Carrusca shoulders blame for Adelaide's night to forget

A distraught Marcelo Carrusca owned up to his share of the responsibility after Adelaide United were bundled out of the 2016 AFC Champions League by China's Shandong Luneng.


Marcelo Carrusca goes past Jucilei da Silva Source: Getty Images

At the end of a thrilling contest that ebbed and flowed from start to finish, Adelaide's dream of taking part in Asian football's blue riband club event was crushed after a 2-1 defeat in a playoff at Coopers Stadium.

Two goals in the first half gave Shandong a deserved win, especially since they were forced to play with 10 men for the last 21 minutes after Yongpo Wang was sent off for two bookable offences.

The Reds had their chances against a tiring side that was playing only its second competitive match of the season - Carrusca even missed a penalty in the second half - but they paid the price for erratic finishing.

Winger Sergio Cirio pulled a goal back after 89 minutes but it was a case of too little too late.

"We are very disappointed because we had high hopes of playing in this competition which was important for us but we did not have a great night, especially me," Carrusca conceded later.

"We could not achieve this important target.

"I took the responsibility for the penalty but I did not have luck. I did not shoot well and I missed the goal."

Carrusca said he thought Adelaide lost the match in the first half because they allowed Shandong too much possession after which it was a struggle to break down the visitors' strong defence in which centre-half Gil excelled.

The Reds threw everything at the team led by former Brazil coach Mano Menezes who admitted later that he was deeply concerned about the prospect of the match going into extra time, which could have been "fatal".

"We tried hard but we did not have enough ball in the first half and we did not create too many scoring chances," Carrusca explained.

"On the other hand they had top players up front like Diego Tardelli and Walter Montillo who need only one opportunity (to score).

"We tried everything till the end but guys like Montillo who are on big money are just on another level."

Carrusca, who was not at his best despite being involved in many moves, said Adelaide needed to put the painful defeat behind them and concentrate on the rest of the A-League season.

"Tomorrow we will think ahead and forget all about what happened tonight," he said.

"It was a kick in the guts but there is nothing we can do about it now. It was one game, one final and we lost it."

Coach Guillermo Amor said he saw the narrow loss as a missed opportunity to beat a big player on the Asian scene.

"We had our opportunities and this is a difficult moment for us," the Spaniard said.

"We played well in the second half but in such cases it is often the small details that decide such 'finals' and that is what happened today."

Amor also took a swipe at Shandong's stalling tactics that stopped Adelaide from building momentum particularly in the second half when the visitors had to survive a veritable siege.

Adelaide attacked incessantly but were often thwarted by unnecessary stoppages as several Shandong players rolled on the ground at every opportunity and others took ages to walk off the field after being replaced.

"The referee gave six minutes of injury-time but I do not think that was enough because their players kept falling over complaining of 'injuries'," he said.

"The stretcher came out a few times and this did not help my players who had to wait on the pitch for several plays to be attended to."

Australia will be represented by Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC in the competition proper that kicks off on 23 February.

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4 min read
Published 10 February 2016 at 1:31am
By Philip Micallef
Source: SBS