Adelaide United coach Josep Gombau will use the next eight days to rest and recover some exhausted and sore bodies after Saturday’s last-gasp 2-1 victory over Wellington Phoenix at Coopers Stadium.
The win capped a punishing but fruitful stretch of three fixtures in eight days, at the end of which the Reds find themselves having advanced to next month’s FFA Cup final, while sitting second and still undefeated on the A-League ladder.
But the hard slog has produced casualties - notably striker Bruce Djite, who sustained a quad injury against Sydney FC last week, and playmaker Marcelo Carrusca (ankle), who limped off
Hindmarsh to receive treatment in the 72nd minute against the Phoenix.
Pablo Sanchez overcame a back injury to start against Wellington before substituting out as a precaution.
This team needs a break.
“Now we have a long week (off),” Gombau said. “For us this will be good.
“We have until Sunday; we can rest, we can recover players.
“(Cameron) Watson is close to being ready, Djite maybe 10 days.
“It (Carrusca) is an ankle problem; it's not a muscle problem.
“We didn't want to take a risk, like Pablo.
“He wasn’t running the same, and I didn't want to take the risk.
“We played three days ago, (and) we played to win. For this reason I am so happy.”
Segio Cirio’s 94th-minute sealer came via a stroke of luck after moments earlier Osama Malik was fortunate to have received a free kick - and perhaps fortunate to still be on the park.
But there was no denying Adelaide were the superior team from the moment Wellington’s Dutch import gave his team a surprise early lead after blasting a 15th-minute bullet goal.
Equalising through an unlikely source in Nigel Boogaard’s noggin, Adelaide proceeded to dominate the visitors, who aggressively fought toe-to-toe early and defended desperately late.
Gombau sensed that Wellington felt content with an away draw after Boogaard’s leveller but sharing the points was never a viable option for the hosts.
“Away from home, they (Nix) decided a draw (at 1-1) was enough for them so they didn’t press and they were defending from that point,” Gombau said.
“The other team had 10 men behind the ball and it is difficult to find space.
“But we wanted to win because we've already drawn two games at home against Victory and Sydney.
“For us it (draw) is not enough.
“We deserved to win because we attacked at every single moment.”