Adelaide City consolidated their spot at the top of the National Premier League ladder with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Adelaide United Youth at Smith Partners Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
By Michael Barbaro
It was a sunny afternoon in Modbury with the mercury hitting 28° before the 5pm kickoff.
The hosts got the better of City in the opening minutes as United’s Apostolos Stamatelopoulos got in behind the defence before firing a shot which was well saved by Ryan Veitch.
United continued to press the visitors but failed to break through City’s makeshift defence; skipper Matt Halliday sat out the occasion because of a hamstring injury sustained in last week’s 4-1 win over Birkalla.
They received another chance through Lachlan Brook in the 35th minute, however the youngster curled it around the wrong side of the post.
Controversy surrounded the clash in the 45th minute as Kristin Konstandopoulos’ high boot collected Josh Mori’s head as the new City signed got to the ball, forcing referee Jarrod Muller to point to the spot.
Experienced penalty taker Nicholas Bucco stepped up to the task, sending a low angled drive past Daniel Margush and giving City a 1-0 lead heading into the break.
It was a well deserved goal for City, who found their rhythm as the match went on.
Six minutes after the break City doubled their advantage, this time through star striker Anthony Costa.
Joe Costa sent the ball out wide to Valentino Yuel before the winger turned in a perfect cross which Anthony Costa got on the end of, getting to the ball a split-second before Margush.
In the 75th minute, City gained another goal through experienced winger and former Adelaide United A-League player Evan Kostopoulos.
Kostopoulos collected the ball outside the penalty area and unleashed a shot from 25 yards, hitting the underside of the crossbar and bouncing in, giving his team a three-goal advantage heading into the final 15 minutes of the contest.
Four minutes later, the Reds got a consolation goal as Brook turned his defender before smashing the ball home from distance, giving Veitch no chance.
Veitch, however, made two spectacular saves in the following minutes as he denied Ninko Beric and Jai King-Byrne from closing in on City’s advantage.
It was a sound win for City, giving them plenty of momentum heading into next week’s huge match with West Adelaide as the two sides contest The Real Adelaide Derby for the first time this season.