Reds go top with win over Jets

Adelaide United has celebrated Michael Valkanis' 'testimonial' game and re-focussed its premiership tilt with a 2-0 victory over the Newcastle Jets at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday.

Adelaide United has celebrated Michael Valkanis' 'testimonial' game and re-focussed its premiership tilt with a 2-0 victory over the Newcastle Jets at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday.

The Reds took the lead with a 23-minute goal to Fabian Barbiero before Lucas Pantelis, in his first game back from a knee injury, all but sealed the result with his own goal in the 74th minute.

United were the better side for most of the contest but their inability to finish off some strong attacking play in the second half left the crowd of 13,585 feeling restless.

However the Jets couldn't find a reply, allowing the home side to take maximum points.

The result sees the South Australian side return to the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder but the Melbourne Victory can edge in front again if they beat Perth Glory on Sunday.

Adelaide scored the opening goal thanks to a brilliant individual effort by Barbiero.

The 24-year-old displayed a burst of speed and impressive peripheral vision to find a gap in the Jets defence. He then knocked the ball in front of himself and converted from a tight angle, on the left side, to put the home side in front.

Barbiero also set up Pantelis' second-half match-winner. He forced a turnover in the midfield and released the ball for the diminutive vice-captain whose kick took a deflection off the right hand post to cross the goal line.

United were superior in the first half with their confident passing and overlap of players seeing them control plenty of the ball.

Robbie Younis was given lone striker duties and provided a competitive but not overly polished target while Cassio and Lucas Pantelis were busy on the left side.

Paul Reid was also a key player in the midfield with his cool approach to the transitional game setting up several team-mates for a free run.

Adelaide may have had the edge but Newcastle also had its moments.

Matt Thompson got into some good positions during the half while the entire team lifted its intensity heading into break.

At the 42nd minute Jin-Hyung Song tried to get a shot a way but had his attempt smothered while a couple of minutes later the Korean player shot a pass through to Brodie Mooy only for the off-side flag to be raised.

And the Jets' best chance came heading into injury time - a cracking strike by Mark Milligan was tipped over the cross bar by Eugene Galekovic.

After a stint in the National Youth League, Valkanis returned to the senior side and took to the pitch at the start of the second half.

He didn't have too much work to do with the Reds showing intent to double their advantage.

A couple of Cassio free kicks sailed left of the target while Pantelis blazed away twice but with little effect.

Midway through the second half Jesse Pinto was brought on by Gary Van Egmond and within moments he had an impact.

He did well to get his head to a low pass but the ball slid left of the target.

However Pantelis' score broke the tension and the final minutes saw both teams attacking but without any great system.

Adelaide coach Aurelio Vidmar said the victory was a great way for his players to 'bounce back' after their disappointing performance in Melbourne on Tuesday.

"It was really important that we went out there with a positive frame of mind and with the right intentions to get the three points so I'm really pleased. Everyone dug deep and we got a really good win in the end," Vidmar said.

Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond said it was 'the same old story' for his struggling side.

"The second half we got pretty well outplayed and I thought we ran out of legs. (But) the first half we had some opportunities but we didn't take them," he said.

Valkanis, who last month announced he'll retire at the end of the season, did a lap of honour with his young family after the final whistle.

Adelaide United 2 Barbiero 23-, Pantelis 74- Newcastle Jets 0 Crowd: 13,585