Newcastle hammer Adelaide, damage hopes of reaching A-League finals
Newcastle Jets have put a severe dent in Adelaide United's A-League finals ambitions with a 3-0 away win on Sunday.
Jets striker Roy O'Donovan, Matthew Millar and Steven Ugarkovic scored at Adelaide's Coopers Stadium to leave the Reds languishing outside the top six.
Adelaide have now leaked 15 goals in four consecutive losses which have derailed their campaign.
The seventh-placed Reds could have climbed back into the six with a win or draw.
But they were comprehensively outplayed by Newcastle, who rose to ninth on the ladder with their fifth win this season.
The Jets scored in the 41st minute with a slick passage culminating in O'Donovan's tap-in before 4,286 spectators - possibly the last crowd allowed into an A-League game this season amid the coronavirus crisis.
Adelaide's Riley McGree lost possession in midfield and Newcastle's Ugarkovic swooped, lofting a superbly weighted pass into the path of Dimi Petratos who was steaming down the right flank.
Petratos didn't break stride and, on his first touch, played a delightful square ball which passed Adelaide defenders Jordan Elsey and Michael Jakobsen, with O'Donovan perfectly placed to score from a metre out.
After taking a 1-0 lead into the halftime, the Jets blew Adelaide away with two goals in three minutes just after the resumption.
In the 51st minute, Jets stalwart Nigel Boogard sliced United's defence with a shrewd long-ball which found Millar, who duly scored with only 'keeper Paul Izzo to beat.
Three minutes later, the visitors goaled again when Ugarkovic netted the sweetest of headers from 10 metres out when getting on the end of a Robert Burns cross.
Adelaide coach Gertjan Verbeek hit the panic button 10 minutes later by making three substitutions at the same time, hooking an ineffectual Riley McGree, Nikola Mileusnic and Ryan Kitto.
Verbeek threw youngsters Mohamed Toure and Kusini Yegini into the frontline but the emerging duo couldn't change the tide.