Ahead of the South Australian side’s first ever home Grand Final, Fiasco Sports looks back at the lows and highs of Adelaide United’s incredible campaign.
5. Perth Glory vs Adelaide United (3-1) – 25 October 2015
Coming off the back of two draws against Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers, Adelaide was expected to win against Perth Glory.
The Western Australian side was recovering from a mass exodus after breaching the salary cap, and as such hopes were not high for the men in purple.
Glory coach Kenny Lowe’s men had also come off the back of two successive defeats, giving fans a reason to believe Adelaide would easily win.
The results spoke otherwise: Glory punished Adelaide with goals from Sidnei Sciola, Guyon Fernandez and a magnificent Diego Castro.
Adelaide’s sole reply came from an own goal courtesy of Diogo Ferreira; meaning the boys in Red would fail to score a goal in the opening three rounds.
Questions were raised of Bruce Djite, whose scoreless drought in the league dated all the way back to a Western Sydney encounter in February 2015.
It would be a telling sign of a horror stint that would continue for over another month.
4. Adelaide United vs Melbourne City (2-4) – 5 November 2015
When City’s Bruno Fornaroli gathered momentum towards the backend of the season, his team’s effort in round five provided numerous highlights for the end of season showreel.
Proceedings kicked off with a goal from Erik Paartalu after an Aaron Mooy corner, though it was the latter’s thunderous strike that stole headlines.
The Socceroo regular danced just inside the box before unleashing power that had the ball dancing between the crossbar and the back of the net.
Fornaroli also managed a brace on his way to winning the Golden Boot, with a memorable dance inside the box and chip over interim goalkeeper John Hall.
Whilst Melbourne City were poetry in motion, questions were raised over a very static Adelaide United defence, with critics wondering why the back four were unable to cope.
3. Adelaide United vs Sydney FC (2-1) – 11 December 2015
Adelaide United had a week earlier secured their first victory of the season with a 1-0 effort over Perth Glory, but the game against Sydney FC is recognised as the game they turned the season around.
Though assisted by a 10 man opponent, the game went down to the 90+4 minute when Dylan McGowan was fouled in the offensive box, and Marcelo Carrusca converted the penalty.
Prior to that, Alex Gersbach had been sent off for a cynical challenge on James Jeggo, who later later thundered the ball from outside the box to open Adelaide’s account.
Filip Holosko would later respond, but the Carrusca penalty would send a desperate Coopers Stadium crowd into raptures.
It would also be a man of the match performance for Jeggo, who left mid-season to join Austrian outfit Sturm Graz.
But the lasting image of the night would be Adelaide players’ wildly celebrating with fans on the sideline – indicative of how despite the horror run, ‘the people’s team’ was still Unified.
2. Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United (0-1) – 19 February 2016
Most of Adelaide’s 11 game unbeaten streak between December and the Victory game came off the back of wins against bottom five opponents.
Having capitalised over the likes of Perth, Newcastle and Sydney, a win over an out-of-form Brisbane Roar was the only title challenging side during that run.
To really prove the nay-sayers wrong, a win would be required over Adelaide’s arch-nemesis Melbourne Victory.
With United being unable to secure the result in Aami Park since 2011, the odds were tipped in Victory’s favour.
But individual brilliance from Craig Goodwin won the game from Adelaide, as the potential Socceroo winger looked lively throughout the encounter.
A surging run down the middle of the park was met with a concussion-inducing tackle by Daniel Georgievski, though advantage was played.
The ball was then favourably lobbed over to Bruce Kamau by Stefan Mauk in the box, whose deflected strike grabbed a 90th minute winner for United.
It would define a season where United fans had been long-suffering for results, to finally receive their just rewards.
1. Adelaide United v Melbourne City (2-0) – 8 April 2016
Last night’s triumphant Semi-final win over the Victorian side is just trumped by the final game of the season, when the premiership was won.
It was also the game where Adelaide figured out how to nullify the Mooy-Novillo-Fornaroli trio.
Knowing nothing less than a win would suffice, the genius of Adelaide coach Guillermo Amor was how he adapted to the game.
Rather than predecessor Josep Gombau’s stubborn insistence to maintain possession at all costs, Amor had at times been ready to surrender the ball.
But the Adelaide defence didn’t even need to pepper blows from City, as they naturally chocked off space between their rival’s attacking forces.
Adelaide would surprise City initially with a dipping free kick from Isaias, which found the bottom right corner of the net.
A challenge by Thomas Sorensen on Stefan Mauk then also allowed Bruce Djite to dispatch a penalty and make it 2-0.
But most telling of Adelaide’s hunger to win the title was a fiery half time feud ignited from a dispute between Isaias and Fornaroli.
Mauk himself was in the thick of it, displaying commitment as he made his presence known throughout the encounter.
The former City midfielder proved to be an inspired acquisition, and the perfect blend of Jeggo’s more defensive role, and Carrusca’s attacking flair.
The link between the defensive and offensive midfield had been found in the player, and Amor’s men would not look back.
A day later they won the Premier’s plate by a point when Brisbane Roar were held scoreless.
In a week’s time they’ll face either Western Sydney Wanderers or Brisbane Roar in a first ever Grand Final at the Adelaide Oval.
Do you believe Adelaide have what it takes to win the championship?
Let us know in the comments.
Written by Daniel Kuberek @kuubeey