Despite an early red (and a yellow card for Adelaide coach Marco Kurz), Adelaide showed their quality and determination in climbing back from 2-0 down.
A pulsating end-to-end affair played out between Adelaide United and the Central Coast Mariners at Coopers Stadium.
Central Coast were advantaged by an early red card to Adelaide centreback Ersan Gulum, with Andrew Hoole at the centre of both of the Mariners’ goals; eloquently sending the ball past a hapless Paul Izzo from a free kick and crossing for Ryan Strain's undeserved own goal.
United showed the conviction that has them almost solidified in finals football, whereas the Mariners were culpable for lapsing defensively, sitting off in the final 30 minutes, when it would have been effective to match Adelaide’s intensity, as they had done in the first half.
As the Mariners slowed down play it allowed room for United to stake their claim.
Paul Izzo 6.5 —
Left stunned by Hoole’s free kick, but was impressive with his scrambling reflex saves throughout the match.
Ryan Strain 6 —
Painfully was responsible for the own goal, despite another impressive showing at right back.
Jordan Elsey 7 —
Provided an effective option on corner scenarios and was rewarded with a goal from a Garuccio delivery. Stood up well alongside Regan and could not do much for the Mariners’ goals.
Ersan Gulum 4 —
Earned a red card in the early part of the game. Arguably a soft challenge, but it was necessary to prevent a likely second for the Mariners, which would have rattled Adelaide further.
Ben Garuccio 7 —
Ventured forward well to provide a positive outlet, with many of Adelaide’s attacking work stemming from the left back. Placed a fantastic cross on Elsey’s head from a deal ball. At times his challenges defensively were inept, allowing Buhagiar to present danger for the Adelaide defence.