Beltrame downs the Jets
  Sun 11th Feb 2007
Hyundai A-League Preliminary Final between Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets at Hindmarsh Stadium
Adelaide United 1 (Veart 57m) defeated Newcastle Jets 1 (Coveny 74m) via a penalty shootout 4-3
Source: User Submission
Adelaide United is on its way to Melbourne after two penalty saves from goalkeeper Daniel Beltrame put Adelaide through to the A-League Grand Final. Adelaide won 4-3 win on penalties after the match finished level at 1-1 after 90 minutes of normal time and 30 minutes of extra time.

13798 fans were on hand and on their feet providing an electric atmosphere that set a new benchmark for Hindmarsh Stadium.

Adelaide kicked off the game and there was little to separate the two sides in the fast paced opening ten minutes.

Adelaide strung 10 passes together before Nathan Burns turned inside and threaded a perfect pass to the feet on striker Fernando. As Fernando was heading goal wards he was crudely hacked down by Thompson. Referee Breeze awarded a free kick inches outside the box and issued Thomson with a yellow card. It was a controversial but correct decision by Breeze though some might argue Thompson deserved a red card for a cynical professional foul.

Adelaide took the free kick from a very dangerous position but Diego was unable to clear the wall with his effort.

A few minutes later Joel Griffiths pushed down the right flank before knocking in a low cross towards the feet of Milton Rodriguez. Goalkeeper Beltrame pulled off a good save to intercept the cross and push the ball to safety.

With 18 minutes on the clock Adelaide put together another well worked move starting with a clever interception from midfielder Diego. Five passes later Fernando changed direction on the edge of the box before striking a powerful drive on the turn. Newcastle goalkeeper Covic pulled off a solid save to deny Fernando.
Adelaide and Newcastle pushed and prodded searching for the first goal with the best opportunity falling to Brasilian Fernando just before the half hour mark. Travis Dodd headed a high ball into the path of Fernando. The Brasilian ran through the Newcastle defence to be one on one with goalkeeper Covic. But Fernando skied the ball over the bar with the goals at his mercy.

Fernando was not the only player who was having trouble keeping their shots out of the stands. Rodriguez followed up Fernando with several shots into the stands along with an effort from Travis Dodd.

In the 37th minute Diego picked up a deep cross outside the box. With his back to the goal he turned his defender before being almost rugby tackled to the ground. Referee Breeze should have awarded a penalty or at least a free kick outside the box when the rugby tackle was first laid on Diego by Paul Kohler. It was a blatant foul and it was the first of two very poor decisions that infuriated Adelaide coach John Kosmina.

Newcastle midfielder Stuart Musialik was a little fortunate to stay on the pitch after a terrible tackle on Adelaide youngster Nathan Burns. It was a 50-50 ball in the middle of the park but Musialik went over the top of the ball with his studs showing and collected Burns just under the knee. It was a cynical foul and a sharper referee would have shown Musialik a straight red and not the lenient yellow displayed by Breeze.

The score line remained 0-0 at half time. In the second half Adelaide kidded towards its “home end” with the home fans hoping to cheer their side into the grand final. But Newcastle had other plans and started the 2nd half very strongly putting Adelaide under pressure at the back.

Only 2 minutes into the half Mark Bridge turned on the edge of the box and fired a shot goal wards forcing a save from goalkeeper Beltrame. A minute later Tim Brown hit a powerful drive goal wards from a similar position but couldn’t get it past the Adelaide defenders. A minute later Bridge was at it again with another shot from the edge of the penalty area. Adelaide goalkeeper Beltrame would have been relieved the powerful drive was hit straight at him.

With Newcastle seeming to be on top, Adelaide struck a critical blow against the run of play. It came from another slick passing moving. Fernando dummied the ball to Burns for a 1-2. Fernando headed the return ball to the feet of veteran striker Carl Veart who took the ball on the second bounce and hammered it just inside the post. 1-0 to Adelaide in the 57th minute.

The goal stunned Newcastle and was almost proved too much for Joel Griffiths. Adelaide’s Kemp ran the ball over the Newcastle goal line at full pace with Griffiths chasing. With the ball dead, Griffiths grumpily pushed Kemp into the advertising hoardings surrounding the pitch. He was fortunate not to earn his second yellow card for the silly indiscretion.
On 60 minutes Carl Veart went close to making it 2-0 when he pounced on a pass from Fernando. Veart once again hammered his shot goal wards but this time his effort went just wide of the upright.

Newcastle slowly regained its composure though the same could not be said for referee Matthew Breeze when he harshly yellow carded Adelaide’s Matthew Kemp – a decision that would rule Kemp out of the A-League grand final. The yellow card came after Kemp and Griffiths chased a ball down the line. Kemp got to the ball first and cleared the ball to safety. The incident was not even a free kick let alone a yellow card. This was the second of the very poor decisions by Breeze that infuriated Adelaide coach John Kosmina.

With less than 30 minutes remaining Adelaide changed tactics. It opted to defend its one goal lead by falling deep into its half and putting all 11 men behind the ball. This switched the momentum of the match from Adelaide to Newcastle.

