Blackwood misses late penalty as Wanderers hold on in dramatic clash with Adelaide
Adelaide United’s George Blackwood missed a 99th-minute penalty as his side lost 3-2 to Western Sydney Wanderers in a highly dramatic – and controversial – clash at Coopers Stadium.
The Wanderers were cruising to a much-needed win as they goals from Nicolai Muller (two) and Mohamed Adam had them leading 3-1 as the clock ticked over to 90 minutes.
But Blackwood pulled one back on 94 minutes when he converted a penalty after the VAR intervened for a foul on Al Hassan Toure in the box.
But there was more drama to come a few minutes later as the VAR was again involved, adjudging a handball by Wanderers defender Daniel Georgievski.
The decision incensed the visitors but their fury was quelled to some extent as Blackwood blazed his spot-kick over the bar.
It was a vital win for the Wanderers, who snapped a seven-game winless run – and recorded their first victory in 62 days – to ease the pressure on embattled coach Markus Babbel.
Earlier, despite being outplayed in a fiery first-half, Muller gave the visitors the lead early on but the Reds were level before the break through youngster Al Hassan Toure.
A far tighter second half was always going to swing on the next goal and it was a sublime header from Muller just before the hour mark which gave the Wanderers the initiative.
Adam, making just his second-ever Hyundai A-League start, then doubled the lead his first goal 13 minutes from time.
The late drama set up a crazy finish but the Red and Black held on to register their first win since the Round 3 Sydney Derby in October.
While the win propels the Wanderers into the top six, the Reds are in danger of dropping out of it after a second straight defeat.
Lopar denies Adelaide early on
Adelaide United started on the front foot and carved out four excellent opportunities inside the first 10 minutes.
Al Hassan Toure somehow scuffed a great chance in the first couple of minutes before efforts from Nikola Mileusnic and then George Blackwood forced Wanderers gloveman Daniel Lopar into two impressive saves.
Muller nods the Wanderers in front
But just when it appeared Adelaide were on the cusp of an opener, it was the visitors who took a shock lead inside 11 minutes through Muller.
After Jordan Elsey gave possession away, the Wanderers launched a swift counter attack with Mohamed Adam's cross deflecting up off Michael Jakobsen, with Muller producing a clever header to beat Paul Izzo.
Toure levels up for the Reds
It took just eight minutes for the hosts to respond, and it was a beautifully worked goal.
Nikola Mileusnic was heavily involved, playing a one-two with Ben Halloran before firing low across the face of goal where Toure was waiting to tap in from close range.
Wanderers regain the lead as Muller strikes again
Former Reds fan favourite Tarek Elrich did superbly to wriggle free down the right before swinging in a searching cross to the far post.
Elrich’s ball made it’s way to an unmarked Muller a long way from goal but the German put everything into a header which flew past Izzo into the far corner.
Adam extends the Wanderers lead
Just moments after the final drinks break, the Wanderers caught the Reds napping to double their lead.
Pirmin Schwegler spotted the run of Mohamed Adam and played a delightful ball over the top for the young attacker.
Adam’s initial shot is saved by Paul Izzo but he stays alert to sweep home the rebound.
Blackwood gives the Reds hope
Adelaide were thrown a lifeline in stoppage time as Toure won a penalty – after intervention from the VAR – after he was felled in the box by Patrick Ziegler.
Blackwood took responsibility and sent Lopar the wrong way to set up a grandstand finish.
But there was more drama to come as Adelaide were awarded another penalty minutes later, as the VAR adjudged a handball in the box by Wanderers defender Daniel Georgievski.
But this time Blackwood couldn't convert, blazing his penalty high over the bar to consign the Reds to back-to-back defeats.
Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar
Wednesday, 1 January 2020
Kick off: 7.30pm AEDT
Sydney FC v Adelaide United
Saturday, 4 January 2020
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick off: 7.30pm AEDT