Kurz: Reds wasted chances

Adelaide United have solidified their place in the A-League top six but coach Maro Kurz felt they missed too many chances in their 2-1 win over Western Sydney.

The Reds now have a 10-point gap over seventh-placed Newcastle Jets, although they have played a game more than last season's Grand Finalists.

They bounced back from their 2-1 defeat away to Sydney FC, which was their only loss in the last six matches.

Vince Lia and Craig Goodwin netted for United, Goodwin scoring for the third game in a row.

Kurz was happy with the victory but said the game should have been killed off earlier at ANZ Stadium.

"It was a hard game against a good opponent; we always made it too hard for us because we can score earlier the third or the fourth goal," he said.

"When we score a goal we always want to score the next one. And in the second-half as well because we had a lot of big chances – that's maybe our weakness that we have too many chances and don't score enough goals."

Wanderers equalled their club record with a fifth consecutive defeat and their coach Markus Babbel admitted the hectic A-League schedule is creating problems for his squad.

Babbel had seven players unavailable through a mix of injuries, suspensions and national duties, with five of the team aged 20 or under.

The team struggled with Sydney's high temperatures and have just a four-day turnaround for the road game with Melbourne City.

"Many players have never had five games in a row, now they are playing 10 or 12 or 13," said Babbel. "Normally we have to change, but I can't, I don't have the players."

Adelaide United are 12/1 to win the Grand Final and 50/1 to win the minor premiership.

Win over Victory heartens Reds

Adelaide United have taken a lot of encouragement from their win over defending champions Melbourne Victory, says Craig Goodwin.

The Reds extended their unbeaten run to four games and now have a seven-point cushion inside the Finals Series places.

Marco Kurz's side scored their goals in a three-minute spell in the first half, Goodwin getting them off the mark and Ken Ilso adding a second as they ended Victory's nine-match undefeated streak.

Goodwin, who now has 10 goals in all competitions this season, was happy with the first-half display in particular against Victory and hopes that form carries over into their clash with last season's minor premiers Sydney FC.

"It was a good performance, very intense with the pressing obviously we were clinical," he said. "I think that's probably the thing we've lacked the most, that clinical finishing.

"The game before against Wellington we had 32 shots and no goals, so it's probably the one thing that's restricted us from picking up more points, but hopefully we can improve on that in the coming games as well."

The 27-year-old scored his goal against Victory after excellent lead-up play from Isaias and Nikola Mileusnic.

He paid tribute to Isaias, saying: "He's our captain and he's such an important player for us. He leads with his performances on the field and last night he was first-class from start to finish."

Kurz will have Vince Lia available again after suspension when the Reds take on Sydney FC on Sunday.

Three of their five wins this season have come on the road and they now face three consecutive away games before finishing January by hosting bottom side Central Coast.

Adelaide are 14/5 to win their next game against Sydney FC, who are 19/20 with the draw 13/5.

Kurz praises midfielder

Adelaide coach Marco Kurz says Nikola Mileusnic isn't in his team for his goalscoring prowess, but he was delighted to see him score both goals in their 2-2 draw against Western Sydney Wanderers.

Mileusnic helped United turn around what had been a 1-0 deficit at the break against Markus Babel's side at Hindmarsh Stadium.

He netted the equaliser from close range and then hit the target again five minutes later when he slotted through the legs of keeper Nicholas Suman.

The Reds then lost defender Jordan Elsey to a second yellow card and conceded an equaliser quickly to Bruce Kamau.

Kurz, who believed a draw was a fair reflection on the game, praised attacking midfielder Mileusnic.

"Every goal for an offensive player helps gives them confidence," he said. "After the last game he was sometimes a little bit unlucky, but he came after a long injury back.

"For us he's a very important player because he's so fast and he's a good player for a counter-attack. I'm happy because in the past he's not really a goalscorer, he prepares more goals than he scores.

"But it's good for him he played 90 minutes without any problems and it was a good game for Niko and also from us."

The Reds had failed to score in their previous two games, losing to Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City, but their point against Wanderers keeps them inside the top six.

Kurz pronounced himself happy with the endeavour of his players after they were reduced to 10 men, Elsey being shown a second yellow card for leading with his arm in an aerial challenge.

Adelaide are 14/1 to win the Grand Final and 19/10 to win their next game against Newcastle Jets, who are 7/5 with the draw 23/10.

Mileusnic stars as Adelaide draw

Adelaide United held on with 10 men to earn a 2-2 draw with Western Sydney Wanderers at Hindmarsh Stadium.

United had Jordan Elsey sent off for a second bookable offence with half-an-hour to go, when they led 2-1.

The visitors levelled within a couple of minutes of the defender's dismissal but weren't able to snatch a winner in a game played in sweltering temperatures.

Elsey's red card came after they had overturned a 1-0 half-time deficit, thanks to a double from Nikola Mileusnic.

Spaniard Oriol Riera gave Western Sydney the lead in added time at the end of the first half.

Having only just been denied a goal when keeper Paul Izzo kept out his point-blank header, Riera scored after the visitors won a penalty.

