10-man Phoenix hold Reds in gripping draw in Adelaide
A 10-man Wellington Phoenix have extended their unbeaten run after holding on for a 0-0 draw against Adelaide United in a fiery clash at Coopers Stadium on Saturday.
In a match that sprung to life after the break, the Reds had the better of the chances but were unable to breakdown a resolute Phoenix defence.
That was despite the visitors playing the last 25 minutes with just 10 men after Spanish midfielder Mandi was sent off for a reckless incident involving the home side’s Vince Lia.
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Adelaide dominated the first half but carved out only a couple of good chances, both falling to Lia.
The first came early on when the veteran blazed a volley on the turn over the bar, before Phoenix keeper Filip Kurto pulled off a smart save to keep out Lia’s header just before the break.
If the first 45 minutes was a little slow, the same can’t be said about the second as both sides pushed for a winner.
Only some excellent keeping from Reds gloveman Paul Izzo stopped the visitors taking the lead, with David Williams denied after being played in by Sarpreet Singh.
Soon after it was Jordan Elsey that was inches away from breaking the deadlock, the Reds defender left free from a corner but his close-range header was straight at Kurto and somehow stayed out.
With so much at stake, things began to heat up as the second-half went on and Mandi was dismissed after a reckless kick-out at Lia who was on the ground.
Wellington then had to absorb plenty of pressure in the last 20 minutes as George Blackwood, Ben Halloran, Nikola Mileusnic and Ryan Kitto all had sights of goal but couldn't hit the target.
The Phoenix held on for a precious point to make it six games without defeat with both sides remaining in the top six and locked together on 16 points after 11 matches.