It was a spiteful encounter, but Adelaide United triumphed to beat Sydney FC 3-1 at Coopers Stadium on Friday night.
Goals from Fabio Ferreira, Sergio Cirio and Bruce Djite ensured the Reds would leapfrog the Sky Blues and Central Coast Mariners into fourth position on the A-League table in a match that saw five yellow cards handed out.
It was a win the home side needed after their push towards the finals had faltered in recent weeks, but their form at Coopers Stadium held true.
Adelaide were classy, clinical and showed the ability to finish that had deserted them in recent weeks.
Sydney had the early momentum, Alessandro Del Piero causing problems for the Reds defenders and forcing keeper Eugene Galekovic to keep out a long range shot.
The visiting side’s form was short-lived, however, as the game turned and the home side began to dominate.
Marcelo Carrusco showed his value to the club, orchestrating two goals and controlling the midfield play.
Carrusco set up Ferreira’s 13th minute strike with a lovely through ball that was precise enough to find the Portugese striker through a host of Sydney defenders.
Ferreira repaid such quality delivery, turning inside Sky Blues defender Sasa Ognenovski with his first tough and slotting the goal with his second.
The game soon turned ugly as Carrusco was felled by a poor studs-up challenge from Alec Urosevski, who was subsequently yellow-carded.
The incident sparked a scuffle between the two sides that delayed the game for three minutes, earning a further two bookings to Ognenovski and Adelaide’s Tarek Elrich.
Sky Blues midfielder Richard Garcia was later booked for again targeting Carrusca but the playmaker would not be denied, firing a shot from 15 metres that was blocked but netted from close range by Cirio on the rebound.
Substitute Matt Thompson pulled one back for the visitors in the 75th minute with a cracking right-footer, but Djite sealed the deal for Adelaide in the 88th minute with a sweet strike of his own.
The Reds will breathe a little easier and take confidence from the dominance they showed against Sydney into their next match against Wellington in New Zealand.
How did you rate the Reds performance? What were the main talking points for the match?