Ibusuki’s dream debut in thrilling Reds-City draw

Hiroshi Ibusuki

Towering Japanese striker Hiroshi Ibusuki came off the bench to score the late equaliser on debut for Adelaide United in a thrilling 2-2 Isuzu UTE A-League draw with defending champions Melbourne City.

City finished the match with 10 men and the Reds missed a penalty before newly-signed Ibusuki scored 15 minutes into his debut on Saturday.

City dominated much of the proceedings at Coopers Stadium early on and eventually broke the deadlock on 24 minutes through Andrew Nabbout.

Connor Metcalfe threaded a pass through to Mat Leckie, who drove a cross low and hard toward the far post with Nabbout getting in ahead of Ryan Kitto to tap into the net.

Craig Goodwin threatened for Adelaide and was involved in a scoring chance in the 33rd minute, whipping in a cross for George Blackwood who managed to get a touch on the ball but couldn’t direct it towards goal.

The pair combined again on the hour for Adelaide’s equaliser, with Goodwin crossing low and hard after receiving a long switch out of defence from Jacob Tratt.

Blackwood got to the cross first and his initial shot was saved by Tom Glover, but the rebound ricocheted off the striker and into the back of the net.

Parity didn’t last long with City restoring their lead thanks to striker Jamie Maclaren, who had been largely unsighted.

Nabbout fed a pass through for Leckie who provided the overlapping run before supplying a cutback to Maclaren, who fired past Joe Gauci in the Reds’ goal in the 66th minute.

United were awarded a penalty five minutes after that, but not without the intervention of VAR.

Javi Lopez looped a cross to the back post which Goodwin headed across the face of goal, and as Blackwood shaped to shoot, he had his shirt tugged by Nuno Reis.

Upon review, Chris Beath awarded the spot-kick and issued Reis a second yellow card. Goodwin stepped up but his penalty was expertly saved by Glover.

Ibusuki’s introduction off the bench proved invaluable for the Reds.

In the 84th minute Stefan Mauk got a header to Goodwin’s corner. It was kept out by Glover but fell for Ibusuki to sweep the ball into the net on the turn.