Adelaide United and Wellington Phoenix have played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Coopers Stadium on a sweltering Sunday afternoon in front of 8313 supporters, in spite of the home side’s statistical dominance.

The Reds enjoyed 27 shots to just eight from Wellington, who were happy to sit back and counter in temperatures almost nudging 40 degrees. The possession was almost even but Adelaide spent a good deal more time in the attacking third, despite the fact that Wellington led for most of the affair.

The Reds took an early lead through teenager Riley McGree, who buried his first A-League goal in the seventh minute. Following a Sergio Cirio run, McGree was fed the ball by Marc Marino, and rifled his shot into the top corner from inside the 18 yard box.

The lead wasn’t to last long though, as Thomas Doyle’s masterful goal just four minutes later silenced the scorched crowd. Stepping around three defenders, Doyle curled a shot to Eugene Galekovic’s near post, which it scraped on its way to the back of the net.

On 37 minutes the ‘Nix had the lead through a delightful counter attack. Shane Smeltz and Kosta Barbarouses teamed up to play the ball out from an Adelaide corner, with the latter finding Roy Krishna with a perfect through ball. The Reds’ appeals for offside went unanswered and Krishna slid his low shot past Galekovic to give his side the lead.

Despite every Adelaide effort, Wellington was able to keep its lead for a majority of the match, mainly due to wasteful final touches from the home side. Sergio Cirio in particular failed to impress for the Reds, twice missing easy shots from close range in the second half.

Half time substitute Nikola Mileusnic was able to find a late equaliser for his side in the 80th minute, when he tapped in to an open goal following Ben Garuccio’s free kick from outside the area. Wellington keeper Glen Moss was left helpless having dived to push the set piece into the bar, and thereafter Mileusnic’s first A-League goal was easy pickings.

The Reds, although no doubt relieved to walk away with a draw despite trailing for so long, will wonder how their dominance again failed to result in victory. All season the reigning champions have failed to finish in the final third and with more shots today than any other game in the season, their inadequacies up front have never been more obvious.

The draw returns Adelaide to the bottom of the ladder and they will front up to second-last Central Coast Mariners on Sunday in Canberra. Wellington drop down to seventh and will look to return to form against Western Sydney at home on Saturday.

 Adelaide United FC: (7’ McGree, 80’ Mileusnic)
Wellington Phoenix FC: (11’ Doyle, 37’ Krishna)

Coopers Stadium

Attendance: 8313

Referee: Peter Green
Assistant Referees: Matthew Cream, Paul Centrangolo
Fourth Official: Daniel Elder

Adelaide United FC: 1. GALEKOVIC, Eugene, 2. MARRONE, Michael (66’ Ryan KITTO), 3. La ROCCA, Iacopo, 4. McGOWAN, Dylan, 7. HENRIQUE (45’ Nikola MILEUSNIC), 8. ISAIAS, 11. CIRIO, Sergio, 13. MARINO, Marc (53’ George MELLS), 18. McGREE, Riley, 19. GARUCCIO, Benjamin, 21. ELRICH, Tarek

Subtitutes: 5. REGAN, Taylor, 14. MELLS, George, 17. MILEUSNIC, Nikola, 20. HALL, John, 22. KITTO, Ryan

WELLINGTON PHOENIX FC: 1. MOSS, Glen, 2. TRATT, Glen, 4. BONEVACIA, Rolieny (66’ Guilherme FINKLER), 5. LOWRY, Ryan, 8. RODRIGUEZ, Alex, 9. BARBAROUSES, Kosta (66’ Mark McGLINCHEY), 17. LIA, Vince, 19. DOYLE, Thomas (19’ yellow card), 21. KRISHNA, Roy, 22. DURANTE, Andrew, 99. SMELTZ, Shane (86’ Hamish WATSON)

Substitutes: 7. FINKLER, Guilherme, 10. McGLINCHEY, Michael, 11. WATSON, Hamish, 20. ITALIANO, Lewis, 23. RIDENTON, Matthew

 

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