Western United hosted Adelaide United in this year’s season opener, and in a cagey and generally end-to-end affair neither side was able to find the back of the net, with Western United’s largely counterattacking style unable to satisfy the home fans with a victory.
Adelaide United were satisfied with a point, as coach Carl Veart remarked in his post-match press conference, and both coaches felt a draw was the right and justified result for both sides.
Filip Kurto: 6
Kurto made a solid punch away from the goal late in the first half yet he was largely untroubled throughout the fixture.
Aaron Calver: 6.5
Aaron made several minor poor defensive mistakes in the early areas of the fixture. Yet he grew comfortable as the game progressed when Western United progressed on the counter. What typified his performance was a stunning goal-line clearance in the second half that kept the game at a stalemate
Tomoki Imai: 7
Imai put in a solid defensive shift, blocking passes early in the game. He played brilliant balls down the line to Dylan Pieras and cut inside the box effectively late in the first half.
Tomislav Uskok: 6
Despite some poor vision in the early stages, Uskok was calm and composed with strong defensive positioning.
Dylan Pieras: 6.5
Pieras dashed down the right wing but failed to capatalise on his finishing despite having multiple opportunities. He excited the crowd and was generally very serviceable.
Victor Sanchez: 6.5
The Spanish recruit didn’t receive much of the ball in the first half as it was largely a wing-to-wing affair, yet he made some eloquent passes in the second half across the centre half of the pitch. A tidy debut for Sanchez.
Steven Lustica: 6
Lustica showed his experience, with several key passes into United’s attacking third. He didn’t possess the ball too much, as Western United predominantly operated on the two wings.
Connor Pain: 6
Connor often struggled to contain Ben Halloran and lost many of his attacking duels but contributed to Western United’s counterattacks and put in a sizeable shift on the left wing.
Lachlan Wales: 6.5
Lachie on his debut for Western United showed the quality he gained under Erick Mombaerts, making several good turns, illustrating his vision through a great switch to Connor Pain where James Delianov made an outstanding save. He was unfortunate to not claim his first Western United assist.
Alessandro Diamanti: 6.5
The Diamond played several key launching passes in the earlier stages of the fixture. He placed a tonne of weight on his attacking balls to make the presence of his captaincy felt. However, while his larger-than-life presence wasn’t able to thoroughly influence the fixture, his class was permanent and prevalent.
Besart Berisha: 6
As Mark Rudan had revealed Berisha had returned to training only a week earlier, Besart wasn’t afforded multitudes of opportunities from the two wing backs, and he scuffed a shot early in the second half.
Ayom Majok: 5.5
The 17-year-old former NPL SA product showed his pace on debut, yet on the ball he struggled to drive into the box.
Nicholas Milanovic, Andrew Durante, Ivan Vujica and Jerry Skotadis: N/A
James Delianov: 8
Delianov made some stunning saves in both halves, occupying both his posts as shots from Diamanti and Pain were saved effectively, though not with ease. There was plenty of promise from the former Western United and Melbourne City keeper, something coach Carl Veart lauded in his post-match press conference.
Ryan Strain: 6.5
Ryan looked comfortable dashing into the midfield and central areas. He often failed to capitalise on passes, yet he put in a solid shift in right back. A commendable performance.
Jordan Elsey: 6.5
Elsey continued the trend of Adelaide’s relatively solid back four despite a poor tackle in the 24th minute leading to a Diamanti free kick. He played a brilliant long ball to Juric, which he didn’t capitalise on in the first half.
Michael Jakobson: 6
Jakobson, like Elsey, had a solid shift in the heart of defence despite some poor passes in the midst of the defence.
Noah Smith: 7
The battle between Smith and Pieras encapsulated the mild tension between the two sides as on his debut he looked extremely comfortable containing him on the right wing. His no-nonsense demeanour led to several key successful tackles. He’s one to watch out for this season
Louis D’Arrigo: 6.5
The young midfielder played several solid key passes in the midfield in the first half. He is beginning to bloom into a brilliant midfield general. D’Arrigo was also the designated free kick-taker, showing glimpses of his set piece abilities.
Joe Caletti: 6.5
The former Brisbane midfielder had a successful debut for Adelaide after some minor hiccups. He played several key passes in the centre of the midfielder
Stefan Mauk: 6
The captain didn’t have much to play with in the middle of the park. He made several tidy balls in the midst of the midfield as Adelaide started to drop off in the second stages of the first half. Stefan was effective while pressing the Western United attackers.
Ben Halloran: 6.5
Ben made some very good touches on the ball from high balls on the right wing. His positioning was largely exceptional. He had several chances, the most notable occurring in the 66th minute where Aaron Calver made an outstanding goal-line clearance.
Tomi Juric: 6.5
On return for Adelaide, Tomi looked comfortable on the ball as he was given freedom to roam around his striker position. His chip was unfortunate to land in the 36th minute. He also looked sharp with a gapingly wide shot in the 52nd minute. Tomi also illustrated his passing abilities, which is integral for the modern A-League striker
Yaya Dukuly: 6
He drifted inside on the wings and was very composed in his play in the early stages. However, the youngster lacked finish. He was impressive being designated the role of corner-taker for Adelaide. Yaya looked tired late into the first half, which slightly hampered his performance.
Pacifique Niyongabire: 6
Nathan Konstandopoulos, Mohammed Toure: N/A