Adelaide United scored three goals in the first half as they cruised to a comfortable victory over Wellington Phoenix
|By CHRISTIAN MAMMONE
A dazzling display from Argentine sensation Marcelo Carrusca has helped Adelaide United to a 3-1 victory over Wellington Phoenix at Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday.
Carrusca's purple patch of form continued as the 29-year-old midfield star had a hand in each of his team's goals, scoring two and assisting for the third.
The creative genius could not be contained and scored a five-minute brace in the opening half with the first coming courtesy of a 25-yard free-kick.
The former Galatasaray attacker doubled his account with another scorching finish before dinking a ball over the top of Wellington's back four to set up Fabio Ferreira for his third goal of the season.
Dani Sanchez scored a consolation for Wellington, but the visitors were left to rue a disallowed goal at 2-0 down, which replays suggested should have stood and a missed penalty deep in added time that saw United captain Eugene Galekovic make an incredible double save to deny Tyler Boyd a certain goal.
Adelaide's eighth win of the season maintains the pressure on Central Coast at the top who sit just one point above United on the A-League table.
Before Carrusca tore apart the Phoenix, the Reds had a nervous wait prior to kick-off on the fitness of Galekovic who looked to be limping during the warm up before leaving the ground.
Galekovic took to the field though and was tested immediately when Wellington target man Stein Huysegems flashed a header over the bar in the opening minute.
The attacking flair of Carrusca and Ferreira soon began to cause panic in front of the Phoenix's rear-guard as the pair found plenty of space to showcase their magic.
The overseas duo had back-to-back chances in the sixth minute after intelligent movement and neat passages of play, but neither could test Wellington goalkeeper Mark Paston.
Carrusca made his next opportunity count when he beat Paston on 19 minutes with a dipping free-kick.
The Argentine delivered a teasing ball that glided dangerously low, even skimming past the head of team-mate Osama Malik, to drop into the far corner of the net.
The visitors could not close down and track Carrusca's clever movement, and paid the price again five minutes later when he was allowed to charge down the right wing unmarked.
Reds striker Bruce Djite held the ball up with strength before spotting Carrusca and spraying a pass out wide.
Carrusca pressed the Wellington defence and shifted the ball onto his left as he was given time to strike sweetly from the edge of the area into the bottom left corner for his third goal in two matches.
Wellington struck back immediately via Huysegems but the goal was disallowed.
Paul Ifill drove a cross-cum-shot across the face of goal that Huysegems nudged home, however the linesman raised his flag, despite the Belgian forward seeming to have made his run from an onside position.
The first half was drawing to a close but Carrusca still had time to torture Wellington once more when he set up Ferreira with a right-footed chip from the middle of the park to beat the offside trap and send the Portuguese winger clear.
Ferreira narrowed in from a tight angle and dispatched a shot that glanced under a sliding Ben Sigmund and Paston.
Louis Fenton should have reduced the deficit for the away side in the 62nd minute after turning Reds defender Iain Fyfe inside out, but the winger dragged his shot wide with only Galekovic to beat.
Sanchez eventually pegged a goal back for the Phoenix 10 minutes from time when Boyd cut the ball back to the Spanish native who took two bites of the cherry before beating Galekovic.
Boyd was unlucky not to add a second Wellington when his penalty was saved by Galekovic after Nigel Boogaard had been fouled in the area.
Galekovic flung full stretch to his right to stop the spot-kick before pouncing back to his feet to miraculously deny Boyd a second time.