The 57th league instalment of the Original Rivalry produced just the 11th draw as Adelaide United was controversially held 1-1 against Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Saturday.
The Reds appeared on the brink of a second defeat in four days against their bitter rivals, but Craig Goodwin’s magnificent volley in the 91st minute salvaged a point.
Javi López thought he had cancelled out Nicholas D’Agostino’s 84th minute screamer but the referee determined Stefan Mauk had impeded goalkeeper Ivan Kelava.
Adelaide finished the hard-fought contest with nine players after Isaías’s second booking and Louis D’Arrigo’s injury.
It was the first stalemate in this fixture since October 2017 and first in Melbourne since January 2012 after a frenetic conclusion.
What went right. What went wrong
What went right: Reds rewarded for gallant effort
Adelaide appeared dead and buried against the ladder leaders, and away from home, when Nicholas D’Agostino produced a goal of the season contender with six minutes remaining. But United, unperturbed, and having failed to muster any shots on target (apart from hitting the crossbar), simply did not drop their collective heads. Javi López thought he had scored his second goal in as many league games. Craig Goodwin’s cross was just too high for the head of Stefan Mauk and his momentum carried him into Kelava, simultaneously the loose ball fell to the Spaniard and he unleashed a left-footed half volley into the top corner on 86 minutes.
It seemed an instant reply. However, contentiously it was disallowed either due to an infringement on the goalkeeper or potential offside. Although frustrating, Adelaide pushed again and López this time turned provider, his whipped cross to the back post served on a plate for Goodwin to volley sweetly into the bottom corner. It was the winger’s fourth goal in seven days. Interim boss Ross Aloisi was immensely proud of his players’ efforts after the match and their never say die attitude.
What went wrong: Unable to play through Victory’s press
Adelaide struggled to deal with Victory’s high-pressing game. Frequently, the Reds’ defence would play the ball sideways, unable to break the lines with Tony Popovic’s dynamic forwards applying a tremendous amount of intensity. When Juande, Isaías and Stefan Mauk did get on the ball, they were not afforded much time and space, closed down quickly, forcing several turnovers.
What went wrong: Players out for City clash next week
Adelaide ended the match with nine players. Isaías was already brandished his fifth yellow of the season when he fouled Lleyton Brooks, but he subsequently received another booking for dissent after Goodwin scored. It was a rare lack of discipline for the Spanish maestro and just his second red card for the Club, his initial one occurred on his debut way back in October 2013 when he received a pair of yellow cards against Perth Glory.
Meanwhile, substitute Louis D’Arrigo came off worse for wear after a clash of heads, and landed awkwardly, appearing to hurt his knee. Hopefully the young midfielder will be okay, he certainly hobbled off gingerly. Josh Cavallo also copped a wack to the face and was withdrawn under the concussion protocol merely as a precaution. The hope will be that the latter pair will be available for next week.
What went right: Nestory Irankunda makes history
At 15 years and 333 days, Nestory Irankunda became the fourth youngest player in the history of the Club to make their senior debut and sixth youngest in the Isuzu UTE A-League. He is also the inaugural player to feature in the league born after the competition’s first game in August 2005. The energetic winger got a few touches on the wing as he tried to hassle and chase down Victory’s defenders.
Saturday, 8 January
Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 – Matchweek 9
Melbourne Victory 1 (D’Agostino 84’)
Adelaide United 1 (Goodwin 90+1’)
Venue: AAMI Park