United go top

Adelaide United has brushed aside the potential after-effects of jetlag and AFC euphoria by posting a sensational come-from-behind 2-1 triumph over Perth Glory at Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday.

Adelaide United has brushed aside the potential after-effects of jetlag and AFC euphoria by posting a sensational come-from-behind 2-1 triumph over Perth Glory at Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday.

After a scoreless first half, Perth came out running after half-time and looked like coming home with the win following a goal to Nikita Rukavytsa in the 55th minute, who found the back of the net under the body of Reds goalie Mark Birighitti from close range.

But the Reds refused to surrender. From the brink, two goals in two minutes to Alemao (80th minute) and Travis Dodd (82nd minute) respectively gave the home side a courageous victory.

Despite the two sides' respective standings on the Hyundai A-League ladder, the fixture always had danger written all over it for the United squad, which arrived back in Australia just over 24 hours before the clash following its AFC semi-final clash with Bunyodkor in Uzbekistan.

But United delved into its famed well of reserves to triumph and ensured its eyes remained firmly on the task at hand despite conceding the opening goal.

The Reds had slightly more of the play early but neither side could seize the initiative during what was an evenly matched and scrappy scoreless first half, the Glory's much-maligned defence proving water-tight.

In the fifth minute, Kristian Sarkies had a golden opportunity to give the home side an early buffer with a free kick 25m out directly in front. His shot looked good but was saved by a diving Tando Velaphi.

Sarkies had another chance in the 20th minute when he was superbly set up by Alemao with a terrific ball but the 22-year-old could not quite make enough contact and the ball went down the side of the goal.

Glory captain Jamie Coyne had Perth's real first chance 25 minutes in, but his sharp attempt was well errant.

Alameo returned fire for Adelaide shortly after, but the Brazilian's attempt 20m out from a standing start, though beautifully hit, flew just left.

United had a great opportunity to jump ahead in the 40th minute when Scott Jamieson's superb swinging left-foot corner kick cruised past intended target Rob Cornthwaite and Perth goalie Velaphi and towards a diving Michael Valkanis, who couldn't quite connect on the header.

Perth came out full of verve after the interval. Jamie Coyne's attempt from 25m out smacked into the bottom of the left-hand post before Rukavytsa's goal in the 55th minute silenced the home crowd.

Rukavytsa's strike spurred United on. Diego looked dangerous every time he got near the ball and he was instrumental in a five-minute burst from the 70-minute mark in which the Reds peppered their goal but couldn't convert.

In the 78th minute, Adelaide had its best chance to equalise when Robert Younis, only just subbed on, crossed to Cassio, who met the ball mid-air but his header just missed to the right.

Two minutes later, Younis crossed to Alemao, who headed it into the back of the net to even it up at one-apiece.

Then in the 82nd minute, Adelaide, riding its ever-expanding wave of momentum, forced its way ahead when Lucas Pantelis was tripped in the box by Coyne, earning the penalty, which Dodd took and coolly converted.

Adrian Trinidad earned a free kick in injury-time after being felled by Dodd but the Reds remained firm and clung on for a spirited win.

Adelaide coach Aurelio Vidmar was relieved man at the end of the contest.

"Throughout the first half I felt we were in total control," he said.

"But we just needed that bit of urgency to take the next step and maybe that goal that we conceded helped us lift and turn up the intensity that last 10 or 15 minutes, and at the end of the day the result was very fair."

Perth coach David Mitchell was left with mixed feelings after the match.

"We were disappointed in the second half," he said.

"I was proud of the way the players played. We were very hard to break down and we went at Adelaide."

"OK, they had a few players missing, they've been on a long jaunt, they've got good players, they're a good club, a good team, but we went at them and thought we should have got something out of the game today."

Match Details

Adelaide United 2 (Alemao 80, Dodd 82p) Perth Glory 1 (Rukavytsa 55) Crowd: 10,126 @ Hindmarsh Stadium, 26/10/08