Adelaide United moved into fourth spot to maintain hope of securing a home final following an action-packed 0-0 draw against Melbourne City.
It was a match that contained a plethora of chances for both sides which saw the frame of the goal struck at both ends, neither team could come away with the valuable three points.
With the Reds now one point clear of both Wellington Phoenix and City on 38 points, destiny is in their hands as two wins from their remaining two matches would guarantee fourth place.
Marco Kurz implemented two changes to his starting line-up, one enforced and the other tactical. Jordy Thomassen replaced the suspended Apostolos Stamatelopoulos and George Blackwood was selected ahead of Nathan Konstandopoulos, who dropped to the substitutes’ bench.
Fourth spot was well and truly up for grabs before kick-off following Wellington’s surprise loss to Brisbane Roar 24 hours earlier.
And the start to the game matched the desperation that was required with both sides aggressive in the opening exchanges.
Craig Goodwin tested Eugene Galekovic inside the opening minute when his low drive forced the gloveman to repel his shot with his foot after being slipped in by Ben Halloran.
The helter-skelter start continued as City immediately responded through Kearyn Baccus; the midfielder seeing his curling effort from the edge of the box ricochet off the upright.
City dominated the next 30 minutes before Adelaide finished the first-half stronger.
Nikola Mileusnić’s introduction in the 35th minute was a big reason behind that and nearly made an instant impact.
The winger cut inside before his shot ricocheted off Ritchie De Laet and bouncing out off the post.
United continued to pile on the pressure and thought they had opened the scoring but for a double save from Galekovic to deny the Reds.
Ryan Kitto’s low ball across the area was met George Blackwood and initially thwarted before Ben Halloran’s follow-up was caught by the former Adelaide goalkeeper.
City controlled possession and the chances for much of the second stanza.
Adelaide struggled to get out of their own half and retain the ball, but to their credit they dug in and defended resolutely while also riding their luck at times.
Harrison Delbridge squandered the best chance for the hosts after his header from inside the six-yard box off a set-piece from Shayon Harrison was spectacularly tipped onto the bar by Izzo.
Jamie Maclaren in the 75th minute also struck the woodwork from a close-range finish, but could not squeeze his shot past Izzo’s near post, who manages to get a touch.
Both teams continued to have opportunities to win the game to no avail as Adelaide return to Coopers Stadium for their Good Friday clash against arch-rivals Melbourne Victory.
1’ | CHANCE! Goodwin unleashes a stinging drive which is thwarted by Galekovic.
2’ | CHANCE: City break quickly and Baccus finds space on the 18-yard box and his bending shot smacks the post.
11′ | SAVE! Izzo stands tall and parries Harrison’s powerful strike over the bar.
36’ | CHANCE! Mileusnić cuts inside from the right and his left-footed deflects on to the post.
42’ | CHANCE! Blackwood connects with Kitto’s low cut-back but his first-time shot is blocked by Galekovic and then Halloran’s attempt on the follow up is caught.
63’ | SAVE! Izzo produces a reflex save and tips Delbridge’s header from point-blank range onto the bar and out for a corner.
75’ | CHANCE: Maclaren on the turn rifles his effort off the near post with Izzo appearing to get a finger to it.
Saturday, 13 April 2019
Hyundai A-League 2018/19 – Round 25
Melbourne City 0
Adelaide United 0
Venue: AAMI Park