Adelaide United have edged Melbourne Victory 1-0 to keep in touch with the race for second place in the A-League but coach Carl Veart concedes exciting attacker Kusini Yengi’s season could be over.
The Reds snatched the lead through Craig Goodwin in the 39th minute and held on at AAMI Park to draw within three points of second-placed Sydney FC.
“We should have had at least three goals in that first half but tonight we dug in,” Veart said.
“(In the ) second half we knew it was going to be tough, we dug in and we got three points,” Veart said.
“That’s all that mattered tonight. It didn’t matter how we played football, we just needed the three points.”
Adelaide will complete the regular season with crunch back-to-back home games against Sydney and Western Sydney.
But they are likely to be without Yengi, who suffered a hamstring strain in the warm-up and was replaced by Pacifique Niyongabire.
“That could be season over for him, I’m not sure,” Veart said.
“… it’s a hamstring injury, so it’s his second one this season so it’s not great.”
Adelaide skipper Stefan Mauk was forced off in the 52nd minute with a calf issue but Veart played down the injury as one the midfielder had managed all season and expected him to continue to play through.
Juande came off 10 minutes later but Veart said his substitution was purely precautionary due to soreness.
The game’s only goal came when Goodwin played a one-two with Joshua Cavallo, skipped past Victory defenders Storm Roux and Dylan Ryan and slid a clinical finish past Matt Acton, before celebrating with Adelaide’s impressive contingent of travelling fans.
Victory were listless for much of the match but introduced youngsters Lleyton Brooks and Nishan Velupillay in the 78th minute and the pair provided an instant spark.
“They’ve got energy but more than energy, they’ve got quality and I think … they’ve got a bright future at the club,” interim coach Steve Kean said.
Victory almost snared an equaliser when Ryan hit Elvis Kamsoba’s 88th-minute cross into the side netting but instead slumped to their 17th loss of the season.
They sit 11th on 15 points and are now guaranteed to achieve their lowest A-League points tally – with last season’s 23 points Victory’s previous worst effort.
Meanwhile Kean conceded Marco Rojas (broken leg) would “struggle to get back on the park” this season while Robbie Kruse (ankle) is also unlikely to feature in Victory’s final two games against Western United and Melbourne City.