ALM Match Report: Adelaide United 4-1 Western United

Michael Ruhs Western United A-League Men

Western United endured a difficult night in the Isuzu UTE A-League Men on Good Friday, falling 4-1 to Adelaide United.

Despite a largely positive first-half display, United went into the break trailing 1-0 before things went from bad to worse in the second period.

Nestory Irankunda completed a hat-trick and despite Michael Ruhs pulling a goal back with a tidy finish, there was no comeback on the cards for Western United.

Zach Clough scored a late penalty to wrap up the result and the defeated was compounded by a straight red card for Tomoki Imai in injury time.

Western United Team News

John Aloisi named an unchanged starting XI from the draw against Melbourne Victory 15 days ago. Matt Sutton remained in goal, Ruhs led the line and Ben Garuccio lined up at left-back against his former side.

The alterations came on the bench with three new faces in reserve in Tom Heward-Belle, Connor O’Toole and young striker Jake Najdovski.

First Half

There was a positive start to the game from both teams with plenty of ambition and quality going forward at either end of the pitch.

Hiroshi Ibusuki had the first shot on target of the game for Adelaide and Irankunda nearly got on the end of a ball in the box soon after.

Daniel Penha was immediately in the thick of the attacking action for Western United and tested James Delianov with an early sighter before Angus Thurgate and Matthew Grimaldi drew good saves from the Adelaide goalkeeper soon after.

As Western United were inching further forward, Adelaide hit back at the other end to take the lead.

While there was a slice of luck about Clough’s mishit shot falling directly in his path, Irankunda left nothing about his finish to fortune with a searing drive into the bottom corner.

Ruhs fired an effort just wide immediately from the kick-off, but the opener ultimately helped Adelaide close the spaces in midfield, making it harder for Western United to break the lines.

The Green and Black did enjoy another flurry of pressure just before the break but couldn’t find the equaliser as Penha hit the crossbar directly from a corner and Delianov made one of his best saves of the night, rushing out to smother a header from Grimaldi at the top of the six-yard box.

Second Half

Western United’s positive work in the first half came undone within less than 30 seconds in the second period as Irankunda raced away from the Green and Black defence and poked the ball beyond Sutton and into the net.

That good work was then further unraveled when Irankunda completed his hat-trick two minutes later, streaming through untouched in the box to head home from close range.

In a whirlwind opening five minutes after the restart, Ibusuki nearly chipped Sutton from just in front of halfway and Ruhs went up the other end and pulled one back for the visitors.

It was a lovely break down the left and Ruhs profited from an unfortunate slip by Javi Lopez before finishing with aplomb between Delianov’s legs.

There was plenty of fire in the contest with four yellow cards in the second period and a notable coming together between Josh Risdon and Stefan Mauk.

A spell of pressure from United after pulling one back failed to bring further joy on the scoreboard and Adelaide made sure there would be no late comeback when Clough converted a penalty after Imai was penalised for a handball following a VAR review.

The night was further soured for United and for Imai when the Japanese defender was shown a straight red card in stoppage time for retaliating after a scuffle with Ryan Kitto.