Adelaide United 2-0 Sydney FC
Second-placed Adelaide United beat bottom-side Sydney FC 2-0 at the Adelaide Oval tonight to move to within 8 points of A-League leaders Brisbane Roar.
Adelaide meet Roar at Hindmarsh Stadium on 2 January in a top-of-the-table clash.
Reigning champions Sydney remain last, a point adrift of North Queensland Fury and are now almost certainly out of contention for a place in the finals, being 9 points out of the top-six.
The win broke Adelaide’s losing streak of three games on the trot, while Sydney have now lost five games in a row and have not scored in 474 minutes.
Sergio Van Dijk became the league’s leading marksman with 11 goals when he opened Adelaide’s account in the 35th minute. Marcos Flores crossed from the right and Stefan Keller could only help the ball on with his raised, outstretched leg to Van Dijk on the left of the box. The Dutchman controlled the ball with his chest before volleying across keeper Liam Reddy and inside the far post.
Keller was unlucky for Sydney in the 42nd minute after a corner, his shot on the turn clipping the top of Mark Birighitti’s crossbar.
It was 2-0 in the 58th minute. Paul Reid released Cassio down the left and his attempted cross looped off Hayden Foxe and over Reddy and into the net.
Flores, Reid and Joe Keenan had other chances for Adelaide, while Sydney’s only goal attempts came from Keller, Shannon Cole and Byun Sung-Kwan, the latter’s shot being fumbled by Birighitti, who recovered just in time to snatch the ball at the second attempt.
Birighitti was in goal in place of the injured Eugene Galekovic.
Nicky Carle made a rare start for Sydney but was largely ineffective. He displayed some of his usual party-pieces comprised of back-heelers and flicks, but in a game that Sydney had to win, these were luxury trimmings that did nothing to enhance the team’s chances of winning. They got the ball to team-mates, but that’s all.
Carle did produce a beautiful pass in the first half with a delicate chip, but Dimitri Petratos was dispossessed by the onrushing Birighitti before he could do any damage.
Sydney will have to show a huge reversal of form if they are to do well in the forthcoming Asian Champions League.
The crowd of 16,429 was satisfactory, but way down on Adelaide's two previous appearances at Adelaide oval, which drew 26,000 and 23,000 spectators.
The cricket pitch in the middle presented no problems, and if this venue was approved for an A-League match, there should be no problems with Bellerive Oval in the future, even with a cricket pitch.
Adelaide United: Birighitti - Watson, Boogaard, Fyfe, Cassio - Hughes (Barbiero 90+2), Flores, Reid - Keenan, Van Dijk (Cornthwaite 88), Ramsay (Pantelis 77) (Sub not used: Galekovic)
Goals: Van Dijk 35, Foxe 58 og
Sydney FC: Reddy - Cole, Keller, Foxe (Ryall 83), Sung-Hwan - Moriyasu, McFlynn, Carle (Cazarine 60), Jamieson (Musialik 69) - Petratos, Bridge (Sub not used: Necevski)
Ref: G Parsons