Rookie Adelaide keeper Joe Gauci saved two penalties but Central Coast somehow flipped the script to register a 2-1 win in an engrossing top-of-the-table A-League clash.
Upheaval, fan protests, deafening silence and acrimony describes the past week in the history of Melbourne Victory.
Yet Victory returned to their unfavoured Marvel Stadium for an Original Rivalry.
Adelaide conversely were three on the bounce as they rode a wave of confidence into this fixture. Adelaide’s confidence was doubly rewarded as they performed outstandingly in the second half, relegating Victory to another horrific low.
A stunning free kick from Jake Brimmer brought the house down but Adelaide came back from a goal down to silence the Victory fans once more. Stefan Mauk’s sealer made the win all the more sweet for the Reds.
Who were the top performers? Find out below.
Jake Brimmer: 7.5
The Melbourne boy struck first with a blinding free kick that flung in from the crossbar in a memorable moment for the Victory faithful. Following this he slowly began to integrate himself into the contest, displaying his brute tenacity in the middle of the box as he sought to create opportunities for his wingers.
Robbie Kruse: 7
Despite some poor form for much of this season, Kruse was man of the match in the first half. Latching on to an Adelaide mistake, he dashed through the middle, putting the shot wide to the left despite being afforded options on both wings. He was granted a similar opportunity 17 minutes into the contest, illustrating his trickery in an attacking midfield role. He played a stunning ball to Rudy Gestede in the 29th minute, where the Frenchman placed it high and wide. However, he wasn’t as present in the second half when Victory began to slump.
Callum McManaman: 6.5
The Englishman had a positive forward run forward four minutes into the contest. Dashing down that right side, his crosses heavily troubled the Adelaide defence. He was effective in drawing fouls, notably in transition. However, much like the Victory forward line, he was notably absent in the second half.
Honourable mention: Adama Traore.
Stefan Mauk: 9
Continuing his brilliant form all season in a moment to savour, Mauk struck a half volley past Matt Acton in a stellar effort for the Adelaide captain. The man to drive it forward for the Reds, he was effective in drawing fouls and distributing the ball to Adelaide’s front three. He later grabbed his second off some individual brilliance from Kusini Yengi.
Kusini Yengi: 8.5
The substitute made an immediate impact, hitting the post in the 58th minute in a possession, which led to a dangerous free kick for Adelaide United. His efforts were rewarded in the 61st minute with a brilliant tap in from Javi Lopez’s cross. As wily as ever, Yengi was essential to Adelaide’s comeback as he provided the inch-perfect cross for the sealer.
Craig Goodwin: 7.5
The loanee and Adelaide legend demonstrated his Socceroos quality once again, providing width as he drove into the box and elegantly distributed the ball. He was a key contributor in the build-up of Adelaide’s goals, moving the ball with aplomb.
Javi Lopez: 8
The experienced Spaniard operated in an unconventional left back position, ebbing and flowing between the lines, and he even put a shot wide in the 39th minute. He effectively closed down McManaman late in the first half. His midfield technical ability resulted in playing a ball to Kusini Yengi, who slotted it home. The veteran is finding his feet for the Reds.
Ryan Strain: 7.5
Recently returning from an injury, Strain was largely untroubled. He looked assured despite the forward runs he was faced with. He was also effective in delivering the ball to Ben Halloran, which spurred many of Adelaide’s first-half opportunities. He was effective in keeping the Victory forwards at bay for the second half.
Honourable mention: Jordan Elsey.