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24 Jan 2018 14:38
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Soccer

    Late penalty gives Jets A-League win

    A controversial late penalty has given second-placed Newcastle a 2-1 A-League home win over Adelaide United.

    Newcastle capitalised on a contentious late penalty to tighten their grip on second spot and surpass last season's A-League points tally, as they scored a 2-1 home win over Adelaide United.

    For the second week running, the Jets scored a late winner despite playing well below their best, especially in Saturday's first half.

    Dimi Petratos converted the 89th-minute spot-kick, awarded after his shot cannoned off Ersan Gulum and was deemed to have hit the arm of Ryan Strain.

    Referee Stephen Lucas had his decision confirmed by the VAR but it incensed the visitors, with Isaias and Vince Lia booked and assistant coach Filip Tapalovic shown a red card.

    "I don't understand the decision," Adelaide coach Marco Kurz said.

    "My team is fighting for a good result, but now they stay frustrated in the dressing room."

    He said he might contact referees boss Ben Wilson for an explanation of the match-turning decision.

    His Jets counterpart Ernie Merrick was philosophical about the decision.

    "Some you win, some you lose," Merrick said.

    The win strengthened Newcastle's hold on second spot, pushing them four points clear of Melbourne City and nine ahead of Adelaide United, who started the round in fourth.

    "Tonight was almost like a six-point game," Merrick said.

    Newcastle took the lead in the 55th minute when in-form striker Andrew Nabbout made it six goals from the past seven games.

    He rifled the the ball home from what would have been an offside position had Lia not inadvertently poked the ball into his path.

    The lead lasted just 12 minutes as Adelaide equalised through George Blackwood, who finished well from close range after a cross by Michael Marrone.

    Three minutes later, Marrone almost gave the visitors the lead but had his shot blocked by Jets goalkeeper Glen Moss.

    Nabbout's goal was one of the few clear-cut chances in the first hour in which the usually potent Jets struggled to impress in temperatures nudging 30C.

    "Our passing was very poor, we didn't have enough players up front running in behind the defenders giving a forward pass option and the only person playing the ball forward was Dimi," Merrick said.

    "I restructured things a little bit at halftime and insisted that not only do the front three get in behind, the fullbacks get forward and we started playing much better football. I think both teams did.

    "It got to the stage where I would have been happy with a draw tonight, given the way we played, but to take all three points was terrific."

    Newcastle looked more lively in the second half and maintained their record of scoring in every game this season.

    The first half produced just one shot on target, when Moss saved a shot from Nathan Konstandopoulos, and Adelaide enjoyed a slight edge in possession and territory.

    "We had a lot of young boys on the pitch, they did a great job against one of the best teams in the A-League and I compliment them," Kurz said.

    "Over the 90 minutes, a draw was the correct result."

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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