Rampant Reds run riot

Adelaide United has stormed to the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder with a crushing 6-1 victory over Wellington Phoenix at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday.

Adelaide United has stormed to the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder with a crushing 6-1 victory over Wellington Phoenix at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday.

Leading 2-0 at half-time, United were challenged by the Phoenix when Fred knocked a ball home from close range 11 minutes after the resumption.

But the Reds then blew the game apart with two goals in 12 minutes from Cassio and an opportunist score to Cristiano, his second for the game, at the 74th minute.

The clash became a one-sided exhibition with skipper Travis Dodd adding further gloss to the result with a goal heading into injury time.

Defender Sasa Ognenovski and Cristiano were the first-half scorers.

It's the first time Adelaide has scored six goals in an A-League match.

United have a one-point lead at the top of the table but will slip back to second if Melbourne Victory win or play out a draw with Perth Glory on Saturday.

But regardless of their placing at the end of the weekend, the South Australian side can head to Japan for the Club World Cup full of confidence after the comprehensive result.

Cristiano was the big performer on the night. The first-year player had started the last two games on the bench and was keen to show he was worthy of a position in the starting 11.

But it was a true team effort as Scott Jamieson delivered plenty of crosses from the left side, Ognenovski bullied danger man Shane Smeltz out of the contest, Paul Reid was a steady link-man in the midfield while Fabian Barbiero is growing in confidence with every contest.

In contrast, it was a rude awakening for Wellington which was on the rise after recording three wins in a row before the nightmare result. While the New Zealand team missed some opportunities its rudderless final half an hour will sting their supporters.

It took United the opening 10 minutes to warm to the contest but once they did they were red hot.

They earned six corners in the first half and threatened to score on a number of occasions. Cristiano got into good positions but couldn't finish a number of opportunities while Dodd's pace worried the Phoenix defence.

At the 21st minute, Ognenovski was the finisher in a rebounding effort by United.

A Jamieson corner was headed across the face of goals by Robbie Cornthwaite, then centred by Diego before Ognenovski slammed the ball into the back of the net from near the penalty area.

Cristiano strengthened the home side's advantage by heading a Reid corner past a despondent Mark Paston.

Paston sustained an injury in the first half and was replaced by back-up goalkeeper Glen Moss. It wasn't the only change by Wellington with the entire line-up displaying a more desperate approach after the break.

A probing Leo Bertos free kick rebounded off the woodwork and was swooped upon by Fred.

But two minutes later the Reds struck back with Cristiano setting Cassio up on his favoured left side to hammer one past Moss.

At the 69th minute he delivered again from a similar position in the box and from that point the Reds were unstoppable.

Cristiano' second goal and Dodd's first came from deflections in a shattered Wellington defence.

Adelaide United coach Aurelio Vidmar said his side 'thoroughly deserved' the five-goal margin.

"I was really happy with the performance from start to finish, we really went out there with a lot of intent, really aggressive and we kept that up for close to 90 minutes which was really pleasing," he said.

"Nothing changed tonight, it was the same formation. But it was the will of the players actually trying to get into those forward positions. It sort of clicked tonight."

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert said it was a 'tough night' for his side.

"You get one of these a year and hopefully that's it for us. Internally we'll have a good look at it with the players and look forward to next week's home game," he said.

"From top to bottom in this league it's tight and if both sides were playing well it would be a different kettle of fish. But if you are not on your game, you saw that tonight, you can get punished."

Adelaide United 6 Ognenovski 21', Cristiano 43',74', Cassio 57', 70', Dodd 90' Wellington Phoenix 1 Fred 56' Crowd 9442 at Hindmarsh Stadium.