14/04/2024
Nestor Irankunda's irresistible form for Adelaide United has generated an immense amount of attention (Image: Jordan Trombetta; Adelaide United)

Nestor Irankunda's irresistible form for Adelaide United has generated an immense amount of attention (Image: Jordan Trombetta; Adelaide United)

Bayern Bound teenager, Nestory Irankunda’s first senior hattrick was enough to give Adelaide its first win at home for 2024 in a 4-1 win.

The night started very different from how it would end. Western United had chances inside the first 15 minutes, shots from Penha, Risdon and Thurgate all requiring Delianov to save.

After an 18 minutes in which Western United had the lions share of possession and chances, Clough’s run down the wing toward the goal offered United something.

Taking the ball by the halfway line, the Englishman started the next present in Nestory Irankunda’s departing tour.

Alagich’s cross into Clough in the center of the D saw a miscued shot, but the ball fell to the closing Irankunda, who nestled it into the bottom corner.

This started a red wave of chances. Mauk and Alagich both firing blocked shots at the Western goal. Clough’s longshot made Sutton work, the ball whistled past the top corner, saving Western’s blushes.

Clough’s busy night wasn’t done just yet. The Englishman going down in the box after a challenge from Garuccio, in the end both the referee and the VAR decided that no penalty was to come.

Harry Van De Saag replaced the injured Ben Warland at the 18th minute. In the 39th, he was desperately needed. Van De Saag cleared the ball of the line, following Delianov’s save after a positive Western buildup, the shot coming from Grimaldi.

Western’s captain, Joshua Risdon, was looking frustrated as the half drew to a close. An altercation with Zach Clough leading to the games first yellow.

Adelaide United had a 1-0 lead at Half Time. They had more shots (12-9) but did trail possession (41% – 59%). Both teams had chances, but it was the home team the much happier heading into the second half.

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30 seconds into the 2nd half it was Nestory Irankunda who decided to gift the United fans again.

The ball was placed into Irankunda’s path and the touch with the outside of the boot was all class. The ball moved past Sutton’s opened hand and Adelaide had a 2-0 lead.

Good things often come in three and it took just 2 minutes for Irankunda’s third goal to follow his second.

The ball was collected by Hiroshi Ibusuki in the center circle, who started the move. Mauk’s cross hit Irankunda on the head as the ball sailed past Sutton. 3-0 United.

Lopez’s slip opened the door for Western United.

Ruhs was chasing and waiting, then he pounced and took the ball from Lopez. His shot through the legs of Delianov and into the back of the gapping net. Western had a lifeline, 3-1.

In a match that quickly became heated, a sliding challenge from Nestory Irankunda on Angus Thurgate saw a yellow drawn for the United man. Sliding in to win the ball, the move was too late and Irankunda took the leg of Thurgate instead.

Adelaide United were unhappy in the 66th minute when Nestory Irankunda went down in the box. He was pushed in the box by Garuccio according to the United fans, but it went unrecognized by both the referee and VAR.

As the game ticked into the 70th minute, it was Thurgate on Alagich who went crashing in. The Western player hitting the legs of the Adelaide winger. Referee, Adam Kersey, turning again to the book.

Thurgate joined the ever growing list of players in the notebook; Risdon, Irankunda, Ruhs, and Van De Saag already seeing yellow. The game quickly going from heated to spiteful.

United would get a penalty in the 79th minute.

The ball was crossed into the United box and bounced into the arm of Imai. After a VAR review, the penalty was given. Clough stepped up and scored, burying the ball deep into the net. 4-1 United.

Into the final 10 and Irankunda was withdrawn. The warm applause of United faithful recognising the teenager.

Irankunda still has more game at Hindmarsh, but potentially the penultimate game will be the story United fans will tell of the soon-to-be Bayern Munich footballer.

It went from bad to worse to from Western as Tomoki Imai was sent off for raising an arm against Ryan Kitto. Danzaki was added quickly onto the list of yellow cards, bowling over Halloran.

The win moves United to within six points of sixth place. Meanwhile Western will stay in last, with their finals dream now just that.

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