Adelaide vs. Sydney: The start of the A-League season and the scene was set. Jerseys literally hot off the press as the front-of-shirt sponsor only snagged yesterday had their decals applied retrospectively at the stadium. New big-screen in place to watch the team inevitably lose right in front of your face and replayed in HD. And in our first game to the Smurfs without the constant whinging of Brosque,
I wondered if there would be anything for me to get angry about or a new figure to direct my hatred towards. Well. The sounds of “you are shit, ahhh” quickly turned into “this is f*cking bullshit, arghhh” as 5 goals, 3 VAR interventions, and 1 red card completed the evening for Sydney to come up 3-2 victors against United (of the Adelaide and not Western variety). But if you think this writeup is saltier than a slice of bung fritz, that’s okay. It’s………. just my account.
For this season of the A-League- “where heroes are made”, we saw the introduction of Avengers side character, Hawkeye. It was decided to pool all the money saved by not offering the League winners prize money, and implement more officiating technology to further p*ss off the football purist.
In what started out as the stereotypical “cagey” affair, it took all of 20 minutes for VAR to become involved as Jakobsen was done for handball in the box. The man in sky blue stepped up, no not ALF, but Alex King to review the decision. Like Rebekah Vardy, King was the sole viewer of the footage on the tiny sideline device, to report back that it’s………. a penalty. ALF converts with a shot to the top right corner and I’m about to choke somebody with my summer scarf.
Less than 10 minutes later ALF takes a shot with his other foot to get his brace, assisted by cross-town rival defect, Baumjohann. 2-Nil down and I thought this was going about as well as me trying to shave my knees properly.
Adelaide thankfully cut the deficit in half prior to entering the sheds for halftime. Kitto was fouled outside of the box in the 42nd by Baumjohann. The new wall rules seemed to be vibing for Adelaide as Mileusnic stepped up for the spot kick and sent an absolute rocket into the back of the net.
Verbeek appeared to have given one hell of a halftime talk as United came out all guns blazing in the second. The increased intensity was quickly rewarded in the 51st as Toure scored his maiden A-League goal through a Halloran assist. The crowd went ballistic to see the scores level for a second before the AR eventually raised his flag to summon yet another VAR demon. Thankfully KGJ let this one rightfully stand and Toure continues to prove himself as an amazing pick up by Adelaide this year.
Moments later, Adelaide had the chance to take the lead for the first time in the game, as Toure again took aim following a Milesunic break, but his shot went just wide. But holy hell if that had gone in.
Galekovic, new to the coaching gig received a yellow in the 54th for voicing his displeasure out loud, rather than taking the more accepted route of later creating a burner Twitter account and leading with the phrase, “listen here, F*CK FACE”.
The 57th minute had Adam Le Flop-re go down easier than Adelaide’s power grid on a mild summer’s day. Adelaide’s Strain saw red for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity in a challenge that would’ve likely been waved on if it happened anywhere else on the park. I have been flung back harder by my door handle catching on my clothes when I’m angry than the slight touch made by strain’s hand. ALF and the Smurf’s appeared to be milking contact and calls all night, to the point where I now realise that SFC are the sole providers of the dairy beverage to keep NSW’s latte addiction going as a source of extra income, so yeah what salary cap? Guys, I’ve solved it. Luckily, O’Neill couldn’t capitalise on the proceeding spot kick.
A man down and Adelaide were at risk of falling apart like an over-stuffed taco as Barbarouses thought he had grasped Sydney the winner 3 minutes later. Adelaide boy, McGowan sarcastically motioned for VAR post goal, and as the rules stipulate that all sky-blue whinging shall be listened to, the decision was sent upstairs only to return as “no goal” for offside. Barbarouses tried again in the 68th only to be denied this time by a Jakobsen goal-line clearance.
Unfortunately, the battle of Sydney Harbour versus Outer Harbour had to have a winner and a 10-man Adelaide couldn’t withstand it anymore. In the 86th, McGowan’s impressive header following a corner cross into the box sealed the 3 points for the reigning champions.
To condense my VAR rant into a paragraph, I know that the VAR/hawkeye decisions were “technically correct” but to achieve this we are absolutely ruining the stadium feel. Waiting in the stadium in real time for these decisions is about as enjoyable as having your chips served under your parmi. This wasn’t helped by the scoreboard technician trolling by putting up “no penalty” when the penalty decision had in fact been awarded. I didn’t know what to do with my emotions or my arms whilst being at the mercy of this technology and I would prefer the alternative of not having it every day of the week.
Adelaide next face Melbourne City in their away, A-League leg of the 2-leg FFA cup final playing out that week (love the scheduling). Still feeling the loss of Isaias, it will be interesting to see the impact of both Troisi and our international signings, who I’m hoping haven’t limited their tactical offence playbook to those that are cocaine related. Whilst on the same day, Sydney are reunited with former flame, Ufuk and his Phoenix.
By Hayley Routley