Can Adelaide win the title without a top-line striker?

Guillermo Amor’s team keep on winning but history is against them claiming the Reds’ maiden Hyundai A-League Championship.

Despite remaining undefeated in 12 games, there still remain doubts about Adelaide United’s title credentials due to their lack of a genuine goal-scorer.

Bruce Kamau’s deflected strike in the 90th minute saw Adelaide snatch a 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory on Friday night – it was only the visitors third shot on target for the match.

MATCH REPORT: Kamau fires Reds to win over Victory

After failing to win their opening eight games, Adelaide and their coach Guillermo Amor deserve credit for turning their season around, with this win taking them within two points of the top of the table.

But history is against Adelaide if they think they can win their maiden A-League championship without a top-line striker.

Marcelo Carrusca (5 goals) is Adelaide’s leading scorer this season, with Craig Goodwin, Pablo Sanchez and Sergio Cirio all having provided four in 2015/16.

Adelaide’s centre-forward against Victory – Bruce Djite – has only managed three goals in 17 games.

In the past five A-League seasons, the champions have all had at least one player score 10 or more goals, and lacking such a marksman will almost certainly cost the Reds by the end of the campaign.

This weakness should have been identified before the season began too, as Adelaide haven’t had a player reach double digits in terms of goals since Sergio van Dijk won the A-League Golden Boot in 2010/11 with 16.

Last season, Pablo Sanchez (8 goals) was Adelaide’s most prolific forward.

No one can doubt Djite’s work ethic but the 28-year-old’s scoreboard impact is not good enough for him to be the number one striker of a title contender.

Djite hasn’t reached double figures in a season since he scored 10 for Gold Coast United in 2010/11.

To be fair to the big forward, Amor’s more pragmatic approach compared to his predecessor Josep Gombau often leaves him isolated up front, but if this is the way the Spanish coach wants to play, he should have found a striker who suits those tactics.

goal scorers

Adelaide’s 4-1-4-1 formation generally kept Victory at arm’s length for large parts of the Round 20 opener in Melbourne.

But with Carrusca sitting slightly deeper than a genuine number 10 position, plus Goodwin and Cirio staying wide, Djite was often surrounded by Victory players in the middle of Adelaide’s attack.

The home side had the better of the goal-scoring opportunities.

Gui Finkler – who looked like he had a point to prove after his exclusion from Victory’s AFC Champions League squad – hit the bar with a 30-yard free-kick in the first half and then forced Adelaide goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic into a fine stop from a tight angle just before the break.

The Reds started the second half with a more energetic press, with Stefan Mauk shooting just over from once chance created via a Victory turnover.

Goodwin also hit the post in the 70th minute but the visitors were generally pinned back as Victory surged looking for a winner until a counterattack fell Kamau’s way and the 20-year-old tucked away his maiden A-League goal via a deflection off Scott Galloway.

Adelaide moved to 33 points in third position in the table, while Victory (29) could finish the weekend nine points adrift of leaders Brisbane Roar if the Queenslanders defeat Perth Glory on Saturday.