Ben Halloran’s first-half goal was enough for Adelaide United to beat Melbourne Victory 1-0 and snap the Reds’ four-game losing streak.
In a pulsating clash at Coopers Stadium, Halloran struck just after the half-hour mark to earn his side a valuable three points in the race for a finals berth.
The Reds had fallen out of the top six on the back of their recent poor run but leapfrogged Victory – and jumped to fifth spot – with their sixth win of the campaign.
It was also the fourth game in a row between the two clubs that Adelaide have come away with all three points.
Playing in their first game since coach Marco Kurz was sacked, Victory had their chances to take something from the match but were made to pay for their wasteful finishing.
Andrew Nabbout failed to hit the target with excellent opportunities in both halves, while Elvis Kamsoba’s wait for a Hyundai A-League goal goes on as he was denied by some Paul Izzo brilliance.
New Victory coach Carlos Salvachua has plenty of work to do to turn Victory’s season around as they drop to seventh spot on the ladder ahead of next week’s Big Blue against Sydney FC.
Mileusnic with an early sighter
Adelaide looked to get at Victory early on and had the first sight of goal inside seven minutes.
A long switch of play was controlled by Nikola Mileusnic, with the winger cutting inside and curling a shot from distance which was spilt by keeper Lawrence Thomas, but Victory’s defence managed to clear the danger.
Elsey breathes a sigh of relief
There was a scare soon after for the home side when referee Adam Kersey awarded Victory a penalty for a perceived handball by Reds defender Jordan Elsey.
But after consultation with the VAR, Kersey reversed his decision with replays showing the ball didn’t come in contact with Elsey’s arm.
Halloran bundles Adelaide into the lead
The Reds produce some quality on 32 minutes as Michael Maria and Kristian Opseth combine give Riley McGree space to shoot from a tight angle.
Thomas can’t hold McGree’s powerful shot, with the ball rolling along the line and Halloran is their to get the final touch as Adama Traore tried to clear.
Nabbout goes close for Victory
Victory were second best for much of the first half but were inches away from drawing level 10 minutes before the break.
After Elvis Kamsoba showed great perseverance to win possession, Jakob Poulsen’s pass set up Andrew Nabbout but he fizzed a shot inches wide of the post.
Incredible action at both ends
Victory came out firing after the break and would have had an equaliser if not for the heroics of Reds keeper Paul Izzo.
The young gloveman made three important stops in the space of two minutes, denying Elvis Kamsoba, Andrew Nabbout and Adam Traore with stunning saves.
And the Reds almost hit Victory with a sucker punch midway through the half as Mileusnic’s header beat Thomas but stayed out off the post.
McGree almost curls one in
Adelaide were searching for some breathing space and young gun Riley McGree almost gave it to them.
Played in on the right by Kristian Opseth, McGree shimmied past one defender and tried to bend a shot inside the far post but the ball skimmed wide.
Western United FC v Adelaide United
Sunday, 26 January 2020
Kick off: 6pm AEDT
Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC
Friday, 24 January 2020
Kick off: 7.30pm AEDT