Reds’ rookie scores spot in history books
IT took a 15-year-old to turn a game which was for most of the night slipping out of Adelaide United's reach.
Until teenager Mohamed Toure hit the park in the 76th minute for his second consecutive appearance Adelaide was largely second-best in a contest dominated by second-bottom Central Coast.
However, within six minutes the match was turned on its ear in a tense 2-0 win for Adelaide at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night.
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Toure instigated the first goal.
His speed and first touch caused havoc in front of the Mariners' box before the ball was diverted to George Blackwood just outside the 18-yard box.
Blackwood then scored a goal of the season contender.
He first shifted the ball to the right and drove it towards the top corner from 20m.
Mariners keeper Mark Birighitti, who was brilliant all night, could do nothing but gasp.
Six minutes later Toure scored his debut goal to become the youngest goalscorer in the A-League. Last week, Toure was the third youngest A-League player to make a debut at 15 years and 320 days, in a 2-1 loss to Brisbane Roar.
RILEY MCGREE MAGIC
In a first half dominated by the much more agile Mariners, where sharp movement and triangular plays kept the Reds tense, a moment of brilliance in the 43rd minute hardly drew a reaction from a docile 7116 crowd.
Riley McGree produced a remarkable piece of skill to bring the ball down from a 50m Jordan Elsey pass. Running towards goal, McGree instinctively knew the flight of the ball was about to go over his head.
Rather than turn his body to see where the leather was heading, he arched his neck before the ball perfectly dropped on his left boot. All this happened at full speed.
That wasn't the end of the wonderful control.
A hip swivel lost ex-Adelaide United defender Ruon Tongyik near the byline but his teammates could not complete what could have been a perfect ending to a world class play.
MAUK AT RIGHT BACK; NANU, NANU
Adelaide's injury crisis at right full back forced coach Gertjan Verbeek to try something new.
Stefan Mauk has now added another chapter to his professional CV. The 24-year-old has played in midfield centrally and on the right but never at right back according to history.
Verbeek challenged the South Australian and he adapted quickly.
He played a low risk game and had ample chances to get involved in attacking once his defensive duties were done but he only lasted 45 minutes. He was replaced because of a sore quad.
Louis D'Arrigo shifted to right back at the restart and substitute Mirko Boland played as the holding midfielder. However, D'Arrigo didn't stay at right back, he moved into midfield.
United played most of the second half without a right back as the Reds played with three in defence.
IN THROUGH THE OUTDOOR
Mohamed Toure scored a three-year scholarship contract off the back of two performances for the club's A-League side. It's an incredible story for a 15-year-old.
Mohamed had never started a match for the Reds national youth league team before Verbeek called him for first team action. He played four games for the youth team, including a 45-minute hit out, two stints of 29 minutes and one at 27 minutes.
The teenager's rapid rise to the top of Australian professional football ranks proves the elite pathway Football SA wants everyone to believe is the best, is not the only way.
Mohamed's dream run is surely inspiring thousands of children around the country and beyond. A child's football destiny is not written by an academic and set in stone - especially in this game which is like no other.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as Toure brought the Reds to life - on the pitch and in the stands - just seconds after he was introduced in the 76th minute.
ADELAIDE UNITED 2 (George Blackwood 82m, Mohamed Toure 84m)
CENTRAL COAST 0 at Hindmarsh Stadium