Troisi hails vital Verbeek move which sparked Reds comeback

It seemed James Troisi was set to taste defeat in his Adelaide United debut after a lacklustre first-half showing from his side against Newcastle Jets - until a masterstroke changed the game.

Reds boss Gertjan Verbeek made two pivotal half-time changes which Troisi says swung the game in Adelaide’s favour, sending them on their way to an impressive come-from-behind victory.

Heading into the sheds at the halfway mark trailing a dominant Newcastle 1-0, Verbeek brought on Nikola Mileusnic and Michael Maria, reverting to a similar line-up to the one which dominated the FFA Cup Final on Wednesday night.

And boy did it pay off.

“It was pretty open in the first half, there was a lot of space,” Troisi told FOX Sports post-game.

“[Verbeek] tweaked a few things at half time and it showed.

“We were more compact with better quality on the ball and had some good chances.”

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Following the interval, Verbeek reverted to the front four – Mileusnic, Riley McGree, Ben Halloran and Al Hassan Toure – that he deployed from the start against Melbourne City, with Maria replacing Ryan Kitto at left-back.

The difference was instantaneous. Adelaide began the second half with all the momentum and did not take their foot off the pedal until a double from McGree put them back in the lead. 

From 2-1, the Reds held firm to take three points away from McDonald Jones Stadium, a result made all the more impressive after the quick turnaround from their midweek FFA Cup masterclass.

It was a result which made the FOX Panel sit back and marvel.

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“They should enjoy it very much because they were fantastic in the second half,” Mark Bosnich said post-game.

“Credit to the manager Verbeek who made the two changes bringing Maria and Mileusnic on.

“They looked a completely different outfit. They started to boss the game for long periods and in my opinion deservedly got the equaliser.” 

And it wasn’t just Bosnich ringing the praises of the managerial nous of Verbeek, who in just his third game as a Hyundai A-League manager showed ex-Premier League player Robbie Slater he’s more than capable of changing the entire complexity of a game from the technical area.

“They were much better in the second half,” Slater said.

“That change from Verbeek of Mileusnic and Maria certainly changed the game, and Newcastle didn’t deal with it.

“They had a number of chances before they equalised.”

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Adelaide’s gritty comeback caps off a massive week for the Reds which began with last Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Melbourne City, before their 4-0 FFA Cup Final demolition of the same opposition on Wednesday.

After three big games in a little over a week the Reds are granted a Round 4 bye next weekend, which Troisi and his new teammates will use to unwind after the week that was. 

“It’s been a tough week, but extremely positive and happy we got the win,” Troisi said.

“It’s fantastic to be back on the pitch... It was a tough 90 minutes in tough conditions.

“With the week we’ve had it will be good to get the boys to freshen up a bit.

“I think it comes at a good time.” 

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