One of the most bizarre finishes to an A-League match in recent memory has given Adelaide United the most fortuitous of victories at Coopers Stadium on Sunday afternoon against Brisbane Roar; the game finishing two-one after a penalty ended proceedings.

 

That the final kick of significance was a penalty is not the major talking point. It’s how we got there that is.

With what should have been the final move of the match, Adelaide United’s Ben Garuccio scuffed a free kick from an attacking area which floated safely to Michael Theo in Brisbane’s goal. But Theo fumbled it and was harangued, far too enthusiastically, by Dylan McGowan as he mopped up.

Then, for reasons that will probably never be known, Theo jabbed his elbow into McGowan’s head whilst still in the box, and he was sent off and United awarded a penalty. With the scores at one-all, the keeper in the players’ race and Adelaide with a spot-kick in the final seconds of injury time, this was a twist no one saw coming. Sergio Cirio converted and Adelaide had a win laced with spectacular controversy.

Earlier, the affair had proved to be rather dull. Adelaide had gone up on 16 minutes as Papa Diawara put his head behind Marcelo Carrusca’s corner from the near post. The deflection was too quick for Theo and Adelaide had a rare early lead.

They held on to this lead until the hour mark when suspect defending and clumsy goalkeeping allowed the Roar back into the match. Adelaide’s defenders had stood still as Brisbane brought the ball forward, and when it fell to Thomas Kristensen outside the box he decided to try a volley. His shot lacked power though, but for some reason Eugene Galekovic in goal opted to parry it away, which found Corey Brown. He cut back to Jamie MacLaren who tapped in to the open goal and it seemed a draw was on the cards.

That didn’t change when Carrusca got sent off for the Reds in the 82nd minute and Brisbane’s intensity didn’t change. Oh how wonderful a thing is retrospect?

As the game petered out to an underwhelming draw, and the Coopers crowd drifted in and out of sleep, referee Stephen Lucas ripped things wide open with his ambitious call. Theo was livid, Kristensen acting in goal was nervous, and Adelaide ecstatic when the ball hit the back of the net. It was bizarre, and it was totally unforgettable.

The result gives Adelaide a chance of avoiding the wooden spoon, and also leaves Brisbane vulnerable to Perth Glory as the season comes to a close. Adelaide will take on Central Coast Mariners aware next Saturday, while Brisbane hosts Melbourne Victory the same day.

Adelaide United FC: 2 (16’ Diawara, 90+5’ Cirio [p])
Brisbane Roar FC: 1 (60’ Maclaren)

Coopers Stadium

Referee:  Stephen Lucas
Assistant Referees:  Paul Centrangolo, James Tesoriero
Fourth Official: Rick Schneider

Adelaide United FC: 1. GALEKOVIC, Eugene, 2. MARRONE, Michael, 4. McGOWAN, Dylan, 5. REGAN, Taylor, 7. JAE-SUNG, Kim, 9. DIAWARA, Papa (86’ Jordan O’Doherty), 10. CARRUSCA, Marcelo, 11. CIRIO, Sergio, 12. OCHIENG, Mark (58’ Nikola Mileusnic), 18. McGREE, Riley, 21. ELRICH, Tarek (88’ Ben Garuccio)
Substitutes: 17. MILEUSNIC, Nikola, 19. GARUCCIO, Ben, 24. O’DOHERTY, Jordan, 30.  MARGUSH, Daniel, 92. BABALJ, Eli

Brisbane Road FC: 1. THEO, Michael, 5. BROWN, Corey, 6. PAPADOPOULOS, Avraam, 7. KRISTENSEN, Thomas, 9. MACLAREN, Jamie, 10. HOLMAN, Brett, 13. NORTH, Jade (86’ Nicholas D’Agostino), 15. ARANA, Manuel (79’ Shannon Brady), 17. McKAY, Matt (51’ Joe Caletti), 19. HINGERT, Jack, 28. BORELLO, Brandon
Substitutes: 20. BRADY, Shannon, 21. YOUNG, Jamie, 26. D’AGOSTINO, Nicholas, 29. CALETTI, Joe, 46. CRESTANI, Cameron

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