Adelaide claim vital win over Wanderers

Adelaide United solidified themselves as Melbourne City’s nearest challengers to the A-League Men premiership as they condemned Western Sydney to a spiteful 3-2 defeat.

Wanderers skipper Marcelo was sent off in the dying stages of Friday’s game after placing Adelaide wonderkid Nestory Irankunda in a headlock in a result which all but blew Western Sydney’s slim chances of catching Adelaide and City at the summit of the table.

Marko Rudan’s side, who have been so strong at the back this season, were left to rue their sloppy defending at set-pieces as they conceded all three goals from corners.

Defender Ben Warland scored a header in each half for Adelaide before Japanese import Hiroshi Ibusuki joined him on the scoresheet at CommBank Stadium on Friday.

Adelaide strengthened their grip on second place and moved within one point of City with victory, although the Melburnian outfit have two games in hand.

The Wanderers remain in third – six points adrift of Adelaide with four games remaining – with goals from Kusini Yengi and Marcelo their only response to a clinical Reds outfit.

The home side did, however, have the better of the running in the first half with newly-capped Socceroos goalkeeper Joe Gauci forced to deny Brandon Borrello twice.

English import Zach Clough helped break the deadlock when he floated in a cross from a short corner for Warland, who was able to cushion his header beyond Wanderers No. 1 Lawrence Thomas.

Borrello carried the Wanderers back into the game, bursting down the middle of the park before finding an unmarked Yeni Ngbakoto on the flank.

The Congolese international was able to whip a low cross past Gauci and through to Yengi, who was able to tap in against his former club on the stroke of halftime.

The Wanderers were lethargic after the break and Rudan’s reaction was plain to see when they conceded two sloppy set-piece goals before the hour mark.

Warland headed his second in from a Craig Goodwin corner in the 49th minute before the Reds added their third when Ibusuki stabbed in a rebound.

Marcelo grabbed one back for the Wanderers when he headed in a Ngbakoto corner but his night ended in disgrace when he placed Irankunda in a headlock.

The Brazilian was shown a straight red by referee Shaun Evans after his behaviour sparked an all-in melee.

The tensions continued to boil over after fulltime with players engaging in another fracas.

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