Former Adelaide player Tarek Elrich stormed into the area and was brought down by Nathan Konstandopoulos. Riera's spot-kick was expertly saved by Izzo, before the striker fired the rebound into the empty net.

It took United just three minutes of the second half to get back on level terms when Mileusnic was able to convert at the far post after Scott Galloway's low cross was deflected.

Mileusnic then grabbed a second goal seven minutes later, latching onto Isaias' pass and finishing through the legs of Nicholas Suman. Just five minutes later Elsey was shown a second yellow card for an apparent elbow on Riera.

He led with the arm in an aerial challenge with the import, which was the same offence that had earned him a caution in the first half.

The home side were still coming to terms with that decision when Wanderers levelled as Josh Risdon laid the ball off to Bruce Kamau who rifled a shot past Izzo.

Adelaide are 14/1 to win the Grand Final and 19/10 to win their next game against Newcastle Jets, who are 7/5 with the draw 23/10.

Body language concerns Kurz

Marco Kurz took some positives from the 2-0 loss to Melbourne City but hopes his Adelaide United side can avoid a third-straight defeat on Boxing Day.

The Reds are still inside the top six, with a three-point gap to seventh-placed Newcastle, but three points when they host Western Sydney next time out would give them a much-needed lift.

Kurz said one of the issues against City was that his team had allowed the first goal of the game, an own goal from Jordan Elsey, to get to them.

The Reds had started well in the opening 24 minutes and their coach had been pleased with their attacking intent to that point.

"But then we conceded a goal and stopped playing, we stopped pressing them and we didn't look comfortable in this moment," he said. "I think the body language was not good in that moment (after conceding)."

The German was pleased to see Adelaide create a number of clear-cut chances, including Craig Goodwin's header just before the interval.

"Then we came out and they scored a goal and you can defend this moment and between the 68th minute and the 77th minute I think we had two or three clear chances," added Kurz.

"The game was not good but I think we had enough chances to get a better result and City played without mistakes."

United dropped to fifth spot but now have consecutive games over the festive period against teams below them in the table – Wanderers and Newcastle.

Kurz's side have lost two of their last three games at home and have failed to score in their last two matches.

Adelaide are 12/1 to win the Grand Final and 10/11 to win their next game against Western Sydney, who are 11/4 with the draw 11/4.

Galloway rues dropped points

Goalscorer Scott Galloway was disappointed that Adelaide United could not hold on to their lead and see off Sydney FC in the opening game of the A-League season.

The Reds took the lead in first-half injury time thanks to a stunning strike from Galloway but, with 12 minutes left, that was cancelled out by Adam Le Fondre's goal.

United had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Coopers Stadium, in a game they largely controlled with high-pressing tactics.

"For me I feel like it was two points dropped for us," said Galloway. "I thought we performed really well, we were solid across the back and it was a game of very few chances but I thought we were the better team."

The goal left Sydney FC keeper Andrew Redmayne embarrassed, as he was caught off his line by Galloway.

"Goody (Craig Goodwin) laid it back to me and I looked up and saw the keeper off his line and I thought 'if I whip it to the back post' … and I hit it where I wanted it and caught him out," added Galloway.

The 23-year-old signed with United in the close season after a trial, having been released by Wellington Phoenix.

He's happy to have the chance to play under coach Marco Kurz, saying: "He's given me the confidence and he keeps telling me that I've got quality. Coming here I wanted to come to a team that was going to compete for titles and really push for spots."

Adelaide are 11/10 to win the FFA Cup. United are 21/10 to win the final in 90 minutes, with Sydney FC 13/10 and the draw 23/10.

United to face semi-pro side

Adelaide United have avoided drawing a fellow A-League side in the FFA Cup semi-finals after beating APIA Leichhardt 2-0 in Sydney.

The Reds will face Bentleigh Greens in next month's semi-finals – the third consecutive time they've been drawn against part-time opponents.

Adelaide beat NPL side APIA away from home thanks to a superb strike from Craig Goodwin and Mirko Boland's close-range header.

Goodwin was the star performer on the night in a United side showing four changes from their last cup clash with Lions FC.

There was a first start of the season for Baba Diawara, while Ben Halloran and Ken Ilso came in for their starting debuts.

Goodwin helped Adelaide control the game in the first half but they failed to make it count on the scoreboard.

Diawara twice had chances with headers, the first one going off target and the second being saved.

Skipper Isaias, on his 150th appearance for United, was also heavily involved for Marco Kurz's side.

Goodwin fired home the opener on 71 minutes after collecting the ball from Jordan Elsey.

APIA threatened an equaliser but Adelaide keeper Paul Izzo's arm kept out a shot from Tasuku Sekiya.

Isaias made his biggest impact of the night 10 minutes from time, finding the head of Boland with his free-kick for a goal that booked their place against the only semi-pro side left in the cup.

Bentleigh Greens beat Heidelberg United 1-0 in the other remaining quarter-final at Kingston Heath and will now host Adelaide at the same venue in the 5th October semi-final.

