Adelaide United completes pre-season with stalemate against Western United in behind-closed-doors friendly

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Adelaide United has completed its pre-season with a scoreless draw against Western United in a friendly behind closed doors at Coopers Stadium.

The result completes a run of three clean sheets against quality A-League opposition, following respective one-nil wins over Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney in recent trial games.

It sends the Reds into next week’s Isuzu UTE A-League season opener at the same venue against reigning Champions Central Coast full of confidence.

The Reds had a strong starting line-up including attacking livewire Nestory Irankunda making his return from a minor ankle complaint, and former Western midfielder Luke Duzel lining up against his former side.

While the game was friendly by name, it was anything but in the early stages with both sides going in hard in a tight opening. Western full-back Josh Risdon went into the book early in the first half for a firm challenge on Ryan Kitto before the Reds’ captain got a booking of his own as the half progressed.

The visiting side thought it had hit the lead when Lachie Wales chipped Joe Gauci in the Adelaide goal, only for the score to be waved away for off-side.

The Reds’ best opportunity came two minutes before the half-time whistle when Zach Clough’s dangerous cross from the right proved too firm for Ben Halloran in the centre and Kitto at the back post.

Wales came close to breaking the deadlock early in the second half only to see his powerful front post header palmed away acrobatically by Gauci. It would not have counted anyway with the assistant referee’s flag up, but Gauci was not to know.

Without attacking options Hiroshi Ibusuki and Johnny Yull (both ill), the Reds struggled to break through the Western defence.

Reds coach Carl Veart reshaped his side on the hour mark with Nick Ansell, Bernardo and new signing Ryan Tunnicliffe replacing Ben Warland, Irankunda and Clough, but it was Western who again threatened with Noah Botic’s header a couple of minutes later hitting Gauci’s left-hand upright.

The changes continued from the Adelaide dugout with Ethan Alagich taking Duzel’s place and Lochie Barr, Javi Lopez and MetroStars triallist Austin Ayubi getting minutes in place of Alexandar Popovic, Giuseppi Bovalina and Musa Toure.

Perhaps the best chance of the day came to Western’s Michael Ruhs, who went through one-on-one with five minutes to play but was thwarted by Gauci, who held firm to ensure his side would take a share of the spoils.

Adelaide United kicks off its Isuzu UTE A-League season at Coopers Stadium on Friday night from 7:30pm against the Central Coast Mariners.

The game is part of a double header with a Liberty A-League match involving the sides from 4:30pm. Tickets are available here.

Adelaide starting XI
Gauci, Warland (Ansell), Kitto, Isaias (White), Clough (Tunnicliffe), Duzel (Alagich), Madanha (Toure, Ayubi (trialist), Popovic (Barr), Bovalina (Lopez), Irankunda (Bernardo), Halloran.

Western United starting XI
Heward-Belle, Donachie, Wales, Lustica, Penha, Garuccio, Risdon, Tratt, Thurgate, Botic, Danzaki

Match details:
Pre-Season Friendly
Thursday, 12 October 2023
Adelaide United 0
Western United 0
Coopers Stadium

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