On 69 minutes veteran striker Carl Veart made way for midfielder Greg Owens. Veart was given a standing ovation from the Hindmarsh crowd. Shortly afterwards Rodriguez was substituted for Vaughan Coveny.

Newcastle went in search of an equaliser with Adelaide clearly on the back foot and focussed on defending. It didn’t take Newcastle long to punish Adelaide for its defensive tactics. Nicky Carle took on Richie Alagich and made enough space for himself to hit a low hard cross to the back post. Substitute Coveny slipped past Valkanis to slot the ball into the back of the net from only one metre out. The scores were level in the 74th minute.

Ten minutes remaining and Newcastle had a fantastic opportunity to grab their second. Griffiths hit a long ball that started a foot race between goalkeeper Beltrame and striker Coveny with the latter getting to the ball first. But Coveny’s touch took the ball wide giving Beltrame time to scamper back between the posts. Coveny propped on the goal line before knocking the ball inside the box to Bridge who cleverly dummied the ball to Carle. Beltrame came off his line to close down the angle. With only Beltrame to beat, Carle hit his shot goal wards and could only sink to his knees in dismay when Beltrame pulled off a brilliant reflex save to clip the ball over the cross bar.

Adelaide substituted Burns for Djite and Newcastle surprisingly substituted Griffiths, one of their better players, for the inexperienced Troy Hearfield

The tiring legs of Adelaide and Newcastle slugged it out in the closing minutes. Substitute Djite went closest to scoring for Adelaide when his shot took a big deflection that almost deceived goalkeeper Covic. Referee Breeze blew for full time to send the match into 30 minutes of extra time.

Within a minute of the restart Newcastle forced another good save from Adelaide’s Beltrame. Troy Hearfield made space for himself down the flank before firing a shot goal wards from an acute angle with Beltrame only able to tip the shot over the bar.

Adelaide was beginning to run out of legs. Kemp and Dodd appeared to be succumbing to cramp or injuries and had become restricted in their movements. Yet the players continued to push on with no sign of any substitution from Kosmina.

The Hindmarsh crowd seemed to sense Adelaide was running out of steam and the volume began to steadily rise inside the stadium as they urged their side onwards.

At one end of the ground Djite was proving a handful for the Newcastle defence while at the other end Mark Bridge went very close with a long range effort that just skipped wide of the upright.

Next to be hit by cramp was Adelaide’s Diego – the match was quickly becoming a war of attrition.

Ten minutes into extra time Nick Carle picked out Troy Hearfield at the back post. Carle chipped the ball over Kemp who could do little more than a mouse jump as his legs cramped up once again. Three metres out with only Beltrame to beat, Hearfield took the ball on the volley but hit a weak shot straight into the arms of a relieved Beltrame. It was a golden opportunity to snatch the game but it had been squandered.

Adelaide hit back at the other end of the park. Alagich picked up the ball out wide and crossed into the box. Djite rose above his defender and headed the ball just wide of the upright.

Less than a minute later Newcastle were back at it again through Nicky Carle. The silky midfielder held the ball up just outside the box, drawing the Adelaide defence towards. Carle cleverly flicked the ball with his heal into the path of the goal bound Bridge. Bridge strode through the Adelaide box before unleashing a powerful shot but once again it was Beltrame to the rescue with another brilliant reflex save.

Carle was at it again almost straight away when he attempted a shot from the edge of the box. Carle did not get any power on the shot but his placement was impeccable forcing Beltrame to make a fingertip save to turn the ball around the post. There was not enough time to take the resulting corner as Breeze blew for half time of extra time.

In the second half of extra time Adelaide kicked towards its home end again. The fans lifted the noise level a few more notches and before long the whole northern stand was on its feet. With every passing minute the noise level just kept rising as the rest of the stadium joined the northern stand on their feet. The noise level was reaching a crescendo never seen before at Hindmarsh Stadium.

On the field Adelaide were on the rack. They were clearly spent of energy and were now running on pure emotion and adrenaline. Travis Dodd could hardly walk yet when required he would ignore the pain and sprint down the line – you could see the pain on his face as he ran. It was gutsy behaviour that only encouraged the Adelaide fans to lift the noise level even higher.

Five minutes into the 2nd half Travis Dodd nearly lifted the stadium roof when he cut inside from the line and unleashed a shot goal wards. Covic could only palm the ball over the crossbar for a corner at the home end.

Chants of United…….United………..United……..United began to ring around the ground reminiscent of the singing at a UK Premier League match.

The minutes ticked by as Adelaide and Newcastle slugged it out on the field. Whenever Newcastle did look dangerous in the closing minutes there was one player to stop them – Angelo Costanzo.

With only a minute to go Matt Thompson got behind the Adelaide defence and cut the ball back to Nicky Carle. A tired Carle scooped a difficult shot from behind him over the bar from 6 metres out.

There was just nothing to separate these two teams. Breeze finally blew the whistle for the end of extra and now this match would be decided on a penalty shootout.

