Adelaide and Macarthur play out stalemate

Adelaide United and Macarthur FC played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at Coopers Stadium on Monday night, with Bulls striker Valère Germain cancelling out Ben Halloran’s opener to earn a point for the travelling side.

Germain and Halloran both scored inside 32 minutes but neither side managed to add to their respective one-goal totals as a fiery second stanza ended goalless in Adelaide.

The Reds had a penalty claim for a handball from Macarthur defender Matthew Jurman waved away in the second half, and both Adelaide’s Hiroshi Ibusuki and Macarthur’s Raphael Borges Rodrigues spurned glorious chances to claim all three points for their respective sides.

In his second-consecutive game standing in for Socceroo Joe Gauci in goal for Adelaide, James Delianov produced an outstanding save to deny Jurman a stoppage-time winner as the Reds held on to clinch a point at home.

The two strikers down either end of the park were lively through the first half, with both Germain and Ibusuki having a big impact on proceedings at Coopers Stadium. Germain and Ibusuki saw early chances fade just wide of the bottom-right corner after crosses from wide areas.

The woodwork rattled twice in the first half, firstly through Bulls winger Raphael Borges Rodrigues who rattled the upright with a venomous strike from a tight angle in the seventh minute.

Reds keeper Jamies Delianov couldn’t get a glove on the powerful attempt as it lashed off the post and out of danger.

Nestory Irankunda started on the right wing, with 19-year-old full-back Giussepe Bovalina deployed at full-back, and the two teenagers combined to create Adelaide’s opening goal.

Bovalina played a pass to Irankunda, then darted toward the byline, losing his marker in Jed Drew and receiving the ball back from Irankunda before whipping an expert delivery into the six-yard box for Halloran to tuck home.

Macarthur responded positively and captain Ulises Dávila came to the fore, causing the home fans to hold their breath as he fired just past the post from distance on the half-hour mark.

Germain then provided the equaliser for the Bulls, and much like Halloran earlier in the half, he was the beneficiary of some top-quality wing play in the build-up to his goal mouth finish.

Kearyn Baccus made a smart, darting run from midfield into the box and Drew obliged with a no-look pass that left the Adelaide defence flat-footed as Baccus took possession and swung the ball to the back post where both Germain and Raphael stood waiting to tuck home the equalising goal.

Dávila hit the crossbar shortly after Germain’s leveller, electing not to play Drew into the box and striking with his non-preferred right foot from the edge of the area.

Dávila’s attempt was a half chance – but the same can’t be said for the glorious opportunity wasted by Ibusuki shortly before half-time.

Irankunda had delivered with silver service off the right wing, floating a cross to the back post for Ibusuki to attack – and with a vacant piece of real estate to aim for, Ibsuski thundered his header past the gaping target and out for a goal kick.

Players came from everywhere when Ibusuki and Macarthur defender Matthew Jurman tangled in the penalty area as the Bulls attempted to defend an Adelaide set piece; the spot fire ignited the second half as chances presented down either end for both teams to break the deadlock.

The Reds had a penalty call waved away when Ryan Kitto’s shot from the edge of the area struck the arm of Jurman. Then, the Reds received a major let-off as referee Jack Morgan’s decision not to call a foul on Irankunda by Jake Hollman in midfield sent the Bulls surging forward in attack.

Drew’s cross off the right wing found Raphael all on his own at the back post but an awkward connection off his thigh went wide of the empty net.

Deep into stoppage time Macarthur had a late corner and almost snatched all three points as Jurman angled a powerful header on target; Delianov, standing in for Gauci on Socceroos duty, got down quickly to push the ball around the post and away from danger, ultimately preserving a point for the Reds as the full-time whistle blew to confirm the 1-1 scoreline.

The star

Prior to Round 11, James Delianov hadn’t played in the Isuzu UTE A-League for Adelaide since New Year’s Day in 2022.

More than two years later, with first-choice Adelaide gloveman Joe Gauci at the Asian Cup with the Socceroos, the Reds are calling upon the 24-year-old goalkeeper once again.

Delianov was Adelaide’s first-choice keeper in 2020-21, making 18 appearances – including two finals. He started the next season as Adelaide’s number one but a shoulder injury on January 1 opened the door for Gauci to step ahead in the pecking order.

On Monday night, Delianov produced a point-saving contribution to deny Macarthur defender Matt Jurman deep into stoppage time in a 1-1 draw.

Jurman had done well to guide his header from a corner down toward the bottom-right corner with power and accuracy – but Delianov responded with quick reactions to get low and paw the ball around the post.

Jurman put his hands to his head as Adelaide teammates celebrated with Delianov following his clutch save – and the reaction on the Macarthur bench said it all!

The moment

Josh Cavallo’s seven-minute cameo was a special one on Monday night, as it brought the Adelaide United utility’s near year-long absence from the Isuzu UTE A-League to an end.

Cavallo, 24, ruptured his left Achilles tendon against Western Sydney Wanderers in February last year; he had surgery four days later and has spent the following 10-and-a-half months getting ready for the moment that arrived on Monday night, as he came off the bench for a late cameo against Macarthur.

Post-game, a beaming Cavallo told Paramount+ how happy he was to make his Isuzu UTE A-League comeback.

“I feel great,” he said. “I’ve got the biggest smile on my face right now, because it was a hard road. It was a long road as well. It taught me patience. I had great guidance (from) my partner and my family who got me (to where) I am today.

“I’m really proud I could step back on that field – I just want to snag a goal next time!”

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