Newcastle Jets missed a golden opportunity to consolidate its place in the Hyundai A-League’s top six on Friday, falling 1-0 to last-placed Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium.
A 61st minute penalty converted by Argentine ace Marcello Carrusca and won by former Jet Tarek Elrich proved to be the difference between the two sides on the night.
It was a fast and flowing first 45 in the city of churches.
The teams traded attacking impetus without really creating clear-cut chances to open the scoring until John Hall produced a wonder-save from Morten Nordstrand’s header in the 34th minute.
The Reds - who will begin their AFC Champions League campaign at home to Japan’s Gamba Osaka next week - started the second half the brighter of the two teams and were awarded the chance to open the scoring on the hour mark when Nigel Boogaard and Daniel Mullen were ruled to have brought down Elrich in the area.
Carrusca, who was left out of the Reds’ ACL squad earlier in the week, stepped up to send Jets custodian Jack Duncan the wrong way to make the score 1-0.
Mark Jones’s side had a chance to restore parity to the contest just three minutes later, however wing wizard Andrew Hoole was denied from close range by some desperate defending by Michael Marrone.
That was, unfortunately, as close as the jets would come until late in the game when Steven Ugarkovic sent a strike over the bar, and a great attack fizzled out after a dangerous Jason Hoffman cross ricocheted into the path of grateful Adelaide gloveman Hall.
The loss means that the Jets drop out of the Hyundai A-League’s top six with the teams around them still to play their round 20 match.
Adelaide United 1 (Carrusca 61’ (pen))
Newcastle Jets 0
Venue: Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Referee: Kurt Ams
Newcastle Jets: 2. Daniel MULLEN, 3. Jason HOFFMAN, 4. Nigel BOOGAARD (C), 6. Steven UGARKOVIC, 7. Andrew HOOLE, 8. Mateo POLJAK (28. John KOUTROUMBIS 84’), 15. Andrew NABBOUT, 18. MA Leilei (23. Devante CLUT 84’), 19. Morten NORDSTRAND (10. Wayne BROWN 72’), 20. Jack DUNCAN (Gk), 22. Lachlan JACKSON
Substitutes not used: 16. Nicholas COWBURN, 50. Tomislav ARCABA (Gk)
Yellow cards: Hoole, Boogaard, Ma, Brown
Red cards: Nil
Adelaide United: 2. Michael MARRONE, 3. Dylan MCGOWAN, 5. Taylor REGAN, 8. ISAIAS (46’ KIM Jae-sung 46’), 10. Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11. Sergio CIRIO, 17. Nikola MILEUSNIC (19. Ben GARUCCIO 77’), 18. Riley MCGREE, 20. John HALL (Gk), 21. Tarek ELRICH, 24. Jordan O’DOHERTY (13. Marc MARINO 90+4’)
Substitutes not used: 15. Ben WARLAND, 30. Daniel MARGUSH (Gk)
Yellow cards: Isaias, Cirio, McGree, Carrusca
Red cards: Nil