Wanderers out as action-packed defeat to Adelaide ends Finals Series dream
A 10-man Western Sydney Wanderers have had their Finals Series hopes crushed after a dramatic 3-2 loss to Adelaide United left them outside the top six.
Keanu Baccus was sent off after a rollercoaster four-goal first half at ANZ Stadium and the Reds seized the advantage to deliver a late hammer blow through Ryan Kitto, who confirmed his side would take winning form into next weekend's blockbuster Elimination Final away to Melbourne Victory.
The hosts earlier had the chance to go ahead on the stroke of half-time, but Oriol Riera - who broke the deadlock with a 16th-minute penalty - had a second spot-kick batted away by Paul Izzo.
That came after Western Sydney battled back into the match courtesy of Marcelo Carrusca's equaliser, Baba Diawara and Daniel Adlung having overturned Riera's opener.
But the Wanderers fell away after the interval and their chances of a late rally were finished in a frustrating final half-hour that ended with them finishing seventh, two points behind a Brisbane Roar side now bound to face Melbourne City.
STORY OF THE GAME
- GOAL! Wanderers' first real attack leads to the opener as Riera wins and then converts a penalty.
- GOAL! It's back to square one for Western Sydney after Diawara clinically exploits a prone back four.
- POST: Wanderers almost hit back immediately as Carrusca sees a finish come back off the upright, before Chris Ikonomidis is denied on the follow-up by Paul Izzo.
- GOAL! Adlung sends a scare through the hosts, picking out the top left corner to give Adelaide the lead.
- GOAL! But it's all square again as Carrusca quickly comes to Western Sydney's rescue with the fourth goal of the half.
- PENALTY SAVED! Extraordinary! Ikonomidis is tripped by Ersan Gulum, sending Riera to the spot for a second time. But he's denied on this occasion as Izzo picks the right way and palms the attempt around the left post.
- CHANCE: Raul Llorente slices high and wide after Izzo failed to claim a cross.
- RED CARD! The younger Baccus is dismissed on the hour for kicking out in a tangle with Absalonsen.
- CHANCE: Alvaro Cejudo receives the ball in a good area, but his shot inside the box is tame.
- GOAL! Kitto effectively kills off the contest by putting Adelaide into the lead with 10 minutes to play.
- POST: Kitto goes close to a quickfire second, but his low bullet comes back off the base of the upright.
- CHANCE: Substitute Brendon Santalab heads around the near post.
Oriol Riera (p), Western Sydney Wanderers 16: 1-0
Izzo compounded his failure to hold Cejudo's shot by collecting Riera as the striker followed in on the loose ball. The Spaniard dusted himself off and converted low into the bottom left corner from the resultant spot-kick.
Baba Diawara, Adelaide United 21': 1-1
Absolutely sublime outside-of-the-boot finish from Diawara after Wanderers' high line is exposed by Jordan Elsey's terrific route-one ball in behind.
Daniel Adlung, Adelaide United 39': 1-2
Nathan Konstandopoulos dribbles past three markers before his finish is blocked, but the ricochet breaks for Adlung to fire off his left and into the top corner from the edge of the area.
Marcelo Carrusca, Western Sydney Wanderers 42': 2-2
Llorente overlaps on the left and swings a superb curling cross into the centre that the late-arriving Carrusca nods home.
Ryan Kitto, Adelaide United 80': 2-3
Western Sydney are caught out on the counter as Konstandopoulos feeds the ball right to Nikola Mileusnic, whose low ball in from the right is tucked away by Kitto.