Reds climb to third after Phoenix draw

Adelaide United FC has jumped up to third on the Hyundai A-League ladder following an entertaining 2-2 draw with the Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium.

Adelaide United FC has jumped up to third on the Hyundai A-League ladder following an entertaining 2-2 draw with the Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium.

The result could have been more favourable for the Reds as they led twice courtesy of superb strikes from Tomi Juric and Marcelo Carrusca.

But both times the Phoenix responded and in the end it was a gritty performance from a Reds outfit that had to hold the home side out with ten men for the final 21 minutes after Jon McKain was sent off.

The stalemate sends the Reds equal on points with Melbourne Victory but ahead on goal difference with five rounds remaining.

Looking for a first away win in seven and a first triumph in Wellington in five attempts, interim United Coach Michael Valkanis gave a first start to Juric as well as exciting youngster Awer Mabil, who at 17 years and 162 days became the youngest non-Australian born player to start a Hyundai A-League match.

Desperate to keep their finals hopes alive, the Phoenix fielded one of their strongest sides of the season, meaning there was plenty at stake in the Reds- first venture to Westpac Stadium since September 2009.

After the Reds sent the Phoenix an early warning sign inside the opening minutes, they deservedly went ahead in the 20th minute.

A well worked move found its way out to the left and Cassio sent a cross in the direction of Juric. Still with work to do, the 21 year old striker positioned himself well to drill a left footed drive past Phoenix keeper Glen Moss and make it two goals from as many games.

The Phoenix came close to levelling moments later but the Reds held on, however in the 31st minute the home side did draw level when Corey Gameiro caught Eugene Galekovic in possession as the Reds captain attempted to clear the ball, which allowed Jeremy Brockie to put away the easiest of his 12 goals this season.

However, it did not take long for the Reds- lead to be restored, Cassio going on a superb slaloming run down the left before squaring the ball for Carrusca and while his first touch was not ideal, it enabled the Argentine to blast an unstoppable half volley into the top corner. The wonder strike was Carrusca-s fourth goal of the season and a worthy contender for one of the goals of Season 8.

In his 150th appearance for the club, Cassio was turning in a trademark performance, the Reds- pocket rocket prominent and playing a hand in both goals.

Galekovic made up for his earlier error as he denied Gameiro, opportunities continuing to come at both ends but there was no further addition to the score at the break.

The Reds were being forced to do some desperate defending as Wellington chased an equaliser early in the second half, before the home side was aided in the 69th minute when McKain was shown his second yellow card of the game and subsequent red card, for a challenge on Vince Lia, leaving United to play out the rest of the game with ten men.

McKain-s red card, the Reds- first of the season, means the defender will miss Saturday-s home game against Brisbane Roar.

An opportunist effort from Brockie went straight into the bread basket of Galekovic as the Reds held onto their lead but in the 80th minute Gameiro, who was proving a constant threat, levelled the game up again as he fired home eight metres.

Galekovic then made up for his earlier blunder as he reeled off a host of sterling saves to deny a late surging Phoenix, first from Gameiro in the 84th minute and then from Paul Ifill to ensure the Reds returned from New Zealand with something to show for their efforts.

Match Details Wellington Phoenix 2 (Brockie 31-, Gameiro 80-) Adelaide United FC 2 (Juric 20-, Carrusca 34-) Referee: Tim McGilchrist Crowd: 4,832 @ Westpac Stadium

Wellington Phoenix starting line-up: 20.Glen Moss (gk), 2.Manny Muscat, 3.Tony Lochhead, 7.Leo Bertos, 8.Paul Ifill, 11.Jeremy Brockie, 16.Louis Fenton (12.Tyler Boyd 83-), 17.Vince Lia (10.Stein Huysegems 75-), 18.Ben Sigmund, 22.Andrew Durante (c), 23.Corey Gameiro Substitutes not used: 1.Mark Paston (gk), 21.Dani Sanchez Yellow Cards: Muscat 58- Red Cards: Nil

Adelaide United starting line-up: 1.Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard, 4.Jon McKain, 6.Cassio, 8.Marcelo Carrusca (18.Fabian Barbiero 83-), 10.Dario Vidosic, 12.Antony Golec, 17.Iain Ramsay, 24.Awer Mabil (23.Evan Kostopoulos 74-), 25.Tomi Juric (14.Cameron Watson 64-) Substitutes not used: 20.Paul Izzo (gk) Yellow Cards: Malik 8-, McKain 5-/69-, Boogaard 79-, Kostopuolos 90+1- Red Cards: McKain 69-