February 23, 2013
Reds lift away form with 2-2 Phoenix draw
Adelaide United still haven't won in their past seven A-League away matches, but interim coach Michael Valkanis says Sunday's 2-2 draw with Wellington Phoenix is a step in the right direction.
The result moved them into third place on the ladder, equal on 36 points with Melbourne Victory but boasting a superior goal difference, while the Phoenix remain mired at the bottom of the table.
The Reds led 2-1 at halftime through well-taken strikes from Tomi Juric and Marcelo Carrusca, while Jeremy Brockie rediscovered form with his 12th goal of the season to keep Wellington in touch at the break.
Well into an often directionless second stanza, the Phoenix were given a sniff of a chance when Reds defender Jon McKain was sent off at 70 minutes after picking up his second yellow.
New signing Corey Gameiro duly obliged with an 80th-minute equaliser after Stein Huysegems' nod-down found him perfectly positioned for a left-foot volley.
Valkanis described the match as a rollercoaster ride, but said his team showed improvement following last week's disappointing 2-1 loss to Sydney FC.
"I thought the first 30 minutes were good, and we had some very good chances which we didn't take advantage of, especially in the first 10 minutes," he said.
"Things changed for us when Jon McKain came off - it made it very difficult for us.
"But in terms of what we've gone through in previous away games, the boys responded and showed attitude and commitment. Previously we probably would have dropped the points but we kept at it right until the end."
Valkanis said Adelaide's inability to pick up points on the road had been puzzling, as they had struggled to replicate the work rate they managed at Hindmarsh.
"You have to work hard in football, you don't just win games. They got the point today, a well-deserved point in the end, and we've just got to build on that now."
Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert, whose team has just one win from their last nine matches, was happy to see a distinct improvement in intensity.
"Especially in the second half, there were real good shades of the old Phoenix - totally competitive, well in control, only team going to win the game," he said.
He said statistics showed Wellington created around 23 opportunities to Adelaide's six, and admitted a lack of finishing had probably robbed the Phoenix of a win.
|Wellington Phoenix FC||Adelaide United|
|20 Glen Moss||1 Eugene Galekovic|
|22 Andrew Durante||3 Nigel Boogaard|
|18 Ben Sigmund||6 Cassio|
|3 Tony Lochhead||4 Jon McKain|
|2 Manny Muscat||12 Anthony Golec|
|11 Jeremy Brockie||17 Iain Ramsay|
|17 Vince Lia||10 Dario Vidosic|
|7 Leo Bertos||2 Osama Malik|
|16 Louis Fenton||8 Marcelo Carrusca|
|8 Paul Ifill||24 Awer Mabil|
|23 Corey Gameiro||25 Tomislav Juric|
|1 Mark Paston||Paul Izzo 20|
|21 Dani Sanchez||Fabian Barbiero 18|
|12 Tyler Boyd||Cameron Watson 14|
|10 Stein Huysegems||Evan Kostopoulos 23|
|Stein Huysegems for Vince Lia (75)||Cameron Watson for Tomislav Juric (65)|
|Tyler Boyd for Louis Fenton (82)||Evan Kostopoulos for Awer Mabil (73)|
|Fabian Barbiero for Marcelo Carrusca (83)|
|Manny Muscat (50)||Osama Malik (8)|
|Jon McKain (69)|
|Nigel Boogaard (80)|
|Jon McKain (69)|
|· Squads: Wellington Phoenix FC | Adelaide United|