Sport Football Bad breaks as United book a finals berth

Bad breaks as United book a finals berth

Michael Marrone
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Defender Michael Marrone’s season is over and Tarek Elrich’s short-term future is clouded as Adelaide United count the cost of a fiery A-League draw with Melbourne Heart.

Marrone broke his right leg in Friday night’s 2-2 draw at Coopers Stadium, while his team-mate Elrich faces suspension for a headbutt.

Elrich’ was red-carded for headbutting Melbourne’s Aziz Behich in a behind-play incident during a heated encounter which included yellow cards to nine other players.

Elrich will be suspended from Adelaide’s final minor-round fixture, against Newcastle Jets on Friday night, but will also face scrutiny from match reviewers.

Marrone, signed by the Reds in February from Chinese outfit Shanghai Shenxin, will take three or four months to recover from his broken right leg, Adelaide coach Josep Gombau said.

Gombau also will await medical reports on striker Jeronimo Neumann, who appeared to injure a leg late in the match.

Adelaide booked themselves a finals berth by scraping a point courtesy of Fabio Ferreira’s last-minute equaliser against the Heart.

Gombau said making the finals was an achievement worth celebrating for the Reds, who won just one of their initial 10 games under the Spanish manager.

“We are in the finals and that is a good thing for us,” Gombau said post-match.

“We need to be happy for this, we need to enjoy this, because it’s not easy.

“If you saw us in the first 10 weeks, nobody expected us to be in the finals. And even personally, I thought this year it would be difficult to be in the finals.

“But next Monday we need to start working hard to try and win in Newcastle and then, after that, prepare for the finals the best way that we can.”