No goals on the Gold Coast
Gold Coast United and Adelaide United have played out a brutal but ultimately scoreless draw at Skilled Park, but the hosts will be licking their wounds after two more names were added to their growing injury list on Wednesday night.
Gold Coast United and Adelaide United have played out a brutal but ultimately scoreless draw at Skilled Park, but the hosts suffered further blows with the two more names added to their growing injury list on Wednesday night.
In a carbon-copy of the match between the two sides at the same ground almost four months ago, neither team could find the back of the net in a game that promised so much yet delivered so little.
But the injury-ravaged hosts - who were already missing first-choice players Zenon Caravella, Jason Culina, Bas van den Brink and James Brown - will be feeling worse off after in-form striker Bruce Djite succumbed to a hamstring strain and English defender John Curtis was stretchered off the field.
Curtis looked to be in dire pain after a sickening 76th minute clash with Adelaide's Paul Reid and was carried off the field in a neck brace.
After a stoppage that seemed an eternity, referee Chris Beath produced a red card for Reid's challenge and Gold Coast should have taken advantage, but Cameron Watson and Francisco Usucar both managed to block point-blank sitters from Peter Perchtold and Tahj Minniecon late in the game.
Gold Coast started the match in fifth spot, with Melbourne Victory's 2-0 win over Newcastle prior to kickoff lifting them into fourth, and despite holding two games in hand they needed a win to ensure that a home final wouldn't slip through their fingers like the double chance almost certainly has.
A win for third-placed Adelaide would have closed the gap between them and second-placed Central Coast to just one point, and they looked certain to score late in the opening half when midfield maestro Marcos Flores put Mathew Leckie through on the left with the league's leading scorer, Sergio van Dijk, awaiting delivery in the box.
On his first start since returning from injury, Leckie played a low ball across to the Dutchman but Kristian Rees thrust himself in front of his shot, and then gloveman Glen Moss blocked the follow-up attempt to deny the Reds an opener.
That was the only genuine chance of an uninspiring first half, but the second nearly started with a bang with Anderson threading through a ball for Adama Traore, only for the Ivorian's shot to be thwarted by Reds keeper Eugene Galekovic.
In the 51st minute, it was Traore's turn to put Porter through but the Adelaide-born marksman fluffed his lines and scuffed his shot down the throat of Galekovic - and a few moments later the Reds were lucky to escape a goalmouth scramble from a corner as the hosts began to pile on the pressure.
Adelaide captain Travis Dodd had a golden opportunity to give his side the lead in the 64th minute after Iain Ramsay teed him up, and from the top of the box with the goal at his mercy his shot went over the target as well.
Both the Reds and the hosts spurned chance after chance, and not even the debut of former Dutch international Andwele Slory could provide Adelaide with the spark they needed to edge ahead.
The hosts had the better chances late on after Reid's red card, but the draw will feel more like a loss after their growing injury list claimed two more players - and at the worst possible time with finals football just around the corner.
Gold Coast United 0 Adelaide United 0 Crowd: 2138 at Skilled Park