Newcastle’s lean run in Adelaide continued in a frustrating 1-0 loss at Coopers Stadium on Friday night.
Stand-in skipper Marcelo Carrusca scored Adelaide’s goal in the 60th minute from a penalty, won by former long-serving Jets winger Tarek Elrich. Elrich weaved his way into the box and, after contact with Newcastle defenders Daniel Mullen and Nigel Boogaard, referee Kurt Arms had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Carrusca placed his shot high and to the left, as Jets keeper Jack Duncan dived the other way.
The result was a costly setback for the Jets, who could surrender their top-six position over the weekend to any of Western Sydney, Wellington or Central Coast.
Adding to Newcastle’s woes, Jets winger Ma Leilei collected his fifth yellow card of the season, for a shocking challenge on Korean import Kim Jae-sung, and will be suspended for Sunday week's derby clash with the Mariners.
Leilei was soon on the receiving end of an equally dodgy tackle by Riley McGree, which sparked a melee involving a host of players from both teams.
The Jets had not scored in their previous four games on Adelaide’s home turf. Their last goal in the South Australian capital was in a 2-1 win in November, 2013 – or 488 minutes of game time ago. Their past five games in Adelaide have produced three 1-0 defeats, a club-record 7-0 hammering, and a scoreless draw.
Adelaide, thrashed 5-0 at home by Perth last week, appealed unsuccessfully for a penalty in the third minute, after McGree tangled with Boogaard in the box.
Duncan’s opposite number, John Hall, performed heroics in the 35th minute when he leapt backwards to tip a looping Morten Nordstrand header over the crossbar, only to crash head-first into the post.
There was a bizarre incident in the 54th minute when Adelaide’s Sergio Cirio handled the ball, apparently deliberately, in an unsuccessful attempt to tap it into the goal.
He received a yellow card for his dubious reflex action.
It was only the third win this season for defending champions Adelaide, who remain last by five points.
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