Match Report: Adelaide Comets 1-1 MetroStars
Comets hold on for a draw despite being down to 10 Men for 45 minutes
MetroStars were greeted by a gorgeous day at the SA Athletics Stadium as they looked to take on the Adelaide Comets in Round 1 of the 2021 season. After last year’s COVID affected season they would be hoping to reach the finals this year.
This would be the first MetroStars game that was shown on NPL TV which is free for all to watch, including replays on demand. This match was also the debut for #184 Kalilou Kamara and #185 Oliver Zafiridis who both joined from the Raiders. The pitch was in pristine condition and there was a significant crowd in attendance.
Comets were wearing their home uniform of Blue Top, Black Shorts while MetroStars were in their away strip of all White.
The game started very physically, as both teams committed several fouls in the opening minutes, a ploy to let the opposition know that they were there. The first chance came after 7 minutes for the Comets when striker, Nathan Andijanto put the ball over from close range.
In the 17th minute the Comets won their first corner, and it was dangerously delivered to the near post, which saw a deflection flash wide. The MetroStars defence had a very strong start.
A few minutes later, Dylan Smith put in a cross-cum-shot which left the Comets goalkeeper scrambling to keep it out. This was the first real chance for the away side. Centre-back Cooper O’Donnell was running around everywhere, including a huge defensive block on a shot from Scott Nagel which looked destined to hit the back of the net.
The MetroStars again had a good opportunity when Oliver Zafiridis got onto the end of a loose ball down the left wing and put in a spectacular cross. It was just cleared away in time by the Comets defence but the chances were coming.
The momentum really began to shift late in the first half as the MetroStars were putting constant pressure on the home sides defence. As the teams went into halftime Comets had 5 shots to 4, and had conceded 5 fouls compared to 10 for the MetroStars, showing how physical the game was.
30 seconds into the second half the MetroStars were on the attack again, this time through Christian Esposito. He put in a dangerous ball from a freekick but again no attackers could get a head onto it.
A minute later, attacker Nathan Andijanto was fouled, before he lashed out at a MetroStars defender. There was a long conversation between the referee and his assistant before he gave the Comets striker his marching order for Violent Conduct. This meant that the Comets were playing nearly an entire half a man down.
From the ensuring freekick the Comets managed to score a goal, entirely against the run of play. From about 25 yards out, Ryan Yates set up for a cross, however he shot at the near post and got it past shot-stopper Isaac Carmody. The Comets were now 1-nil up with 40 minutes remaining.
From there the intensity of the game significantly increased as both teams became very physical and they both were creating goal scoring chances.
In the 62nd minute, left back Oliver Zafiriridis sent in a long throw into the middle of the box, it bounced around off multiple players before Christian Esposito put the ball into the top left corner of the net and had the MetroStars back on level terms. This gave the away side huge confidence and they continued to attack. A minute later Joshua Mori flew past his defender and had a one on one chance that a covering defender managed to block, stopping a clear goal scoring chance.
In the 82nd minute the MetroStars again sent in a dangerous ball off a corner where it bobbled around before new signing Kalilou Kamara sent the ball over the top of the post from 6 yards out. This was a golden opportunity that the away side would be disappointed to miss out on.
Despite only having 10 men, the Comets didn’t park the bus, they continued to try and create chances. Cooper O’Donnell was handed the first yellow card for the season when he stopped a promising attack down the left wing.
From there there wasn’t any more chance, and after 94 minutes, the referee, Gary Mooney, blew full time, leaving the game finishing in a 1-all draw.
The Comets would be very happy that they were able to hold onto a draw despite playing a man down for 45 minutes, while the MetroStars would be disappointed they couldn’t capitalise on their opportunities. They both had 12 shots at goal, however the home side had 7 corners to 3 and also conceded 10 fouls to 21.
Next week the MetroStars will take on Cumberland United in their first home game of the season at TK Shutter Reserve. Kickoff will be at 8:15pm on Friday the 16th April, and will be preceded by the Women's NPL game against Fulham United.