Nikola Mileusnić scored a quick-fire brace as 10-man Adelaide United were held to a 2-2 stalemate with Western Sydney Wanderers at Coopers Stadium.
The Boxing Day clash had everything: drama, goals and controversy in the action-packed affair.
Mileusnić’s second-half brace initially cancelled out Oriol Riera’s opener, before Bruce Kamau scored a minute after Jordan Elsey was contentiously dismissed.
Marco Kurz made just the one change to his starting eleven with Nathan Konstandopoulos replacing Ken Ilsø in midfield for his first start since Round 3.
The visitors started the stronger of the two teams with Roly Bonevacia threatening early on.
The game ebbed and flowed with Adelaide creating a few opportunities through Vince Lia and Ben Halloran.
But in first-half stoppage time the Wanderers found the breakthrough via a defensive lapse in concentration.
While trying to clear the ball in the box, Konstandopoulos was adjudged to have caught Tarek Elrich with the referee pointing to the spot.
Riera stepped up with his ensuing spot-kick initially saved by a diving Izzo to his right, though it proved fruitless with the Spaniard following up the rebound.
Kurz made a double substitution at half-time in an effort to turn the game on its head and it proved effective.
Adelaide drew level when Scott Galloway’s low cross deflected into the path of Mileusnić at the back post to tap home.
And no sooner had they restored parity, Mileusnić put United in front after nutmegging the WSW ‘keeper.
Isaías exquisitely evaded his opponent before playing a through ball to the winger who finished in somewhat fortuitous fashion to bag a brace.
But Elsey would be contentiously sent off five minutes later for a perceived flailing elbow on Riera. Replays suggested it was harsh and it incensed the home crowd.
The numerical advantaged immediately came into play with Josh Risdon setting up Kamau to equalise almost instantaneously.
Adelaide showed more intent and despite having 10 men they dominated the game.
However, neither side could find the winner as the match ended all square.
23’ | Alexander Baumjohann’s crossing free-kick finds Patrick Ziegler and his looping header lands agonisingly wide.
43’ | Izzo’s quick instincts see him deny Riera’s header from point-blank range.
45’+1’ | GOAL: Riera’s initial penalty is saved by Izzo but it is in vain as he taps home the rebound.
48’ | GOAL! Mileusnić is at the back post for an easy tap in on Galloway’s deflected, low cross.
55’ | GOAL! Mileusnić bags a second when he runs at goal and finishes his effort through the legs of Nicholas Suman to make it 2-1 after being released by Isaías.
60’ | RED CARD: Elsey is controversially shown a second yellow card for an apparent elbow on Riera.
61’ GOAL: Risdon lays the ball off to Kamau and he rifles his shot past a helpless Izzo.
Wednesday, 26 December 2018
Hyundai A-League 2018/19 – Round 9
Adelaide United 2 (Mileusnić 48’ 55’ )
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Riera 45’+1 Kamau 61’)
Venue: Coopers Stadium