Sydney puts dent in Adelaide’s finals hopes
Adelaide United’s finals fate could be slipping away after crashing 4-1 to Sydney FC at Coopers Stadium on Saturday night.
As Sydney edged closer to securing second spot after Adelaide was reduced to 10 men, its finals fate is now a lottery.
Jordan Elsey was expelled, as Adelaide still sits in the top six but has four clubs capable of overtaking the Reds’ 38 points.
The Reds must rely on other results and potentially a must-win clash against Western Sydney at home in its final league clash on Thursday.
Adelaide’s high-pressing-at-all-costs game plan crashed early when Adam Le Fondre nodded Sydney into a deserved lead when the clash was just six minutes old.
Adelaide was chasing shadows when Luke Brattan released the A-League’s best right back Rhyan Grant, who had time and space to direct his cross towards a disorganised defence.
Le Fondre beat Ryan Strain to angle the ball into the back of the net as gloveman James Delianov was caught out of position.
Sydney then bossed most of the match especially in front of goal.
Grant and Bobo had free headers which failed to test the Reds and Le Fondre had just Ryan Kitto to beat but his shot was deflected by the left back’s legs.
Stefan Mauk, who was hobbling for most of match, watched his 53rd minute chance canon off the upright, before Adelaide-born Ryan McGowan made a brilliant desperate block from the rebound.
Le Fondre scored his second goal with a clever tap in after Adelaide was caught out of shape from a classical Sydney counter-attack in the 54th minute.
Bobo made it 3-0 with another tap in after a Le Fondre assist after a VAR check for an offside call which was deemed incorrect.
Sydney youngster Patrick Wood scored with his first touches off the bench in the 71st minute to record the away side’s fourth goal.
Reds substitute Yaya Dukuly scored his first A-League goal with a cool finish in the 89th minute after a Michael Marrone cutback.
The Sky Blues dominated their opponents on Saturday. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Bobo sees red
The clash reached a first half flashpoint when Elsey jump tackled Bobo with his studs raised.
The caution brandished by referee Daniel Elder didn’t appear to be suffice for Sydney.
And Bobo didn’t mince his words.
“For me it was a 100 per cent red card,’’ Bobo told Fox Sports.
“If I stayed there (during the tackle) with my legs (planted) they would be broken.”
Elsey was later sent off when he fouled Le Fondre to pick up a second caution in the 63rd minute.
It was easy to see why Socceroos coach Graham Arnold named Sydney’s Grant, McGowan and goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Kuwait from next week.
The trio oozed class and played their last match of the season for Sydney at Hindmarsh.
McGowan’s presence and timing were impeccable, Grant owned the right wing despite playing at right back and Redmayne was a rock for most of the night in goal.
Kusini a huge loss
It was evident that injured striker Kusini Yengi is the current biggest of loss of the season due to a hamstring injury.
With Adelaide’s impressive defensive midfielder Juande also missing with injury, Adelaide definitely missed the hustle and bustle of the big forward.
His aggression caused major headaches for defences for 90 minutes, but not on Saturday in his absence.
It was sporadic and comfortable for Sydney’s back four.
Adelaide United 1 (Yaya Dukuly 89m) Sydney FC 4 (Adam Le Fondre 6m, 54m, Bobo 58m, Patrick Wood 71m) at Coopers Stadium – Referee: Daniel Elder
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