Reds reduced to ten in goalless draw with Phoenix at Coopers Stadium
Adelaide United registered its second 0-0 at Coopers Stadium in seven days on Friday night, surviving a late red card to defender Ryan Strain to earn a point against Wellington Phoenix.
The away side were unable to capitalise on Strain's dismissal in the 74th minute for a second yellow card, as the Reds had the better of the late chances in the goalless draw.
Ben Halloran was the danger man for the home team throughout the contest, going close to breaking the deadlock with his best chance of the game when sending a dangerous ball from a tight angle past the wrong side of the left-hand goalpost, before Kusini Yengi emerged from the bench for Carl Veart's side to cause late problems for the Phoenix defence.
Strain received his first booking in the 68th minute for kicking the ball away after referee Alireza Faghani blew his whistle for a foul on Phoenix forward Ben Waine. Strain proceeded to foul 'Nix substitute Reno Piscopo in an attacking play just six minutes later to see his name go into the book for a second time, leaving Adelaide to defend with ten men for the last 15 minutes of play.
Wellington stopper Oliver Sail made five saves on the night as he kept Yengi, Halloran, Tomi Juric and Louis D'Arrigo out to ensure his side left Coopers Stadium with a point.
But down the other end Wellington did little to take advantage of their one-man advantage, as the game ended with scores locked at 0-0. The result takes Adelaide into second spot on the A-League table, whilst the Phoenix moved to within three points of sixth-placed Brisbane Roar.
Chances were few and far between in a goalless first half at Coopers Stadium. Josh Cavallo offered an offensive threat from left-back for the Reds, getting forward early to whip a dangerous cross in toward Stefan Mauk in the sixth minute of play, but the ball dribbled out for a goal kick after Mauk failed to control the ball which dropped into his lap in the box.
A Juric header from a Craig Goodwin corner brought Sail into the contest, and the Phoenix 'keeper produced a double save to first deny Juric before keeping a low D'Arrigo strike at bay.
Juric saw his penalty claims waved away by referee Faghani when Wellington defender Joshua Laws collected the Reds forward from behind in the box just before the half-hour mark.
The Phoenix failed to offer a serious threat to Adelaide 'keeper Joe Gauci in the first half. David Ball sent a shot from distance past the top-right corner, and Lewis saw his first-time shot off a smart pass off the left flank from Sam Sutton drift wide of the mark in the 40th minute.
A late Juande shot skimmed past the left-hand goalpost in first-half stoppage time as the two sides went into the break with scores locked at 0-0.
Adelaide emerged from the half-time break looking a rejuvenated outfit, and began to offer a greater threat to Wellington's goal through the terrific wing play of Halloran.
The Reds forward caused problems for Sutton down the right side of Adelaide's attack, nut-megging the left-back and flashing a cross past a number of runners at the back post, only just missing the target himself.
Strain was the next Red to register an attempt on goal, dribbling forward from defence to find space in the box only to float a chipped shot way over the bar.
Wellington star Ulises Dávila went down with a hamstring injury in the 64th minute, but the impact of losing the star player was mitigated by the introduction of Piscopo into the fray, who crafted one chance for Tim Payne to head over the bar on before troubling Gauci with a low, driven shot just four minutes later.
Strain received a yellow card for kicking the ball away in frustration after a challenge on Phoenix substitute Ben Waine, and with a quarter of an hour to play the Adelaide defender was sent to the sheds for a second bookable offence, taking down Piscopo on a dangerous run into attack.
Going a man down should have disadvantaged the home side, but after bringing Yengi off the bench Adelaide looked even more likely to score in the final 15 minutes of play.
Yengi fired a strong attempt on goal in the 81st minute, but the shot lacked the direction needed to beat Sail who saved with authority.
Soon after it was Halloran testing the Phoenix 'keeper once again with a strong shot off the right flank which Sail proved more than capable of saving with a low block down to his right.
Melbourne City v Adelaide United
Thursday, May 13 2021
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEST
Melbourne City v Wellington Phoenix
Sunday, May 16 2021
Kick-off: 4.05pm AEST
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