“I am so happy by the way that we played and the attitude, even if we don’t win.” - Josep Gombau
Carrusca-s fifth fastest goal in A-League history was not enough to stop Melbourne Heart from taking points off of 10-man Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium as they were held to a 2-2 draw.
Carrusca-s half volley inside the first thirty seconds was scrubbed out by a David Williams penalty and a Dugandzic strike before the in-form Fabio Ferreira rescued a point for the Reds in stoppage time.
The match began in Adelaide-s favour - the team using much of their attacking flare and possession that the league has come to fear over recent weeks to trouble the Heart-s back line.
But the tempo of the match changed dramatically when Tarek Elrich conceded a penalty for obstruction on young forward Stefan Mauk - David Williams convincingly converting the spot-kick to make it 1-1 after 30 minutes.
Three minutes later and the Reds found themselves down to 10 men as Elrich found himself in the referee-s notebook again after an incident off of the ball saw referee Ben Williams award another penalty for the visitors; an effort that was saved by Galekovic.
Tempers continued to boil over on both sides as the Reds struggled to find their passing game, coming close to but not overly troubling Tando Velaphi in the Heart goal.
And it was the visiting side who breached Adelaide-s defence again just before half time, with Dugandzic latching on to a ricocheted effort; volleying straight past Galekovic and putting the Heart up 2-1 at half time.
The second term brought with it a chance for Adelaide to regain the momentum and tempo normally felt at Coopers, but the Heart were resilient in defence and threatening on the counter.
Jeronimo, who replaced Michael Marrone after he suffered a serious leg injury from a tumble after two minutes, was Adelaide-s greatest chance at getting back into the game with the forward creating and taking many shots on goal.
The fruitless attempts sprung Coach Gombau to his feet and he was quick to bring on the light-footed Mabil in a desperate search of a goal.
Gombau had a lot of praise for his players after a tough match throughout.
“I was happy for the way that we played rather than the result.
“Marrone came off and for us that was a problem and it is a serious injury, maybe he-s out for 3-4 months.
“The ten men, the two penalties, the whole game we are losing 2-1 but we want to attack, we want to win.
“I am so happy by the way that we played and the attitude, even if we don-t win.”
His substitution almost immediately paid off as Mabil sent a deadly ball straight across the face of goal and onto the waiting boot of Ferreira, the goal in the second minute of stoppage time, sent the huge, vocal crowd into rapture, saving the Reds- blushes against an inspired Heart side.
While the Reds did not enjoy the free-flowing football of recent weeks, they worked hard to overcome the challenges Heart threw at them to claim a well-earned point and a very firm foot in the finals series.
Report by Adam Trombetta