The last time Adelaide and Perth met was the 2018/2019 Semi-Final, and boy was I in an absolute glass case of emotion during that entire game. The boys had made me believe they could do it even when the chips were down and they had conjured it out of nothing.
Despite losing out in one of the most ridiculous penalty shootouts you will ever see- including five saved penalties in a row that took so long, the ABC definitely would’ve cut coverage to go to their news, you couldn’t be mad at the effort. So, can I borrow a feeling from that day? Because, this time round, instead of being in a glass case of emotion I felt like I was having about as much fun as being stuck in Joe’s glass box in You.
Perhaps this performance was best summed up by the Adelaide United social media admin who simply posted “fulltime.” alongside the score line. I’ll admit, it’s taken me many attempts and much moping around the house to expand on that any further, but please see my sad sack story below.
Adelaide entered the fixture already down and out, having lost 4 of their last 5 games, and missing several key faces with Toure on international duty and Troisi out with hamstring issues. Verbeek was forced into a reshuffle, bringing Maria to the wing, starting Kitto as fullback, and pushing Mileusnic into the middle.
In contrast, despite the loss of Juande to a groin injury, Perth had an air of confidence in them, donning their jackets for their walkout despite the 36-degree conditions to see if they could extend their 4-game winning streak.
Adelaide came out of the blocks strong, creating a myriad of chances in the first 25 minutes, with 5 corners in this time alone. Blackwood had the first chance in the 2nd minute following a Kitto assist, but his shot landed safely in the hands of Reddy.
The 21st gave us the first inkling that VAR had the night/day (damn time zones) off as a Fornaroli handball in the box following an Adelaide corner went unchecked. When compared to the Georgievski handball that was given just two rounds earlier (as an Adelaide fan, this wasn’t a handball), the definition of “unnatural position” between these two incidences is just worlds apart. Verbeek got his chance to do his best Klopp “two times” impression on the sideline later in the game as Franjic appeared to keep the ball in play within the box using his hand whilst trying to win a foul in the 37th.
With United unable to finish a happy meal let alone any of the copious chances that the opening 25 held, Perth pounced on Adelaide against the run of play. Chianese was waiting on the edge of the box and had enough space to turn and finish to open the scoring and to notch up his third goal in as many consecutive games.
And this signalled the beginning of the end for Adelaide as all momentum was lost. With both Kitto and Elsey unable to close down Castro in the 44th, his assist found Fornaroli as well as an unfortunate deflection off Jakobsen to double Perth’s lead moments before the break. Like Chianese, this also meant Fornaroli scoring in his third consecutive game. Why can’t we have stats like this?!
With Adelaide’s starting formation now proving as risky as liking an Insta post that’s more than 6-months old, Kitto was dragged for Konstandopoulos at half time and Opseth replaced Blackwood about 10 minutes later.
Perth continued to rattle Adelaide, with Chianese’s 52nd minute shot going just wide of the post, whilst Adelaide attempted to get their own back in the 56th as Mileusnic’s initial chance was deflected by Reddy toward McGree, who couldn’t quite direct his shot into the right side of the post.
The 68th saw Ikonomidis, subbed on just 8 minutes earlier, put the final nail in Adelaide’s coffin. One on one with Ikonomidis, Izzo came off his line but unfortunately couldn’t collect, allowing Ikonomidis to run on to find the bottom left corner. This signalled a great time for Marrone to come on for his 150th appearance for Adelaide (should’ve started in my opinion).
Perth continued to tease Adelaide with further chances through Castro in the 74th and a “should’ve scored” moment for Fornaroli in the 82nd. In a heart-stopping moment for Glory fans, Ikonomidis went down in the 89th clutching his ankle following a defensive effort from Jakobsen, to a chorus of VAR and penalty shouts from the Glory faithful, but VAR continued to remain aloof.
The 3-0 victory in the Macron Kit Derby sees Perth hold 3rd position, whilst Adelaide now drop out of the top 6. In a league as small as ours, the optimist in me says we just need a few good games and we’re back in it. Whilst, the pessimist in me says as easy as it is to climb, is as easy as it is to fall; being only 2 games clear of bottom-placed Jets and less than a game from a resurgent Brisbane. And well the pregnancy hormones in me are just saying, what the f*ck.
By Hayley Routley