Reds secure finals appearance
Adelaide United has secured its place in the A-League 2020/21 Finals Series after a 2-2 draw against 10-man Western Sydney Wanderers at Coopers Stadium on a freezing Thursday night.
Adelaide broke the deadlock via an own goal before the Wanderers struck twice in eight minutes largely against the run of play.
Tass Mourdoukoutas was then given his marching orders soon after, and Craig Goodwin bagged his eighth goal of the campaign on his 150th A-League appearance to seal an invaluable point.
Adelaide was unrelenting to begin proceedings and forced two diving saves from Daniel Margush through Louis D’Arrigo and Javi López.
The hosts were rewarded for their early endeavour when a slick passing move involving Strain, Al Hassan Toure and Ben Halloran culminated in the right-back’s cross being inadvertently turned in by Ziggy Gordon on 11 minutes.
Eleven minutes later and roles reversed for Strain when he could do little after Bruce Kamau’s shot took a massive ricochet off him from Thomas Aquilina’s low ball.
United then inexplicably trailed, as it happened seemingly out of nothing, when Graham Dorrans set himself and dispatched a stinging 18-yard strike into the far corner which James Delianov could only admire.
The Wanderers were then reduced to 10 men after Mourdoukoutas’ unnecessary tackle on D’Arrigo.
Aquilina struck the upright in the second-half and a minute later Goodwin unleashed a ferocious, swerving drive which Margush adjusted mid-air to divert wide.
Four minutes later, however, he would not be denied courtesy of a thumping half-volley after finishing off Halloran’s deep cross.
Tomi Juric almost put United in front after hitting the near post from his own own.
With four minutes left of regulation time, Halloran struck the side netting after connecting with Josh Cavallo’s cross to almost give the Reds’ the winner and a home elimination final.
However, the Reds will be on the road next weekend in a do-or-die clash as they wait to find out who their upcoming opponents will be.
Michael Marrone and Louis D’Arrigo were the two changes made to the starting XI by Carl Veart, with Jordan Elsey (suspended) and Josh Cavallo making way. Tomi Juric and Yared Abetew returned to the bench.
11’ | GOAL! It is an own goal as Strain’s dinked cross is volleyed into the back of the net from Gordon following some incisive combination play.
22’ | GOAL: At the other end Strain concedes an own goal after Aquilina’s cross is met by Kamau and his shot takes a massive deflection off the defender.
30’ | GOAL: Dorrans gives the visitors a 1-2 lead after controlling the loose ball on the edge of the area before rifling his effort into the bottom corner.
36’ | RED CARD! Mourdoukoutas is sent off for a reckless studs up tackle on D’Arrigo.
56’ | GOAL! Halloran gets his fifth assist when his cross was smashed home by Goodwin with a brilliant near-post finish.
57’ | CHANCE! Juric nods the ball in front of him and fires a strike which crashes off the near upright.
Thursday, 3 June 2021
A-League 2020/21 – Matchweek 24
Adelaide United 2 (Gordan OG 11’, Goodwin 56’)
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Strain OG 22’, Dorrans 30’)
Venue: Coopers Stadium