Stylish Adelaide beat wasteful Western
COACH John Aloisi is adamant Western United can still turn their floundering season around despite a fourth straight loss in a wasteful 3-1 defeat to Adelaide United at Mars Stadium last Sunday.
Reds attacker Ben Halloran scored a superb long-range goal on the half-hour before Lachie Wales equalised with a desperate effort close to goal in the 53rd minute.
But Alexandar Popovic’s glancing header restored Adelaide’s lead three minutes later, before Halloran teed up Luka Jovanovic to deliver a two-goal buffer in the 63rd minute.
Bottom-placed United, who spurned multiple goal-scoring chances, have lost two games consecutively at Ballarat’s Mars Stadium amid their losing streak.
But championship-winning coach Aloisi batted away a question about whether he was feeling the pressure and was adamant he could right Western’s season.
“No, I’m confident,” he said.
“If we weren’t playing well, or if I didn’t see the players going right to the end or, you know, I see a group that’s not believing, then you have to start to ask questions. I don’t see that at all.
“The results haven’t been there but performances have been good. And for me, I’m a coach that’s been through many situations in the past. We’ve won with this football club, with this team.
“We’re still building where we’re going through a little bit of a transition in terms of a lot of players and it’s a long season. We’ve got 22 more games or something. We’ve got time.
“We want to win now, yes, but we’ve got time. We know that we’ll be there or thereabouts.”
Aloisi noted defensively United were “getting punished at the moment for things that we can do better” but was confident the amount of chances they were creating would pay dividends.
The Reds were clinical in attack while goalkeeper Joe Gauci was superb, making five saves and setting the tone for a desperate Adelaide defence.
Western had 23 shots with seven on target to Adelaide’s 21 with five on target.
“I’m happy with the desperation that we showed to stay in front,” Adelaide coach Carl Veart said.
“Western are quite a good side, very good attacking side, and they could have punished us a few times tonight.
“But we’re very fortunate that we’ve got a top-quality goalkeeper in Joe and, and the defence at times put their body on the line, which was excellent.
“We were always going to score goals with the quality players that we’ve got in the attack as well.”
The win lifts Adelaide to third on the table and within a point of top spot, while it was a perfect response to a thumping loss to Sydney FC.
“It’s about getting back to why we were so good in the first games and what that looked like,” Veart said.
“And we saw bits and pieces of that again today.”
Western United return to Mars Stadium again this Saturday, 2 December to take on Wellington Phoenix with kick off at 5.30pm.
– ANNA HARRINGTON/ AAP