Susaeta equaliser earns Macarthur's first home point against ten-man Phoenix
Markel Susaeta hit Macarthur FC’s first goal at their Campbelltown Stadium home as the Bulls came from behind to clinch a share of the points in a 1-1 draw against ten-man Wellington Phoenix.
Spain international Susaeta slammed in a composed finish in the 67th minute, converting his fellow countryman Beñat Etxeberria’s chipped through ball, five minutes after Phoenix midfielder Alex Rufer had been shown a straight red card.
Rufer was judged to have kicked out at Denis Genreau while rolling on the ground and the Kiwi midfielder was sent off by referee Stephen Lucas following a VAR review after Ufuk Talay’s side had been in control of a closely-fought contest.
David Ball had fired the New Zealand outfit ahead in the 39th minute after returning Phoenix captain Ulises Davila's pass split open the Bulls defence and flying left-back James McGarry teed the English striker up for a simple finish.
After falling to the Central Coast Mariners on their A-League bow in Sydney’s south-west, Ante Milicic’s home side seized the ascendancy with an extra man as Susaeta drilled a shot past Stefan Marinovic at his near post to square up the game.
Matt Derbyshire headed a last-gasp effort back off the crossbar and ‘Nix keeper Marinovic was forced to see out the closing minutes with a groin injury as Wellington held on to record their first point of the 2020/21 A-League season.
The now familiar sound of cowbells rang around Campbelltown Stadium as returning Mexican playmaker Ulises Davila slammed a strike off target and Alex Rufer volleyed another effort over as the Kiwi outfit looked to force the issue in the opening 10 minutes, until the Bulls made their first forward advances with Lachlan Rose threatening with a curling strike in the 18th minute.
Wellington wrestled back control at the midpoint of the half with Cameron Devlin drilling an attempt wide after the hosts could only half-clear Davila’s corner, but All Whites number one Stefan Marinovic was forced into making a superb block on 28 minutes when Aleksandar Susnjar rifled Beñat Etxeberria’s delivery at the ‘Nix goal.
It was end-to-end action on the half-hour mark as Bulls goalkeeper Adam Federici raced out of his goal to cut out a through ball, before Matt Derbyshire was marginally off with an outrageous half-way line attempt, while Macarthur continued to grow into the game as Beñat's 20-yard free-kick parried away by Marinovic.
But David Ball made his chance count in the 39th minute after McGarry collected Davila's incisive through ball and found the Englishman with a precise cut-back, and James Meredith was unable to force an equaliser on the cusp of half-time after Marinovic beat away his close-range effort.
Tomer Hemed had his own attempt to beat a stranded Federici from 50 plus yards but the Israel international's starting A-League debut came to a close after a cut to his head was reopened, before Macarthur's danger man Rose hit a stinging shot that was well saved by a diving Marinovic in the 51st minute.
Rufer's red card, for tripping Generau as the Macarthur midfielder tried to run away, put a serious dent in the Phoenix's chances, although moments later Wellington substitute Jaushua Sotirio saw a shot palmed away by Federici after Ball's classy back-heel opened up the Macarthur defence.
It took five minutes with the player advantage before Milicic's side pierced the visitors' armour. Susaeta raced into space following Beñat's pass and drove in a clinical finish at Marinovic's near post as the ex-Melbourne City ace netted his third A-League goal and first for Macarthur to level the scores.
Macarthur's cow bell-swinging fans urged their side towards a late winner as the ten men of Wellington scrambled to defend a series of set pieces with Marinovic limping after appearing to tweak his groin. Derbyshire came closest to scoring with a bullet header which crashed off the top of the crossbar in stoppage time as the Bulls faithful were forced to wait to celebrate a historic win at Campbelltown Stadium.
Newcastle Jets v Macarthur FC
Sunday, 17 January 2021
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Kick-off: 4.05pm AEDT
Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets
Sunday, 24 January 2021
Venue: WIN Stadium
Kick-off: 6.05pm AEDT
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