‘That’s the hard reality of football’: Troisi, Reds teach Jets a lesson in seizing big moments
Adelaide United playmaker James Troisi says his side’s 2-1 win over Newcastle on Sunday afternoon may not have been a true reflection of the game as a whole, but rightly displayed Adelaide’s ascendancy in the moments that mattered.
The Reds’ usual expansive, free-flowing attacking game was severely stifled by the scorching Adelaide heat and the Jets did their best to capitalise, taking 31 shots to 13, laying 32 crosses and enjoying the bulk of possession.
But despite their overall dominance, Newcastle could not capitalise in the one category that mattered, while their opponents Adelaide did exactly the opposite.
Knowing their trademark offensive swagger would be less of a potent threat in the taxing conditions, Gertjan Verbeek’s side decided to try a different approach, absorbing all of the Jets’ pressure and striking them down when it mattered.
“Thank god, to be honest I’m so glad that’s over, that was difficult,” Troisi told FOX Sports post-match.
“I don’t know if that was a true reflection of the game but we’ll definitely take it.
“We needed the three points, we’ve got plenty to work on. It was tough for both teams but it’s very, very difficult to play the football we want to play in these conditions.
“We said we’d sit a little bit deeper and they’ll have to come out.
“We conceded an early [second-half] goal which was disappointing but [Paul] Izzo was brilliant tonight, he kept us in the game.
“That’s the hard reality of football; it just takes one little chance or one little lapse and we punished them tonight.”
Troisi was the hero himself on the day, scoring his first goal in the Hyundai A-League for his new side with less than 10 minutes to play to nick all three points that Newcastle could just as easily have taken home themselves on another day.
It was an afternoon of firsts, not just for Troisi, but for 22-year-old forward George Blackwood who opened his Reds account for the season with the first goal of the game.
In the absence of Riley McGree, Verbeek called on Blackwood, who he has utilised mainly as a wide forward so far this season, to fill the McGree void at number 10, and he did so with aplomb.
With the heat and the absence of his star creator to contend with, Verbeek proved once again his tactical nous as a manager as Adelaide collected their fifth win of the season and rose back above Western United into third on the Hyundai A-League table.
“I don’t mind it [playing number 10],” Blackwood told FOX Sports after his side’s win.
“[Verbeek] wants me to run in behind a lot. I feel like at 10 I can get on the ball a little bit more and be a little bit more helpful, and then get in the box easier and score goals, and that’s what I did today.
“It’s always good to get off the mark for the A-League season, but I’m just happy we got the win as well.
“I just want to contribute and play as much as I can.
“I don’t think we played well again this week... I think it’s really important when you don’t play well to get three points sometimes.
“The conditions were terrible, it’s 36 degrees, but we’re just happy we got the win.”
For Adelaide’s tactics to work on the day, a herculean defensive effort was needed, and that’s what Verbeek got from his rear guard in the uncomfortable conditions.
In repelling wave after wave of Jets attack, the Reds’ defence gave Blackwood and Troisi the chance to impact the scoresheet down the other end and ultimately decide the game.
After the final whistle, FOX Sports analyst Andy Harper was full of admiration for the Reds, in how they attacked the game with a strong game plan and executed it to great effect.
“Adelaide deserved to win,” Harper said.
“Why? Because they defended better when they needed to.
“Newcastle didn’t have to defend their penalty area much today, probably on two key occasions, and they failed, they lost the game.
“Adelaide repeatedly when their backs were against the wall managed to find the extra leg, extra player or Paul Izzo.
“On that basis they fully deserved on those crucial moments to turn around and say ‘we were the best team at the right moments’.”
After their bye week in Round 10, Adelaide United travel to face Central Coast Mariners on Sunday, 22 December. The Round 11 contest kicks off at 6pm AEDT at Central Coast Stadium. Get your tickets here
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