Early Opseth goal the difference as Reds earn much-needed win over Brisbane
Adelaide United's four-game losing streak came to an end with a long-awaited 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar at CBUS Super Stadium on the Gold Coast on Sunday afternoon.
The three points came against a Roar outfit who had won their previous three Hyundai A-League games but under new boss Carl Veart Adelaide emerged with a hunger for victory, which was ultimately earned in the sixth minute of play when Adelaide striker Kristian Opseth scored the only goal of the game.
The result put Adelaide back in finals contention as they leapt over Western United into sixth position on the Hyundai A-League table.
Opseth wasted no time getting reacquainted with Hyundai A-League life, finding the back of the net from close range after connecting with a dangerous cross from Ryan Strain which found Opseth's head inside the six-yard box.
The Reds held their one-goal advantage until half time but would not have done so without the goalkeeping heroics of Paul Izzo, who conjured two crucial saves to keep efforts from Dylan Wenzel-Halls and Jay O'Shea at bay.
A dangerous Adelaide attack at the conclusion of the opening stanza in which Nikola Mileusnic's scuffed strike hit the post gave Brisbane a lifeline as they kept the deficit at one goal heading into the second half.
As play resumed chances began to flow for both sides with Wenzel-Halls calling Izzo into two saves down low within the opening ten minutes of the second half, while Mileusnic, Opseth and McGree began to find the ball in dangerous spaces far more frequently for the Reds.
Scott Neville came close to equalising for Brisbane - albeit unknowingly - when a deflected cross from O'Shea cannoned off the side Neville's head to fly just wide of Adelaide's goal.
After a handful of half-chances at either end both sides mustered one genuine sighter each in quick succession from two corners, with Adelaide substitute George Blackwood heading an attempt off the crossbar and Roar captain Tom Aldred sliding a close-range header wide of the mark.
In his first game as Brisbane Head Coach Warren Moon threw all of his attacking options at Adelaide, with Aaron Amadi-Holloway and Mirza Muratovic emerging off the substitute bench to try and alter proceedings.
But it proved to be Izzo's night in between the sticks for the Reds as Adelaide held onto their slender lead until the final whistle to earn all three points, snap their unwanted losing streak and surge into contention for a spot in the Hyundai A-League Finals Series.
Strain and Opseth combine to give Reds an early lead
Just six minutes into the contest Adelaide's Norwegian striker Opseth put his side in front with a close-range header, benefiting from a pinpoint accurate cross from Strain to bury his third goal of the season.
Opseth got low to connect with Strain's perfect ball into the box, which whipped past Mileusnic at the front post for Opseth to head past Jamie Young from inside the six-yard box.
Wenzel-Halls calls Izzo into an athletic block to keep Roar goalless
Halfway through the opening stanza Brisbane's first genuine sight on goal came halfway through the opening stanza when Scott McDonald found the head of Wenzel-Halls with a well-weighted cross.
But Izzo was more than up to the task of keeping Brisbane at bay, diving to his right to push the ball wide of the mark.
Izzo goes one better in efforts to keep Red's sheet clean
After denying Wenzel-Halls from close range Izzo stepped up for the Reds again with a remarkable save to tip an O'Shea free-kick destined for the top corner onto the crossbar and out for a corner.
As O'Shea's dead-ball effort curled toward goal Izzo stepped to his right and launched with an outstretched glove to pull off his second stellar save of the first half.
Mileusnic hits the post in the Red's quest for a second goal
As half-time beckoned Adelaide made one last foray forward in a swift attacking move which turned into a genuine chance for Mileusnic thanks to a ball from McGree which penetrated Brisbane's defensive line.
Mileusnic scuffed his shot but Young could only watch as the ball dribbled along the deck and into the post; Ben Halloran scampered in to try and collect the rebound but the ball evaded the Adelaide attacker and made its way out of danger.
Chance goes begging for Brisbane as Aldred's header fades wide
Brisbane began to pile on the pressure for an equaliser as the clock ran down, and their best chance of the second stanza fell to captain Aldred who failed to convert a terrific opportunity to turn O'Shea's corner kick into Adelaide's net.
The centre-back launched at the cross but couldn't get enough purchase on the header, as he watched the ball drift wide of the mark.
Wellington Phoenix v Adelaide United
When: Saturday, July 25
Where: Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta, Sydney
Kick-off: 5.00pm (AEST)
Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar
When: Wednesday, July 29
Where: Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta, Sydney
Kick-off: 7.30pm (AEST)