Red cards, penalties and video assistant referee drama are becoming stock standard in the A-League in another game filled with incident as Adelaide beat Western Sydney 2-0 at Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday.
Ryan Kitto’s two goals delivered the three points for Adelaide to put them fourth on the ladder, but the result could’ve been greater had the Reds buried numerous first half chances.
The Wanderers found themselves a man down after 21 minutes when Robbie Cornthwaite was shown a second yellow handling the ball in the penalty area; a decision given by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) after the fact.
Baba Diawara missed the resultant spot-kick but Kitto would later score the opener before the interval, yet not without controversy as it appeared Diawara interfered with play from an offside position in the moment before Kitto scored.
The VAR studied the case and allowed the goal to stand despite Diawara clearly being involved in play while offside.
Brendan Hamill’s elementary mistake in the second half allowed Nikola Mileusnic and Kitto to combine for Adelaide’s second goal, while Ben Garuccio was sent off late for a tackle on Roly Bonevacia – a verdict which, once more, was influenced by the VAR.
Paul Izzo – 6
Was hardly called upon in the first half and shoddily saved a long Sotirio shot in the second. It seems he’s been given the directive to grow into a sweeper-keeper role; a few times he came well out of his area but would clear the ball straight up in the air.
Ryan Strain – 7
Had a great debut at right-back in place of Michael Marrone. A few good early touches got his confidence up and he made the most of it. Supporting runs up the flank, balls through for Mileusnic and solid defending made it a good showing. One to watch.
Jordan Elsey – 7
Visibly improving as a defender. His one-on-one defending outside the penalty area and covering for teammates are his best strengths. Looked composed.
Ersan Gulum – 6
The leader in defence, he got caught high too many times as Western Sydney’s speedsters broke into the space behind the Reds’ defence. Gulum pushes so high that he was the last to track back to defend the counters. Likes playing a pass out of the back. Brownie points for his Cruyff turn.