Adelaide United have snapped a three game losing streak, defeating Newcastle Jets thanks to goals from Hiroshi Ibusuki, Zac Clough and Ben Halloran – the latter thanks to a superb Nestory Irankunda assist.
United manager Carl Veart had rung the changes pre-game, recalling Ibusuki for his first start in over a month and pairing him for the first time with 18-year-old Luka Jovanovic.
The pair clicked immediately in a classic big man/little man style, with the pacy, direct dribbling of Jovanovic dovetailing well with the Japanese striker’s hold-up play. The Jets had no answer.
Newcastle coach Rob Stanton had no such joy with his attack. They had just one shot in the first half and, eventually, he yanked top scorer Apostolos Stamatelopoulos in disgust after dishing out a spray to his striker over a perceived lack of defensive effort.
The win also saw the revival of Irankunda, the Bayern-bound wunderkind, who came off the bench to help seal the game late on.
His driving run and smart pass for Halloran’s clincher were superb and reminded everyone in Coopers Stadium of his talents.
Only a late booking for diving blotted his copybook on what was marked return to form after being dropped from the starting side.
Adelaide has failed to score in their last two games, but looked likely from the off, Ibusuki opened the scoring, but his goal was all the work of Jovanovic.
The game’s standout player, the teenager broke down the left and cross for the towering striker to roll home.
United should have piled on the misery for Newcastle before half time but wasted multiple chances.
The Jets could have taken the lead before Ibusuki scored with Reno Piscopo wasting a presentable chance, but beyond that, they offered very little.
Their best period came directly after half time, with Clayton Taylor somehow bundling a cross wide at the near post and Phillip Cancar coming close from set piece.
Jovanovic then won a penalty that Clough converted to put the game beyond doubt before Irankunda and Halloran smartly combined to put gloss on the scoreline.
Newcastle did get a late consolation as another youngster, Justin Vidic, slotted beyond Joe Gauci in the United goal, but it was far too late to influence the result.