Genius move lands Adelaide crucial win
Adelaide United coach Gertjan Verbeek's creative mind changed the face of the game when Robbie Fowler's Brisbane Roar spurned three second half opportunities before Riley McGree jagged the winner.
Verbeek was staring at worst a scoreless draw as Roar started growing second half legs but the Dutchman changed the chronicle with a tactical move which won the Reds all points.
After surprising critics by shifting playmaker James Troisi into a No. 6 role at kick off, Verbeek moving the Socceroos into attacking midfield after Roar got closer to breaking the deadlock was the clinching game move in a 1-0 win at Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday.
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"They (Roar) could score also in the second half so the control wasn't there anymore,'' Verbeek said.
"Then I thought we had to do something else, we had to use long balls (to break them down).
"(Substitute) Kristian (Opseth) is a better header than (Al Hassan) Toure, he is also fresh and bringing Vince (Lia off the bench) the two strikers when they had the ball I needed some creativity in front.
"So I put James more up front and Michael Maria more in defence.
"It's nice to see it is happening what I hoped for and James did the basic (lead up work) for the goal."
Fowler said Roar missing three very good second half opportunities cost his side all points.
"That's been the story of our season so far, the first half we weren't great we'll admit that,'' Fowler said.
"The way we played all season we have been fantastic, moved the ball around quick, plenty of possession, good possession, it never happened in the first half.
"In the second half we were much better but the chances we missed, again it's been the story, it really has.
"It can't keep happening really, we do a lot of finishing, we do a lot of team shape we do a lot of work in all aspects of football but you keep missing chances like the chances we had it makes football matches a little bit harder."
As Roar continued to defend close to their All Whites goalkeeper Maxime Crocombe, it allowed Troisi ample time on the ball to become the Reds No. 1 creator in the first half.
He started his attacking moves just in front of Adelaide's central defenders that stayed near the halfway line.
The Socceroo found holes between Roar lines but as some teammates failed to read his defence splitting passes, Michael Maria, Ben Halloran, Al Hassan Toure and McGree were on the same wavelength but Roar's dogged defence held firm.
Adelaide created the best chance of the first half but Maria's third minute header from a Ryan Strain cross crashed against the crossbar before the video assistant referee held up play when Toure's 12m shot from the resultant rebound crashed into the body of a Roar defender.
With VAR suspecting a handball inside the box, Iranian referee Alireza Faghani wasn't needed to see any new vision of the incident.
With Adelaide recording just one shot on target to Roar's zero in the opening 45 minutes, Verbeek's halftime address seemingly tweaked the Reds' game plan.
Troisi demanded shorter passes and more triangular movement in a bid to loosen Roar's shackles but SA's Bradden Inman was getting more of the ball as the game wore on much to the disdain of the home side.
Scott Neville forced Paul Izzo into a brilliant save in the 56th minute before a follow up from Macaulay Gillesphey was spurned.
Inman forcing another save from Izzo when he latched onto a ball which snuck between Michael Marrone's legs suggested Brisbane was now finding more space.
Roar coach Robbie Fowler became the first boss to start unloading his bench when he hooked Roy O'Donovan for Welsh youth international Aaron Holloway just after the hour before Verbeek responded when his striker Toure ended his shift for Kristian Opseth.
Verbeek then opted for a 4-4-2 using Opseth and Nikola Mileusnic as twin strikers as Maria moved to the left wing but it was Roar which continued to asked questions.
ADELAIDE UNITED 1 (Riley McGree 84m) bt BRISBANE ROAR 0 at Coopers Stadium. Crowd: 8,428. Referee: Alireza Faghani.