Melbourne City boss John van ‘t Schip praised his side’s fighting qualities but admitted a lack of attacking spark coast them dearly against Adelaide United on Friday night.
So prolific in attack for much of the season, City rarely troubled the Reds’ staunch defence in the 2-0 defeat at AAMI Park which killed off their faint hopes of winning the Hyundai A-League Premiership.
“We tried everything we could. The commitment was a lot more than it was in Perth [last week],” van ‘t Schip told Fox Sports.
“But we couldn’t really break them down and we didn’t create chances from open play. It was all a bit opportunistic.
“We were trying to shoot through a lot of players, when we crossed a few balls in, we didn’t have numbers in the box.
“In the end it wasn’t good enough but the boys tried everything. They tried to fight themselves back in the game but Adelaide was difficult to break down.”
City made the worst possible start, going behind inside four minutes through a classy free-kick from Isaias.
The decisive second goal came in first-half stoppage time when goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen was adjudged to have barged over Stefan Mauk in the box.
“Looking at it back it’s clearly not a penalty, the balls already out,” van ‘t Schip lamented.
“As a goalkeeper you can use your body like that it’s just protecting space. But the ball’s already behind [anyway].
“Coming 2-0 behind it’s going to be hard. I must say the boys were fighting until the end, they tried everything but it wasn’t our day.”
If in-form Perth Glory beat Sydney FC on Sunday, City will slip to fifth and miss out on a home final.
That seemed inconceivable just a week ago as they sat at the top of the league, but two straight losses means they face an uphill battle for the title.
“It’s an elimination finals series. We know if we win every game we win the title. We’ve got everything to play for,” City midfielder Osama Malik said.
“I don’t think we played too badly, we just conceded goals at probably the wrong times,” he added.“It knocked the stuffing out of us a little bit. To Adelaide’s credit they deserved the win tonight.”