Adelaide United have had to settle for a 1-1 draw against premiers Sydney FC at ANZ Stadium on Thursday night.
Jordan Elsey’s header put the Reds in front but the Sky Blues responded before the break through Adam Le Fondre.
The result means Adelaide remain unbeaten since the resumption of the competition.
United stay sixth on 35 points, five clear of Western United but will require some luck even if they beat Melbourne City in their final match given the Black and Greens have four games in hand.
Carl Veart named an unchanged starting line-up for the third consecutive match, testament to the continuity currently in the squad.
Adelaide made an encouraging start early into the contest, dominating possession while appearing threatening in wide areas.
Lachlan Brook was lively from the right flank and tested Andrew Redmayne six minutes in; the 19-year-old cut inside but his shot was straight at the gloveman.
Stefan Mauk then unleashed an effort which fizzed past the upright, before the Reds were rewarded for their ascendancy.
Elsey connected with Brook’s in-swinging corner and his thumping free-header found the top corner in the 13th minute for his first Hyundai A-League goal since February 2018.
Paul Izzo was later called into action to deny Milos Ninkovic.
However, as the Sky Blues got back into the game, a swift counter-attacking move drawing them level before half-time.
Trent Buhagiar was released and instead of pulling the trigger, he opted to square his cross to Le Fondre for a simple tap-in, after Izzo initially raced off his line to close the angle.
The second-half ebbed and flowed with both sides enjoying spells of control.
Brook and Riley McGree had shots impressively saved by Redmayne, while at the other end Izzo thwarted attempts from Alexander Baumjohann and Ninkovic.
The Reds were a little timid at times going forward wary of Sydney’s incisiveness in transition, although a share of the spoils was a fair result ahead of their last match of the regular season on Tuesday night.
13’ | GOAL! Brook’s in-swinging corner finds Elsey unmarked and his free header flies into the top corner to make it 1-0.
25’ | SAVE! Izzo tips over Ninkovic’s close-range shot over the bar.
39’ | GOAL: Van der Saag releases Buhagiar down the wing and squares a pass to Le Fondre to tap into an empty net.
68’ | SAVE! Izzo at full-stretch tips wide Baumjohann’s strike from distance.
Thursday, 6 August 2020
Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season
Adelaide United 1 (Elsey 13’)
Sydney FC 1 (Le Fondre 39’)
Venue: ANZ Stadium