrissy did come on he was playing without any stress and he played with some belief.
“His age is one thing. There’s a number of things. You can’t just use age in isolation. Chrissy’s got some very good assets that many in the A-League haven’t got.
“There’s still some areas he needs to work on and he’s maturing as he goes along. He’s got a real big opportunity – but ultimately it’s going to be down to him to make the right steps forward and take that opportunity.
“There’s still some games, some training [to undertake], but his enthusiasm and his brightness [stand out] – almost to the extent where he didn’t respect the opposition in a nice way. He just wanted to get at them and not show any fear and not ‘respect them’. I thought he was bright.”