First up was Bridge for Newcastle: Shoots low right and Beltrame goes left.
Adelaide 0 Newcastle 1

Diego for Adelaide: Shoots low left and Covic goes right.
Adelaide 1 Newcastle 1

Carle for Newcastle: Shoots low right and Beltrame goes left.
Adelaide 1 Newcastle 2

Owens for Adelaide: Shoots high right and Covic goes left.
Adelaide 2 Newcastle 2

Thompson for Newcastle: Shoots low right and Beltrame goes right but ball goes underneath him.
Adelaide 2 Newcastle 3

Alagich for Adelaide: Shoots high left and Covic goes right.
Adelaide 3 Newcastle 3

Coveny for Newcastle: Shoots low right and Beltrame goes right and saves.
Adelaide 3 Newcastle 3

Aloisi for Adelaide: Shoots low left and Covic goes left but can’t reach the ball.
Adelaide 4 Newcastle 3

Musialik for Newcastle: Shoots low right and Beltrame goes right and saves. Adelaide wins through to the grand final. Adelaide 4 Newcastle 3

For the next twenty minutes there were incredible scenes at Hindmarsh Stadium as the players, the staff and the fans celebrated the win.

The atmosphere at Hindmarsh Stadium has set a new benchmark for sport in Adelaide. It surpassed anything seen at Hindmarsh Stadium. In the opinion one high profile AFL supporting radio announcer, this was the best sporting event he has ever been to in South Australia.

Unfortunately the frustration at the performance of referee Matthew Breeze boiled over for John Kosmina and he expressed some harsh words to Breeze in the heat of the moment after penalty shoot out. Kosmina will pay dearly for the outburst and unfortunately Matthew Kemp will pay dearly for Matthew Breeze by missing out on the Grand Final. While I am loath to criticise referees, one can’t help but ask questions about the performances of one referee this season. Breeze is a good referee but, using football parlance, he is out of form and is having a horror stretch.

It goes without saying that coach John Kosmina would have been pleased with the outcome. Adelaide has reached the grand final and has done it the hard way. The irony of it all though is that it has reached the grand final without winning a game – only succeeding due to a penalty shootout. But Adelaide and history will care little for that. It was a real gutsy performance by Adelaide. At times they were outgunned by Newcastle but Adelaide just kept hanging in the game and kept coming back at Newcastle.

Newcastle should stand proud in defeat. After a disastrous start to the season they have fought back to be one of the best teams in the league. They came to Adelaide and played well and, on balance, were probably the better of the two sides. If Newcastle had started the season strongly they would have taken second spot, had the double chance and probably would have been playing in the grand final. But it was no to be. They have certainly won the hearts of many fans with their attractive style of play and will be a force to reckon with in 2007.

Best for Adelaide was goalkeeper Beltrame. He kept Adelaide in the game with some fine saves and eventually pulled off the saves to win the penalty shootout. Angelo Costanzo was the pick of the on field players with another magnificent performance. He almost single-handedly kept Newcastle at bay. Diego put in another impressive performance in midfield while Alagich and Valkanis were solid at the back.

Newcastle had many solid performers. Mark Bridge was the pick of the side always looking dangerous and hungry around the penalty area. Joel Griffiths was causing a lot of problems for Adelaide down the flanks until he was surprisingly substituted. Paul Okon showed his experience and marshalling the Newcastle backlines. Nicky Carle worked hard as well as providing the occasional creative spark.

Adelaide now takes on Melbourne Victory at Telstra Dome on Sunday. Melbourne will start hot favourites and go into the match fit and sharp. Adelaide is licking its wounds and struggling with injuries. It will need another herculean effort for Adelaide to overcome the Premiers on their home turf.

Adelaide United 1 (Veart 57m) defeated Newcastle Jets 1 (Coveny 74m) via a penalty shootout 4-3
Match Statistics:
Crowd: 13798

Adelaide United Squad

Daniel Beltrame (gk)
Richie Alagich
Angelo Costanzo
Michael Valkanis
Ross Aloisi (c)
Mathew Kemp
Travis Dodd
Nathan Burns (sub Bruce Djite 82m)
Carl Veart (sub Greg Owens 69m)
Diego Walsh

Substitutes Not Used: Robbie Bajic (gk), Adam van Dommele & Kristian Rees

Coach: John Kosmina

Yellow Cards: 64m Kemp & 115m Aloisi
Red Cards: none

Newcastle Jets Squad:

Ante Covic (gk)
Milton Rodriguez (sub Vaughan Coveny 70m)
Andrew Durante
Matt Thompson
Nick Carle
Paul Okon (c)
Stuart Musialik
Joel Griffiths (sub Troy Hearfield 86m)
Mark Bridge
Paul Kohler
Tim Brown

Substitutes Not Used: Ben Kennedy (gk), Steve Eagleton & Adam D'Apuzzo

Coach: Gary van Egmond

Yellow Cards: 12m Thompson, 12m Griffiths, 43m Musialik & 58m Durante
Red Cards: none

Referee: Matthew Breeze, 3 / 10
Pitch: 9 / 10
Game: 9 / 10

Best Players:
3. Daniel Beltrame
2. Angelo Costanzo
1. Mark Bridge

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