Marrone masterclass central to Adelaide's mature and measured victory
The match might not live long in the memory but the rewards of Adelaide United's muzzling of Melbourne Victory are sure to be felt in the Finals Series.
Marco Kurz's men suffocated the midfield and stifled the Hyundai A-League's second most potent attacking force on their way to a valuable 1-0 triumph on Friday night.
That the Reds sacrificed the normal order of home entertainment will ultimately be nothing more than a footnote if, as expected, the three points earn them and their fans an Elimination Final at Coopers Stadium.
Michael Marrone explained after the match that self-imposed inhibition had been the very real objective of head coach Kurz as Adelaide - winners by virtue of George Blackwood's late header - sought to avoid giving Victory any assistance.
"When we've played them in the past we've always made silly mistakes," Marrone told Fox Sports.
"We've tried to play out through the middle and they've cut it out and gone forward. Then you're 1-0 down, chasing the game and it's disappointing.
"We didn't want that to happen at home.
"In the first half we were playing without much risk. As the game progressed I thought we did a little bit better [on the ball]. Still not at our best but it was good enough to get the points."
Letting the natural inclination for a high-octane contest against old rivals subside in favour of canny caution showed the maturity of a team that has had to ride out several setbacks this season.
High on the list of hindrances has been the scarcity of natural central defenders but Marrone, a right-back by trade, continues to keep a lid on those complaints.
The 32-year-old started alongside Michael Jakobsen once more and stood tall against the might of Ola Toivonen – contesting a team-high nine aerial duels – while he repeatedly positioned himself perfectly to nullify the more agile threats of Kosta Barbarouses and Elvis Kamsoba.
Marrone's pliability was seen on a greater scale by Adelaide as a whole and it is a characteristic that should serve them well in the Finals Series.