Left-back Jacob Alexander scored a curling winner with just five minutes remaining.

Heidelberg striker and key man Tom Cahill hit the bar in the first half.

The other semi-final will be between A-League rivals Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC at Panthers Stadium on 6th October.

Adelaide United are 14/1 to win the A-League Grand Final and 17/10 to win their first game of the league season against Sydney FC, who are 6/4 with the draw 12/5.

Reds sign Slovenian forward

Adelaide United have signed Slovenian striker Dzengis Cavusevic for the rest of the A-League season.

The 30-year-old was available as a free agent, having left FZ Zurich in December.

Cavusevic started his career in Slovenia with Domzale before moving to Swiss side Wil 1900, and then onto St Gallen two years later.

His stint with St Gallen yielded 13 goals in 85 games, and he netted six times in 32 appearances for FC Zurich before his deal was cancelled by mutual consent.

Cavusevic has played twice for Slovenia, his most recent appearance coming in 2014.

Coach Marco Kurz believes the forward will suit the fourth-placed Reds well, saying: "Dzengis will bring a lot of experience from Europe to our team and this will be important as we get closer to the finals.

"He is a very strong player and he is a hard worker, which I am sure will be a very good fit for our team."

Cavusevic said he'd come to United to win games and help the team and would give 100 per cent effort.

Meanwhile, Melbourne Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas has declared himself fit to play in Friday's meeting with Brisbane Roar.

Thomas was knocked out after a nasty head clash with Newcastle Jets' Andrew Nabbout last weekend but was cleared of any serious injury after being assessed in hospital.

He said he was certain he was fit to take on the Roar, where Kevin Muscat's side will aim to stop the rot after consecutive defeats.

"We get to a point where we win two or three on the trot and you think 'here we go, we're on the move again' and then in the last two weeks we've had two losses," added the keeper. "We continue to work hard during the week and we need to make sure we turn up on Friday."

Melbourne Victory are 9/1 to win the Grand Final and 4/6 to win their next game against Brisbane, who are 15/4 with the draw 16/5.

Mileusnic praises Kurz’s guidance

Nikola Mileusnic says coach Marco Kurz has played a big part in his development into a key contributor for Adelaide United this season.

The 24-year-old only made seven starts last season in what was a difficult campaign for the Reds, who finished next to bottom.

Things are different now as he's blossomed into a key player in the side, who moved back into the top four at the weekend when they beat Perth Glory 2-1.

Mileusnic has now netted six goals in all competitions this season, accumulating a further four assists.

It's only his second year as a professional and he's keeping his feet on the ground, having already once suffered the disappointment of being released by United as a junior when Josep Gombau was in charge of the club.

He believes he has made significant improvements, in part down to the guidance and coaching he's had from Kurz.

"I think this season I've had a much stronger season than last season because I've been here since the beginning," said the attacking midfielder. "And I've gotten used to it and the boys have helped me so much and (Marco) Kurz as well, he's played a massive part in my development.

"I think that if I can get my finishing, my final third, my final ball more consistent I've got a better chance of succeeding in the A-League."

Mileusnic scored the winner against Perth, which was set up by returning skipper Isaias.

He was brilliantly picked out by the Spaniard's long throughball before emphatically firing past keeper Liam Reddy.

"They're the sort of goals and runs you want to receive when you are a winger and it's fantastic to have players like Isa that can do those things and help you out as well," he said.

Adelaide are 14/1 to win the Grand Final and 17/20 to win their next game against Central Coast, who are 16/5 with the draw 5/2.

Blackwood: Clean sheet important

Adelaide United's response to their biggest defeat of the season has left striker George Blackwood in a positive mood.

The Reds needed to get back to winning ways after crashing 5-0 away to Melbourne City in round 17, and the trip to Wellington Phoenix is never an easy one.

But their 1-0 victory, courtesy of Blackwood's 33rd-minute goal, has left them handily placed to go on and secure a Finals Series place.

Marco Kurz's side now have back-to-back home games against Perth and Central Coast, who are both outside the top six, and a win against the Glory this weekend could give them a nine-point cushion inside the Finals Series places with eight games left.

The win at Westpac Stadium ended a three-match winless streak and consolidated fifth spot in the table.

The Reds are right in the hunt for a top-four finish, having closed the gap on fourth-placed Melbourne Victory to just one point.

Blackwood said: "It's always a tough place to play in Wellington and we are really happy we came away with the three points. I thought it was a good team effort in the end and we did well."

The 20-year-old added: "I think the most important thing was to bounce back from the 5-0 loss. To keep a clean sheet was really, really good and obviously to get a goal in the first-half helped us a lot as well."

Former Sydney FC striker Blackwood, who has scored four goals in his last six appearances, says Perth will be a tough prospect as they're coming off a 3-1 win over Western Sydney.

He added: "They'll come out all guns blazing, they're a really attacking side. But I think we'll be able to counter that and hopefully we can score a lot of goals and keep another clean sheet."

Adelaide are 16/1 to win the Grand Final and 3/4 to win their next game against Perth, who are 10/3 with the draw 3/1.