Adelaide United produced a rousing come back from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw against 10-man Melbourne City at ANZ Stadium on Tuesday night.
After trailing 2-0 at the interval, Kristian Opseth’s penalty and Ben Halloran’s sumptuous stoppage-time finish ensured Adelaide finished the Hyundai A-League restart unbeaten.
However, their finals fate will be out of their hands with Western United needing to win just one of their remaining three matches to secure sixth spot.
Carl Veart announced an identical line-up for the fourth successive game, indicative of being pleased with the level of performance from his players and further building continuity.
Adelaide settled quicker of the two teams without generating any decisive chances.
City grew in confidence and began to control possession and were nearly gifted a goal when Jordan Elsey’s errant back pass had Paul Izzo scrambling as it struck the base of the post.
However, it was the Reds who had the first genuine opening. Taras Gomulka’s floated set-piece found Halloran unmarked but his side volley from a few metres out sailed wide.
And almost instantly United were made to rue that miss with City opening the scoring at the other end courtesy of Adrian Luna’s diving header in the 34th minute.
Florin Berenguer released Craig Noone down the left wing and after beating his opponent picked out the Uruguayan.
In reply, Ryan Kitto unleashed a half-volley from outside the box which Thomas Glover was equal to.
But Melbourne doubled their advantage after Luna turned provider; his deflected cross fortuitously fell to Jamie Maclaren and he rose highest to steer his header beyond Izzo.
Maclaren struck the woodwork from close range six minutes into the second-half and that let off saw Adelaide regain the ascendancy.
Adelaide’s urgency lifted with City pushed onto the back foot and the momentum completely shifted once Craig Noone was sent off for a reckless challenge on Michael Jakobsen on 67 minutes.
Al Hassan Toure and Pacifique Niyongabire were lively following their introductions and the latter won a penalty which was converted by Opseth 11 minutes later.
Veart’s side continued to press for an equaliser and their endeavour was rewarded in the 91st minute thanks to Halloran’s ninth league goal of the season.
It was not the result the Reds were after but their effort in the contest could not be faulted.
33’ | CHANCE! Gomulka’s perfectly-weighted set-piece to the back post finding Halloran unmarked but his side volley is astray.
34’ | GOAL: Luna opens the scoring with a diving header after meeting Noone’s cross.
40’ | GOAL: Maclaren rises highest to head in Luna’s deflected cross.
51’ | CHANCE: Maclaren’s first-time strike rattles the upright from Atkinson’s low cross.
67’ | RED CARD! Noone is sent off for a rash tackle on Jakobsen.
78’ | GOAL! Opseth calmly converts from the spot, sending Glover the wrong way.
90+1’ | GOAL! Halloran fires in a low shot into the bottom corner for his ninth of the season.
Tuesday, 11 August 2020
Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season
Melbourne City 2 (Luna 34’ Maclaren 40’)
Adelaide United 2 (Opseth 78’ (p) Halloran 90+1’)
Venue: ANZ Stadium