Adelaide United has beaten arch-rivals Melbourne Victory 1-0 in front of a sell-out crowd at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night, courtesy of a Sergio van Dijk goal.
Adelaide United defeated arch-rivals Melbourne Victory 1-0 in front of a sell-out crowd at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night, courtesy of a Sergio van Dijk goal.
Van Dijk pounced on a misplaced pass from Fabio intended for Leigh Broxham on the edge of Melbourne's penalty box, before coolly finishing past Ante Covic in the 52nd minute.
Adelaide had looked very flat in the opening half, but similar to their performance against Perth Glory last week, came out firing in the second to grab an important three points against their bitter rivals.
Adelaide had the fair share of the ball and looked promising in the opening minutes, but it didn't take long before Melbourne took control of the game.
Harry Kewell led the Victory's charge being a constant threat in a striking role, particularly off the ball with his movement and hassling pressure.
The 32-year-old made Reds defender Milan Susak cough up the ball twice in the space of two minutes and almost resulted in the former Liverpool star breaking through to be open on goal.
Kewell soon started to fade however as Adelaide began to limit his influence, but Carlos Hernandez and young gun Marco Rojas remained ever present, often forcing the United defence to retreat with intelligent play.
It was Rojas who created the best chance of the first half for Victory in the 16th minute, after some neat footwork.
The 20-year-old collected a width-of-the-pitch cross from Grant Brebner before taking on two defenders, only to be fouled on the edge of area and for Kewell's resulting free-kick to be blocked.
The Reds finally broke free of Melbourne's stranglehold when Cassio sent a strong shot just wide of the post on 22 minutes.
It was only a momentary lapse for Victory who upped the tempo once more, and looked much sharper, fitter and quicker than a tiring Adelaide.
United's defence let their frustrations boil over, when a mini tangle ensued following Andy Slory's late challenge on Victory captain Adrian Leijer that saw both men yellow-carded.
Kewell had another chance to score in the 36th minute following a cheeky back heel and one-two between Hernandez and Rojas that saw the Qantas Socceroo set up with a perfect opportunity, only to scuff his shot from 10 yards.
The second half began differently as a re-invigorated Adelaide United took to the pitch, led by the other marquee signing playing in the match, Dario Vidosic.
The Reds, spearheaded by Vidosic's influence, were the team who were now pressing and looking livelier and it only took them seven minutes to break the deadlock through van Dijk's neat finish.
The goal was the catalyst for a United onslaught, as Melbourne looked to be coming undone at the back and the Reds pressed for a second.
The pressure finally took its toll on 55 minutes when Leijer was sent off after receiving his second yellow following a challenge on Vidosic.
Adelaide almost made the Victory captain pay for his recklessness from the resulting free-kick, had Vidosic not blazed over after being put through on goal.
With the luxury of the extra man the Reds took full advantage, creating two golden chances within three minutes of play but failed to punish their opponents.
Slory had the first in the 59th minute but hit a tame volley straight at Covic from point-blank range after van Dijk had intelligently headed down the ball into the path of the 29-year-old.
The roles then reversed, as Slory put through van Dijk only for the Dutchman to curl his shot into the bar from just inside the area.
Zenon Caravella and Cassio both had chances late on to put the game to bed, but both fired their shots directly at Covic.
Victory and Kewell's poor second half was summed up when the ex- Galatasaray man was booked for a bad challenge on McKain.
Adelaide United: 1 (van Dijk 52) Melbourne Victory: 0 Crowd: 14,753 at Hindmarsh Stadium