Reds edge injury-hit Jets

A Cristiano-inspired Adelaide United has preyed on an undermanned Newcastle Jets to record a 2-0 victory at Hindmarsh Stadium on Saturday.

A Cristiano-inspired Adelaide United has preyed on an undermanned Newcastle Jets to record a 2-0 victory at Hindmarsh Stadium on Saturday.

The Brazilian scored both of the Reds' goals in an open second half, caused mainly by the Jets shocking run with injuries.

The visitors' chances were dealt a blow when they lost Adam Griffiths and then his brother Joel to injury midway through the first half.

And when Jesper Hakansson and Jason Hoffman hobbled off the park after the break the visitors were down to 10 men.

But it took the Reds 72 minutes to make the most of the personnel mismatch - Cristiano bobbing up for an opportunist score right on the goal line.

That goal was set up by a Cassio cross. Alemao trapped the pass but had his shot deflected by Newcastle goalkeeper Ante Covic. The ball then rebounded off the cross bar and Cristiano was there to nod it home.

It was then a solo effort by the 2008 recruit that sealed the result. Closing in on full-time he intercepted a Covic clearance and ran the ball through an empty penalty box.

Goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic also emerged as a hero with two saves in the dying minutes.

But it was Cristiano's double that broke the tension for United, which struggled to recapture the form that saw them beat the Kashima Antlers in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday.

Regardless of the streaky performance, the result sees the South Australian team regain third place on the Hyundai A-League ladder.

Adelaide United coach Aurelio Vidmar said it was a 'massive' performance considering the team had completed five games in 16 days.

"There was a bit of doubt in my mind how they were going to come up and obviously they looked a bit flat and that's understandable," Vidmar said.

"For the boys to go out there and really squeeze every last bit of energy out of their bodies was a superb effort."

Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond said there were a lot of positives to take from the game despite the 2-0 score-line.

"I thought the first half we were by far the better team, we kept the ball very well, the tactics we used were very good," van Egmond said.

"And then obviously for the boys to dig in and try and win the game with 10."

The 0-0 first half was a 45-minute tug-of-war with neither side able to gain the ascendancy.

Paul Reid had one of the best chances to score at the 30th minute.

Reid found himself on the end of a deft Travis Dodd and looked to pass Covic in the box. But he lost control of the ball and went out of play.

The Jets lost the Griffiths brothers after half an hour of play and had to swing the changes earlier than expected. But it didn't affect their intensity or competitiveness and they too were dangerous at times.

They could've easily taken a lead but were denied by Galekovic.

Galekovic smothered a Jin-Hyung Song shot from within the six-yard box while in the 44th minute the key defender sprinted out of the box to cut off a Matt Thompson run towards goal.

It was all Adelaide immediately after the break with Cristiano and Dodd giving Newcastle's defence some anxious moments.

And the opportunities kept coming for the home side as the opposition went one man down because of injuries.

The Reds scored twice and had most of the play but the Jets had their own chances to influence the result.

A defensive lapse by the home side gave Song a free shot from 10 metres while Tarek Elrich ducked and weaved his way into a scoring opportunity. But Galekovic stopped both attempts much to the delight of the Hindmarsh Stadium crowd.

Adelaide United 2 (Cristiano 72', 89') Newcastle United 0 @ Hindmarsh Stadium. Crowd: 8111