Oh, what a knight! Adelaide United have avoided a Round of 32 duck following their 5-2 victory against the Melbourne Knights on an evening that bought us perfect weather for ducks #thingswhitepeoplesay.
Us Gen Y’s have waited over a decade for some epic sequels: Toy Story 3, The Incredibles, and Adelaide United against Melbourne Knights who last met in the NSL days in the 2003/2004 season. For the first competitive pre-season match, we saw a somewhat new look Adelaide United: Toure debuting up front as Blackwood has been sidelined with hamstring trouble and new signing Opseth upsettingly not competitive-match ready. We also saw Jakobsen donning the captain’s armband and Marrone has cut his hair.
The Knights Stadium was packed with over 4,000 to create a hostile atmosphere for the visitors… until we all laid eyes on the cutest, jersey-wearing duck within the crowd. If bringing a duck in a jersey to the football is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.
Both teams took to the field hungry for a win. Toure sparked early hoping to impress Verbeek into making a contract offer with a chance in the 10th minute following a Riley McGree quick free kick, however his shot sailed past the face of goal and out of play. No worry, because two minutes later Toure continued to take shot after shot- much like me at age 19, with very different results. Halloran made a darting run down the wing to find Toure in the centre of the box, where his initial touch was poor, but he got it back to find the back of the net.
Toure and McGree again teamed up in the 19th, catching Knight’s keeper Gifkins off his line, however they were unable to convert as Gifkins eventually saw the ball out of play. The Knight’s Watson had a huge chance to even things up as he was on the receiving end of an Awad pass following a brutal nutmegging of Jakobsen, however the 1:1 that ensued with Izzo didn’t end with a goal.
Not satisfied with his earlier assist, Halloran went on a solo run past Gifkins in the 23rd to find plenty of space to slot one home to double Adelaide’s lead. At this point the game threatened to be a complete annihilation but a 28th minute goal from Albano following Awad’s post rattling initial shot meant we had some happy cevapis at last. Happy cevapis who know the two ingredients to create the perfect atmosphere: ducks and flares. Awad may have thought he would continue his FFA cup run through his reported trial next week with the Nix, but alas the Nix know a thing or two about a Round 32 exit.
The second half had more shots on goal than f*cks given by the state government towards the WWC 2023 bid. Konsta joined the scoresheet in the 56th through a thumping shot that caught the underside of the crossbar to cross the goal line. Although initially claimed by Boland, McGree stole the final touch as only someone from Gawler would know how in the 60th after making a huge run from halfway for the scoreboard to show 4.
By the 72nd, Adelaide’s defense was caught napping as the excitement far exceeded the usual Wednesday evening nightlife of SA. Brice was able to capitalise on a Knight’s corner to find the home team’s second through a beautiful header. And you know what they say, good with his head, good in bed.
Halloran provided the kill-shot in the 75th to bring up his double as he was on the receiving end of a classy Toure cutback.
The victory sees Adelaide through to the Round of 16 against Queensland’s Olympic FC. Another away trip means Adelaide don’t need to release their home jersey anytime soon, so heads up Macron- you have some more time to work on a more interesting design besides the Jetson inspired shoulders.
By Hayley Routley
Featured Image from Matt Johnson Photography