What went right, what went wrong vs Western Sydney Wanderers

Adelaide United had to settle for a 0-0 draw with Western Sydney Wanderers at CommBank Stadium after the second meeting in four days on Sunday night.

Despite neither side finding the breakthrough, it was an entertaining contest which ebbed and flowed.

The Reds remain provisionally in third place on 28 points.


What went right: Third clean sheet of the season

It is hard to comprehend with the number of saves and the catalogue of strong performances from Joe Gauci that tonight was his first clean sheet of the season. It does show that statistic in isolation is not always an accurate reflection of someone’s form. Nevertheless, it would be a satisfying feeling for the 21-year-old, who will now join the Socceroos as a train-on ahead of their crucial World Cup qualifier against Japan on Thursday. Gauci made four saves, two punches and three clearances in another impressive outing.

What went wrong: Sluggish start

The Reds were under siege in the first-half of the first-half. They were often caught out in transition with the Wanderers marauding forward at will. However, to United’s credit they did hold firm with Lachlan Barr and Javi López especially making recovering blocks and interceptions to thwart the imminent danger. Adelaide were able to survive the onslaught and finished the opening ’45 with the ascendancy.

What went right: Popović unflappable on starting debut

Alexandar Popović only made his professional debut midweek against the Wanderers following Michael Jakobsen succumbing to injury. And four days later he would replace the Danish defender from the outset and perform admirably. The 19-year-old acquitted himself with aplomb, making challenges and naturally grew in confidence the longer the match wore on, indicative of playing a couple of pin-point diagonal balls.

He won five duels, completed 84% of his passes, notched five clearances and two tackles. In just their second appearance together, he has formed a solid understanding with Lachlan Barr, who was also excellent on the night. There were just six league starts and 10 appearances between the pair going into this match, so in that context an incredible effort against a high-calibre Wanderers attack.  

What went wrong: Could not find the breakthrough

Adelaide had a couple of decent chances to break open the deadlock. Lachlan Barr saw a header well-saved by Daniel Margush on 38 minutes and in the second stanza, the goalkeeper denied Lachlan Brook before Adama Traore committed a last-ditch intervention to block Zach Clough’s attempt on the follow-up in the 67th minute. Adelaide pushed for a winner with the introduction of Mohamed Toure and later Nestory Irankunda in the dying minutes, however its efforts were in vain.

Match details:
Sunday, 20 March
Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 – Matchweek 19
Western Sydney Wanderers 0
Adelaide United 0
Venue: CommBank Stadium
Attendance: 5,077