Adelaide United have claimed just their third win of the season after scrapping to a 1-0 result against the Newcastle Jets in a feisty clash at Coopers Stadium on Friday night.
A second-half penalty from Marcelo Carrusca broke the deadlock, with a well-deserved three points a promising sign for the Reds as they prepare to kick-off their AFC Champions League campaign.
It was an even affair in the opening stanza with in-form midfielder Andrew Nabbout firing a couple of shots for the visitors, while Adelaide goalkeeper John Hall came to the rescue with a last ditch save.
United's best chance came after the break when Jack Duncan flapped at a corner but with the goal gaping Sergio Cirio could only manage to get his hand on the ball.
The decisive moment came on the hour mark when Tarek Elrich earned his side a penalty and they dominated proceedings thereafter to see out the result.
With tensions rising, a melee broke out on 75 minutes after the Jets' Wayne Brown, pushed Riley McGree to the ground for a challenge on Ma Leilei.
For Adelaide the win goes some way to banishing last week's humilating 5-0 defeat to Perth Glory. Gui Amor’s side will now look forward to hosting Japanese outfit Gamba Osaka in their ACL opener on Wednesday night.
The loss sees the Jets drop out of the top six and they’ll be missing captain Nigel Boogaard, Ma Leilei and Wayne Brown in next week’s crucial F3 Derby after they all picked up their fifth booking of the campaign.
1-0 Adelaide United: Marcelo Carrusca (pen.) 61’
An incisive run into the Jets box from Tarek Elrich was rewarded with a spot-kick after he was brought down by the combined challenge of Daniel Mullen and Nigel Boogaard. The Reds stand-in skipper stepped up and sent Jack Duncan the wrong way as he dispatching it confidently into the back of the net.
Reds goalkeeper John Hall showed tremendous courage and agility to maintain parity late in the first-half. A quickly taken free-kick from the Jets caught the home side napping at the back, with Morten Nordstrand connecting with a looping header that was goal bound. Hall was caught off his line but reacted quickly, diving full stretch to parry the ball away and clattering into the post in the process.
Reds midfielder Isaias picked up a leg injury while getting a shot away in the first half and was replaced at the break by new South Korean signing Kim Jae-Sung, who put in an eye-catching cameo.