Adelaide United coach Marco Kurz admits George Blackwood's match-winning goal should never have happened.
Kurz was close to substituting the young striker before he struck the goal that strengthened the Reds’ grip on fourth place in a close-fought 1-0 win against Melbourne Victory on Good Friday.
The 21-year-old headed in Isaias’ delivery to net the decider in the 81st minute, before he was replaced by Dutch loanee striker Jordy Thomassen four minutes later.
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Blackwood’s third goal of the Hyundai A-League season means the Reds travel to Brisbane in control of their own destiny.
A win against the Roar would wrap up fourth place and clinch a home match to kick-off the Hyundai A-League Finals.
Kurz breathed a sign of relief that he left Blackwood on long enough to make the difference and keep open the prospect that the Reds had not played their last game of the 2018/19 season at Coopers Stadium.
“We spoke about [taking Blackwood off] because he cramped,” Kurz said.
“We had not the luxury of a lot of offensive players and that means I must be careful.
“I’m happy that he scored at this time because I’m sure I would change him.
“Maybe he smelt it a little bit and said ‘look I must score the goal and then you can change me coach’.”
Starting only his ninth game of the 2018/19 season marred by injuries, Blackwood’s game time is being carefully managed by Kurz and the Adelaide medical team.
A broken bone in his shoulder forced him out of the club’s FFA Cup final triumph in October and other spells on the sidelines have kept the Former Sydney FC forward from playing consistent minutes.
“We are happy that he is in this shape but we must be careful with him because had no basics from the pre-season," Kurz added. "But I am happy that he is in this shape.
“He learned a lot to work with the body. It was not easy to hold the ball against [James] Donachie and against [Georg] Niedermeier but he did it well.
“He is a striker, his job is to score a goal. That is his ‘shop’ and today he was good.”
Three minutes before Blackwood pounced, Victory centre-half Donachie headed an effort into the Adelaide net that was ruled out for a foul.
While Adelaide's goal almost never happened, Victory coach Kevin Muscat bemoaned a 'goal' which he believes should have counted, but did not.
“The game turned on its head in one decision,” Muscat said.
“There wasn’t too many chances and then when we score it’s incorrectly ruled out in my view.
“It’s that clear that there’s no contact. He’s in the air and lands on his teammate’s foot or ankle or boot and falls over.
“It shouldn’t have even gone to VAR and it should have been given a goal. It was that clear and that obvious.”