Macarthur record famous win over Wanderers in inaugural A-League match
Macarthur FC have made a dream start to life in the A-League, winning their inaugural match 1-0 in a pulsating derby against Western Sydney Wanderers on Wednesday night.
Spanish substitute Benat Extebarria’s second-half free-kick deflected off skipper Mark Milligan and trickled into an empty net to send Bulls players, staff and fans into raptures.
Ante Milicic’s side became just the sixth team in A-League history to win their inaugural league fixture, just like Western United FC did last season.
And it was just reward for an excellent display by the Bulls, who took the game to the Wanderers from the outset.
While they dominated for long periods, Macarthur did have keeper Adam Federici to thank for taking all three points, with the Socceroo gloveman making four outstanding saves, including one in stoppage-time to deny Kwame Yeboah.
Young winger Lachlan Rose also impressed in his A-League debut, while Moudi Najjar – on-loan from Melbourne City – could have had two goals in the first half.
It was a losing start for new Wanderers boss Carl Robinson, who handed club debuts to five players including Scotsman Graham Dorrans, and attackers Bernie Ibini and James Troisi.
But the night belonged to Macarthur who will be celebrating a famous and memorable win in the club’s very brief history.
Early Wanderers penalty overturned by VAR
After a hard-fought opening 10 minutes, the Wanderers looked like getting a great chance to take the lead when referee Kurt Ams adjudged that Graham Dorrans’ long-range shot hit the arm of Aleksandar Jovanovic.
But after consultation with the VAR, Ams reversed the decision - and Jovanovic's yellow card - in a huge let-off for the competition newcomers.
Najjar can’t hit the target with his head
The reprieve seemed to inspire Macarthur and 10 minutes later they almost took the lead through youngster Moudi Najjar.
Ivan Franjic was allowed plenty of time and space on the right to measure a teasing cross into the box.
While it was too high for Matt Derbyshire, Najjar arrived ahead of his marker to head towards goal but just over the bar.
Federici keeps out Cox bullet
It was the Wanderers that ended the half the stronger and they went close with a couple of opportunities just before the break.
The best of them fell to Simon Cox after Tate Russell bolted down the right win and squared the ball to the Englishman at the top of the box.
Cox hit his shot with power and precision but Bulls keeper Adam Federici managed to tip it over the bar.
Offside flag denies Bulls the lead
The end-to-end nature of the contest continued after the break with chances at both ends in the first five minutes.
First James Troisi drew another excellent save from Federici, with the Macarthur gloveman getting down low to his left to deny the Wanderers recruits driving run and shot.
Then just a minute later the impressive Rose had the ball in the back of the net after great work from James Meredith on the left but the Bulls winger was correctly adjudged to be offside.
Federici shows his class again
The Wanderers continued to carve out opportunities at the start of the second half but again found Federici in a defiant mood on 55 minutes.
A patient build-up from the hosts ended with Keanu Baccus unleashing a venomous shot that looked destined for the top corner.
But a full-stretch Federici showed his quality with a stunning stop to keep scores level.
Benat and Milligan combine for opener
Extebarria had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes but produced a historic moment for the competition new-boys.
After the visitors won a free-kick outside the box, the Spaniard’s strike took a massive deflection which wrong-footed Daniel Margush and into the back of the net.
Newcastle Jets v Western Sydney Wanderers
When: Friday, January 8
Kick-off: 7.05pm (AEDT)
Macarthur FC v Central Coast Mariners
Ways to watch
Featured NewsRead more
Signing news: Roar secure Bon Scott as Young replacement
Impressive young goalkeeper Bon Scott has signed with Brisbane Roar on a short-term deal. Scott has inked an injury replacement contract as cover for the sidelined Jamie Young. The 23-year-old, who is a former member of Roar's youth set up, has made a name for himself as on
Signing news: City capture Portuguese defender Nuno Reis
Melbourne City FC can announce the signing of Portuguese defender Nuno Reis. The 29-year-old joins the Club on a three-year deal from Bulgarian giants Levski Sofia. Reis' career has seen the Sporting Lisbon youth graduate play in his native Portugal wi...lhanense and Vitoria