Mileusnic scores wonderful volley as rampant Adelaide punish Mariners
Adelaide United romped into fifth spot on the Hyundai A-League ladder with a convincing 3-1 victory against Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night.
Milan Duric gave the Mariners a flying start in Gosford with a penalty on six minutes but it was one-way traffic in favour of the Reds following the Serbian's coolly dispatched spot-kick.
Ben Halloran pulled Adelaide square after a delightful exchange involving Michael Maria and Riley McGree, before Nikola Mileusnic met Maria's cross with a lovely volley to put the FFA Cup 2019 winners in front.
Kristian Opseth had the Reds in cruise control on half time with a poacher's finish, the Norwegian's maiden strike in the Hyundai A-League.
The striker spurned the opportunity to put Adelaide out of reach when his tame penalty was parried by Mark Birighitti early in the second half, and Gertjan Verbeek's side - who unleashed 22 shots on goal to the Mariners' nine - could quite easily have made the scoreline more resounding.
Mileusnic was a constant menace on the night but his radar was awry before the winger was succumbed to injury late in the second half, while Halloran and Opseth each enjoyed opportunities to underline their team's dominance.
The win is Adelaide's third straight and sixth consecutive against the Mariners in Gosford, and one which consolidates the club's position in the top six.
Duric fires the Mariners in front
Central Coast made a flying start in the sixth minute through Serbian playmaker Milan Duric's confidently dispatched penalty.
The spot-kick was earned by Samuel Silvera, who picked out a strong header from Giancarlo Gallifuoco before charging into the box, where he was felled by Michael Marrone's mistimed challenge.
Duric made no mistake from the penalty spot.
Pressure built on the Mariners after Duric's opener, and Adelaide restored parity when Ben Halloran finished off a well-worked move for 1-1 on 26 minutes.
Michael Maria darted inside and combined with the Australian international and after a delightful one-two with Riley McGree inside the penalty area, Halloran fired past Mariners 'keeper Mark Birighitti at the near post to make it all square.
Mileusnic scores a beauty
Adelaide edged in front thanks to another wonderfully created goal on 38 minutes.
Maria was again the chief architect - the Dutchman's sensational wing play picked out Nikola Mileusnic in the box, and the side-foot volleyed finish was top drawer from the Adelaide speedster.
A hammer blow from Opseth
Adelaide had their third in the final minute of the first half, and it was a maiden Hyundai A-League goal for Kristian Opseth.
James Troisi sent Halloran scampering down the right, and the Norwegian front man delivered a hammer blow to the Mariners on the stroke of half time.
Birighitti denies Opseth
Opseth was handed the chance to secure a double when McGree was fouled by Gallifuoco but the striker's penalty was tame and comfortably parried by Birighitti.
The stats that matter
Provided by Opta
- Adelaide United have now won their last four A-League games on the bounce against the Central Coast Mariners, equalling their longest ever winning streak against them in the competition.
- Adelaide United scored three first-half goals in an A-League game for the second time in 2019; they had not done so even once in either 2017 or 2018.
- The Central Coast Mariners have now gone 38 games without keeping a clean sheet in the A-League, the longest stretch of any team in the history of the competition.
- Adelaide United landed 12 shots on target; only once since Opta began recording the data (season 2012/13) have they made more in an A-League game (14 vs Perth Glory in January 2016).
- Tommy Oar (Central Coast Mariners) made three successful open-play crosses in an A-League game for the first time since returning to the competition in 2016; no Central Coast Mariners’ player has made more in a game in that time.