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Main » 2013 » February » 24 » Valkanis pleased with Adelaide spirit

Valkanis pleased with Adelaide spirit

Adelaide coach Michael Valkanis praised his side's character as they earned a hard-fought 2-2 draw against Wellington Phoenix.
Adelaide were reduced to 10 men after midfielder Jon McKain was sent off for his second bookable offence in the 69th minute and the Reds saw a 2-1 lead disappear when Corey Gameiro fired home the Phoenix's equaliser 10 minutes from time.

The point lifted Adelaide to third in the table, on goal difference, but more importantly it ended a six-game losing run away from home.

Valkanis admitted the match had been a rollercoaster ride. They looked comfortably in control of the game for the opening 30 minutes with the highlight being a superbly taken goal by Tomi Juric in his first start for the club.

But a goalkeeping blunder by Eugene Galekovic gifted Jeremy Brockie his 12th goal of the season just after the half-hour mark before a Marcelo Carrusca gem restored the visitors' lead.

After half-time the momentum swung the Phoenix's way and it was only some excellent saves by Galekovic in the closing minutes that prevented a seventh straight defeat on the road.

"I think things changed for us when we received the red card and Jon McKain came off. It made it very difficult for us," said Valkanis.

"But the boys responded and showed attitude and commitment to getting a result and working very hard for one another.

"It's something probably previously we would have dropped the points but we kept at it right till the end even with five minutes of extra time.

"It was one of those games that we can build on in terms of the football that we played in the first 30 minutes. We need to make that 45 then 60. Playing better football for longer periods of time.

"But also in terms of building on the commitment and the attitude they showed today. It was completely the opposite of what we did last week in Sydney which was not a very good performance.

"We got a good result. I've played here in Wellington and it's never easy to get a result here. To do it with 10 men was a good result in the end."

Valkanis steered clear of criticising referee Tim McGilchrist for McKain's sending off. 

The yellow card for the clash with Vince Lia seemed harsh as both were going for the ball and McKain had virtually no chance of pulling out and avoiding contact with his former Phoenix team-mate.

"Unfortunately for Jon he'd got a yellow card early on (for a foul on Andrew Durante) and it always makes it a little bit harder for defenders or defensive midfielders when they get a card early on," said the Reds boss.

"To me at the time it looked like it was a 50-50. It was a big clash but I'll have to have a look at it."

Valkanis was more than happy to talk about his young striker Juric however.

The 21-year-old has had a bright start to his Adelaide career with two goals in two games.

"Tomi has got a very good character. He's fitted in amongst the group like he's been there for years," said Valkanis.

"The boys have accepted him within the group because he is a good character. He's a winner. 

"He worked very hard today. He got himself a goal again which is fantastic for a striker. 

"He's an interesting character because he always believes he can improve and do better and that's the sort of mentality we want at the club."
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