Adelaide United have dramatically scored two late goals to pinch a 2-2 draw with Melbourne City in their A-League Men’s clash.
City appeared destined for their second consecutive win to open their title defence after marksmen Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout scored.
But Adelaide captain Stefan Mauk and winger Ben Halloran converted in the final 15 minutes of a Saturday night thriller at Coopers Stadium.
Halloran pounced on a City blunder in the 90th minute to equalise – his 20-metre shot from an acute angle found a vacant net after intercepting City ‘keeper Thomas Glover’s pass to a flat-footed teammate.
That strike followed a Mauk 78th minute tap-in which revived the Reds after being outplayed by City to that stage.
Earlier, City’s star striker Maclaren was gifted silver service from teammate Nabbout for the easiest of tap-ins in the 28th minute.
Nabbout capitalised on a shrewd lobbed through-ball from Connor Metcalfe, tearing into space and – as Reds ‘keeper James Delianov advanced – delivered a pinpoint pass to Maclaren one metre from goal.
Nabbout would have scored his own tap-in in the 39th minute if not for a timely diving interception at the far post from Javi Lopez, who earlier copped a nasty cut above his left eye in an accidental head clash with Maclaren.
And Nabbout’s second half was similarly impressive: he provided Florin Berenguer-Bohrer with a chance which the Frenchman couldn’t convert in the 54th minute and, seconds later, forced a diving save by Delianov with a left-footed attempt.
In the 61st minute, Nabbout again found time and space along the right flank before cutting inside Josh Cavallo and scoring with an audacious 16-metre curling shot with the outside of his right boot.
Just 10 minutes later, Nabbout almost scored again with a low shot that drifted just wide of the far post.
But in the 78th minute, Mauk sparked Adelaide’s comeback when striker Kusini Yengi launched a scorching 15m shot which struck the near post and the skipper, following in, converted from a metre out.
Halloran, in the 90th minute, then equalised by picking off a pass amid a sleepy City defence and floated a long-range shot into the net.