Western United draw 0-0 with Adelaide in hostile clash at Coopers Stadium

Western United earned a point from a resilient showing in a 0-0 draw with Adelaide United, playing a man down for the best part of an hour in a hard-fought contest at Coopers Stadium on Friday night.

The Green and Black saw two goals ruled out throughout the game as the visiting side showed little regard for its one-man disadvantage to mount an impressive push for points, after Victor Sánchez received a second yellow card for a late challenge on Louis D'Arrigo in the 36th minute of play.

The dismissal came after Besart Berisha's strike was chalked off for Tomislav Uskok's handball in the lead-up to the finish on 17 minutes, as the first half ended goalless.

The Reds were camped outside the visiting side's box for the majority of the second 45, but a sturdy defensive line led by Tomoki Imai and Andrew Durante repelled waves of Adelaide attacking pressure to carve out a late chance for Dylan Pierias to score.

The electric winger converted off Alessandro Diamanti's searching ball from beyond the halfway line, but Western United's celebrations were cut short after VAR determined Pierias had strayed by the slimmest of margins into an offside position. 

The decision deprived the away side a hard-earned lead, resulting in an explosive finish to the contest which produced a series of intense clashes between opposing players. Reds substitute Mohamed Toure was sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card earned after a cynical challenge on Durante, which meant the two sides fought it out to the end with ten players on the park each.

The final whistle blew with a blank scorecard, sending Mark Rudan's side above Macarthur FC into fifth position on the A-League table, while the Reds moved above Central Coast Mariners into third, level on points with second-placed Sydney FC.

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Key Moments

Western United were compact and organised throughout the first half, remaining resolute to the break despite going a man down 36 minutes into the contest.

The visitors put the ball in the back of the net through Berisha on 17 minutes, but celebrations were cut short when Uskok was found handling the ball in the box in the lead-up to his teammate's finish. 

Uskok rose to meet Diamanti's free kick floated into a dangerous area, and as he attempted to head the ball on goal it brushed off his arm and into Berisha's path for the simple tap-in which was swiftly ruled out.

DISALLOWED GOAL: Berisha - Western United celebrations cut short

Sánchez was the player dismissed for a second yellow card offence in the 36th minute, collecting Louis D'Arrigo from behind after fouling Ben Halloran to receive his first caution with a quarter of an hour on the clock.

Sánchez was joined by his teammates and bench in condemning the decision on the field but there was no intervention from VAR as the visiting side went a man down. Sánchez collected two of the five cards brandished to players from either team throughout the first half.

RED CARD: Sanchez - Second caution of the night for the Spaniard

Western United's defensive efforts were helped by the terrific first-half performance of Imai, who repelled a number of attacking waves by the home side in a new-look back four alongside Durante, Aaron Calver and Connor Pain, who did well to subdue the threat of Adelaide's lethal strike force in the opening 45.

Reds boss Carl Veart brought Kusini Yengi off the bench to inject energy into the home side's attacking line, but it was midfielder Stefan Mauk who went closest to breaking the deadlock in the 52nd minute, skipping past Uskok in the box to rattle the side netting from a promising position.

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CHANCE: Mauk - Wrong side of the net for the midfielder

Yengi then struck his first genuine attempt on goal ten minutes later, calling goalkeeper Ryan Scott into an excellent diving save to tip the ball past the post. Yengi collected the ball off the pass from Mauk, rolling onto his left outside the box before directing the shot toward the bottom-right corner, but Scott proved Yengi's match in the moment.

Tomi Juric was withdrawn by Veart after 72 minutes, as both Mohamed Toure and Al Hassan Toure entered the fray, but not before receiving one final chance to put the Reds ahead. 

Pain and Halloran collided at the back post when the two players attempted to meet a dangerous ball drifted off the left flank, and the ball spilled into space in the goal mouth for Juric to attack. The Adelaide forward got to the ball as a sliding challenge from Imai closed the space; the tangle of bodies ensured the ball stayed out of the net, as the ten-man visitors survived.

SAVE: Scott - Yengi's shot matched by a strong left hand

With little more than ten minutes on the clock, Western United put the ball in the back of the net for the second time on the night. This time it was Pierias netting after Diamanti's invading pass from inside his own defensive half, unleashing the pacy attacker.

Pierias touched the ball past the outrushing Joe Gauci and swept the ball into the back of the net. George Timotheou couldn't clear off the line, and Western United felt the lead was in their hands - but a VAR check concluded Pierias had ventured marginally offside before receiving the ball to score.

DISALLOWED GOAL: Another goal disallowed for the visitors

A late Aaron Calver miss from Diamanti's cross of the left flank was the final chance on goal Western United could muster.

Both teams saw late calls for a penalty down either end waved away before Mohamed Toure received his marching orders after his rash challenge on Andrew Durante produced a second yellow card for the Reds substitute deep into stoppage time. It was the final dramatic act in a contest at Coopers Stadium which was teeming with emotion and high-octane action until the final whistle.

Next Matches

Brisbane Roar v Western United
Wednesday, May 5 2021
Moreton Daily Stadium
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEST
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Adelaide United v Wellington Phoenix
Friday, May 7 2021
Coopers Stadium
Kick-off: 5.35pm AEST
Match Centre