Another embarrassing thrashing of Adelaide United in a finals series, another coach’s outburst. No evil forces conspiring, just the city of Adelaide, a “piss-ant” according to Aurelio Vidmar.
After Vidmar’s hissy-fit, it’s hard to see how Adelaide are going to regroup for their semi-final against the Queensland Roar, who put the Central Coast Mariners away 4-1 on aggregate.
But, to think back to Saturday night. The biggest question mark before the game was what part Carlos Hernández would play. I’d anticipated a second-half appearance from the Costa Rican, but Ernie Merrick had different plans. Within ten minutes it paid dividends, Hernández threading a ball through to Archie Thompson to set up the first goal. Fifteen minutes later, Carlos got his own chance and fired it into the roof of the Adelaide goal. 2-0, 30 minutes gone, game over.
Hernández then set up two more, first for Danny Allsopp, then for Tom Pondeljak in the second half (what a fine volley from Tommy P that was). After years of being compared to his predecessor, Fred, Hernández pulled off a display on Saturday night that was on par with Fred’s Grand Final performance. Ernie Merrick, Gary Cole, et al.: Please do everything within your power to retain Carlos.
This was no one-man show, of course. Archie, Allsopp and Pondeljak all had great games going forward, while Roddy Vargas in his new hair-cut kept the backline solid. Kevin Muscat has given two outstanding performances in the finals this year. Michael Theoklitos had little to do for most of the 90 minutes but pulled off two phenomenal saves to keep a clean sheet.
In case you missed the game, or to relive the glory, you can watch it on YouTube here.