Their coach was banished but Adelaide United’s players bashed Melbourne Victory into submission in a rough-house 1-0 triumph in Friday night’s A-League match.
Adelaide’s Jeronimo Neumann scored the winner in a foul-tempered affair at Hindmarsh Stadium featuring six yellow cards and one red.
Snapping a three-game losing streak, Adelaide rose to within a point of the second-placed Victory on the ladder, adopting brutal tactics on their arch rivals who lost star striker Archie Thompson to injury.
The red-lining Reds copped five yellow cards in the initial 40 minutes, resulting in caretaker coach Michael Valkanis snapping at referees.
Volcanic Valkanis’ eruption resulted in him being sent from the sidelines, and Neumann scored as he was marching down the tunnel.
Neumann leapt high to meet Dario Vidosic’s sweet, sweeping cross from near the by-line, the Argentine crunching a close-range header into the net in the 42nd minute.
Adelaide celebrated wildly, suitable given their testy first-half mood in which they aggressively knocked the Victory off-course.
The Reds saved special force for their former teammate and now Melbourne playmaker Marcos Flores, who was fouled five times in the first half.
Adelaide’s savage tactics worked: the Victory failed to register a single shot at goal in an opening half marred by Thompson’s 35th minute departure with a cramped left hamstring and back spasms.
Ironically, it was Melbourne who went a player down when defender Adama Traore copped a straight red card for a late tackle on Jon McKain in the 75th minute.
The Victory had only recorded their first shot at goal some four minutes earlier when Marcos Rojas sprayed a speculative right-footer metres wide of the target.
Melbourne logged just three scoring attempts for the match, with just one on target.
Valkanis said his first win as coach since replacing John Kosmina two weeks ago was important for the club.
“We needed to have this win because we have been through quite a bit in the last couple of weeks,” Valkanis said.
“I really wanted the players to show that passion, that aggression, to win a game.”
Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou was pleased with his team’s composure in the face of Adelaide’s hostility.
“It was physical, when it’s like that it is pretty hard to get a decent flow in a game, it’s pretty disruptive, stop-start all the time,” he said.
“It makes it hard to get any flow or rhythm into it which, from our perspective, is the kind of football we want to play.”