A goal in each half was enough for Adelaide United to win its pre-season finale 2-1 over Melbourne Victory behind closed doors at AAMI Park on Thursday. Jeronimo, back from injury, scored in the first half while Tarek Elrich scored the second for the Reds. Kosta Barbarouses, a second half substitute, pulled one back late for the home side but it was too little, too late. Both sides have now completed their pre-season schedules, save intra-squad games, leading up to the season kick-offf.
Pablo Contreras stared and played 90 minutes for Melbourne but even his presence could not help the Victory avoid a mishit clearance that left Jeronimo standing alone in front of goal in the 23rd minute. The Argentine easily finished the sequence, leaving the visitors ahead despite the home side having some nice chances in the early moments. Both goalkeepers were called upon for key saves in the first half, with Nathan Coe denying a Brent McGrath header and a shot from Steven Lustica. Eugene Galekovic did his part in blocking an Archie Thompson shot after a good, cross field ball from Connor Pain.
In the second half, teenager Awer Mabil replaced Jeronimo and led to Adelaide's second goal, crossing from a narrow angle on the left across the mouth of goal where Elrich slid just past Coe to score in the 72nd minute. Late in the game, Thompson slipped a through ball to Barbarouses, who rounded substitute goalkeeper John Hall in the 83rd minute and gave the Victory its only goal. Between the goals, Mark Milligan, a second half substitute for the Victory, was forced to limp off the field with a knee injury. The club confirmed afterward, however, that his removal was precautionary with the start of the season so close.
Adelaide finish the pre-season with just one defeat against A-League opponents. They open the regular season on Sunday October 13 at home against Perth Glory at the Coopers Stadium. Apart from last weekend's defeat of Western Sydney Wanderers in Tasmania, the Victory lost every pre-season game against A-League foes. Their season begins at the Etihad Stadium with the Melbourne Derby on Saturday October 12.
AU Jeronimo 23'
AU Elrich (Mabil) 72'
MV Barbarouses (Thompson) 83'
Melbourne Victory: Coe; Contreras, Traore, Leijer (Ansell 60'), Geria; Broxham (Finkler 46'), Jeggo, Nichols (Milligan 46' / Mahazi 77'); Thompson, Pain, Troisi (Barbarouses 60')
Unused subs: Thomas, Nabbout, Stella, Makarounas
Adelaide United: Galekovic (Hall); Boogaard, McKain, Bowles, Elrich; Malik (Watson 75'), Lustica, Ferreira (Elsey 56'); McGrath (Barker-Daish 70'), Jeronimo (Mabil 50'), Isais