Arzani’s attacking clinic leads Macarthur FC to a 2-0 victory over Adelaide United at Campbelltown Stadium.
Following last week’s 0-0 draw with the Brisbane Roar, Macarthur was eager to get on the score sheet early.
Within the opening six minutes, Jonathan Aspropotamitis got on the end of a well-placed Daniel Arzani free-kick, but the centreback’s header was saved by a diving Joe Gauci.
Sadly for the Bulls, captain and talisman Ulises Davila went down with an apparent hamstring injury shortly after, forcing the Macarthur bench into action early.
Adelaide began capitalising on Davila’s absence as Louis D’Arrigo’s powerful shot caused Filip Kurto to parry the ball into a dangerous area.
Reds forward George Blackwood followed up the loose ball, but his strike sailed over the goals.
Continuing his side’s momentum, Craig Goodwin broke free of the Bulls defence, giving Blackwood another scoring opportunity.
To the relief of Macarthur supporters, Blackwood’s shot inside the box went directly to Kurto, and the teams remained deadlocked 0-0.
Moments later, Daniel Da Silva’s tackle in midfield opened the play and gave Arzani a clear chance on goal.
The dangerous midfielder made good on his golden opportunity, scoring his first league goal for Macarthur and putting his side up 1-0 in the 27th minute.
United came close to tying the game on the cusp of half-time, but Lachlan Barr got ruled offside, denying the Reds an equaliser.
To open the second half, Adelaide was denied yet another goal when Hiroshi Ibusuki’s header got called back due to a foul on his opposing defender.
Ibusuki came inches away from scoring following the foul but, his volley from close range flew over the crossbar and out of danger.
Despite Adelaide’s continued pressure, Arzani’s brilliant solo run and cross allowed Lachie Rose to score a tap-in inside the box, giving the home side a 2-0 lead at the 57th-minute mark.
Moments later, Arzani looked to impact the scoreboard for the third time when his long-range free-kick rattled the crossbar and went back into play.
Aspropotamitis nearly put the game to rest after a deflected corner fell to his feet in a promising position, but his attempted shot got cleared out of United’s defence.
Unfortunately for Adelaide, it was not third time lucky as Ben Warland’s goal was overturned for another offside ruling.
Adelaide striker Asad Kasumovic had a late chance to halve the deficit, but his header went wide, and Macarthur claimed an impressive 2-0 victory at home.
Davila in doubt
Macarthur will be hoping that their marquee man Ulises Davila’s hamstring injury heals soon after being subbed off early into Sunday’s clash.
An Australia Cup-winning captain and Johnny Warren Medalist, Davila has been prolific since joining the Bulls from Wellington.
The Mexican midfielder scored seven goals and passed off two assists during his first season in Macarthur.
If Davila cannot return from injury soon, the Bulls’ midfield depth will get tested in the coming weeks.
Amazing Arzani steals the show
Daniel Arzani was outstanding for the Bulls on Sunday afternoon. The promising Socceroo scored his first league goal and assist.
The talented midfielder nearly added to his goal tally with a powerful long-range free-kick but was narrowly denied by the crossbar.
His ability to remain composed in front of goals and dribble past multiple defenders will give Macarthur and Socceroo fans lots to look forward to as the season continues.
Bulls keep clutch Reds at bay
Over the past two years, Adelaide has earned a reputation for being stoppage time specialists, but the Bulls held firm and kept United from mounting a comeback.
Although Adelaide created some excellent opportunities throughout the game, Macarthur’s back four and goalkeeper Filip Kurto nullified United’s attacking pressure to earn their second consecutive clean sheet to start the campaign.
Despite Aleksandar Susnjar and Mario Williams being sidelined, the Macarthur defence has displayed its depth, giving fans a glimpse of their exciting potential this season.
Macarthur FC: 2 (Arzani 27m, Rose 57m)
Adelaide United: 0