Adelaide United have A-League finals footy in their sights after a 3-1 win over Wellington.Adelaide United have continued their march towards finals football with a comprehensive 3-1 win over the Wellington Phoenix at Coopers Stadium.
More than 11,730 fans turned out on Good Friday for the Reds’ final home match of the season in which they dominated for large parts of the 90 minutes.
Despite United’s dominance, the Phoenix fired an early warning shot after just three minutes.
Nathan Burns weaved his way through some heavy traffic on the edge of the Reds penalty area before tumbling amid claims for a penalty.
The loose ball rolled to Roy Krishna, whose shot beat Paul Izzo but hit Daniel Adlung and bounced back out off the upright.
Adlung was busy early on and tested Phoenix keeper Oliver Sail twice in five minutes.
The first was a thunderous 20m drive that swerved late before it was tipped over the bar. On the quarter-hour, the German forced another great save.
Wellington failed to clear a corner and Adlung attempted an audacious first-time volley, which took deflection in the busy penalty area before Sail saved again.
Burns and Andrija Kaluderovic combined on the half-hour but Izzo thwarted the attack before Ryan Kitto called Sail into action again after a quick counter.
United finally found a way past Sail on 42 minutes when skipper Isaias slipped through Michael Marrone, who supplied an inch-perfect cross for Johan Absalonsen, who drifted in unmarked at the near post and headed home.
United controlled much of the play in the second half and were eventually rewarded with their second on 61 minutes courtesy of an impressive effort from Ben Garuccio.
The left full-back skipped past Scott Galloway before firing with the outside of his left boot into the roof of the net.
Two minutes later, Garuccio turned provider for Adelaide’s third, whipping in a low cross that Sail managed to push away.
But the Wellington ‘keeper could only palm into the path of George Blackwood, whose blocked shot fell to Nathan Konstandopoulos, who danced around two defenders before bundling the ball over the line.
Phoenix earned a contentious penalty in the 84th minute when Ersan Gulum as judged to have run into the back of Logan Rogerson.
The substitute stepped up and converted his spot kick despite Izzo getting a touch to the ball.
United coach Marco Kurz was thrilled with the win in front of the Reds’ biggest Coopers Stadium crowd for the season.
“If you can finish the (last) home game with a win against a very good team, a strong team from Wellington, then you will be happy,” he said.
“Compliments to the supporters. I think everyone loves to play at Hindmarsh in front of our fans.”
Wellington coach Chris Greenacre said the home side deserved maximum points.
“I thought Adelaide, no qualms about it, were the best team on the night,” he said.
“I think at times we played into their hands a little bit.”