A late goal from substitute Mitch Austin helped Melbourne Victory hold Adelaide United to a physical 2-all draw at Adelaide Oval, after an unlikely but stunning brace from Vince Lia.

Two beautiful assists from Johan Absalonsen seemingly set up Adelaide for a resilient come-from-behind victory after Besart Berisha’s first strike this season.

But Austin’s late equaliser ensured each side came away with a solitary point.

It was a lukewarm opening ten minutes as a cheap foul on the left hand side handed Melbourne a strong set piece opportunity 12 minutes in.

Leroy George whipped in a stunning cross, leaving Berisha with the simple task of brushing past Blackwood to head the ball to the right of of Paul Izzo.

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From there the Oval continued to heat up. Blackwood was left worse for wear after a high knee from Deng, while a chicken wing tackle from Rhys Williams on Isaias somehow escaped caution.

Adelaide’s responded brightly to Berisha’s opening goal with ex-Victory midfielder Vince Lia grabbing a superb reply ten minutes later.

Absalonsen squared Michael Marrone’s low cross to Lia with the 32-year-old hitting a first-time rocket into the top left corner from just inside the box.

Isaias continued to receive heavy attention from a physical Victory brigade, responding with a scything shot from 30 yards that whizzed past the right.

Absalonsen was cautioned after a professional foul to halt a Victory counter, before the two sides threatened to come together on the brink of half-time after Berisha shoved Jordan Elsey to the ground.

After VAR consultation the Albanian joined the Danish winger in Shaun Evans’ book as the match entered halftime locked at 1-1.

James Troisi and Williams earned yellow cards for respectively poor challenges, before Lia scored his second for the night – just his sixth career strike.

Running down the left, Absalonsen swung a beautiful darting cross to a vacant Lia outside the box and the Reds recruit rewarded the service with an unbelievable pile-driver to Lawrence Thomas’ right.

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The visitors were making chances with continued corner routines, but it was the hosts’ Danish import that continued to look likely as he skied an acrobatic effort.

Melbourne’s continued efforts were rewarded when Austin latched onto a loose ball to level proceedings in the 82nd minute.

Troisi passed inside to Berisha and although his shot was blocked, the ball rolled out to the substitute on the left, who buried the opportunity with his first meaningful contribution.

United had the better of the late chances. Penalty calls fell on deaf ears after Geria seemingly handled Absalonsen’s cross in the dying minutes, before Evans blew the final whistle with the sides locked 2-2.

Adelaide United 1 (Lia 23’, 62’)
Melbourne Victory 1 (Berisha 13’, Austin 82’)

Adelaide Oval (19,416)

Referee: Shaun EVANS
Assistant Referees: George LAKRINDIS & Ashley BEECHAM
Fourth Official: Daniel ELDER

Adelaide United
l. MARRONE Michael, 6. LIA Vince (7. KITTO Ryan 90’), 8. ISAIAS, 11. ABSALONSEN Johan, 14. BLACKWOOD George, 17. MILEUSNIC Nikola (10. MATMOUR Karim 69’), 19. GARUCCIO Benjamin, 20. IZZO Paul (gk), 22. GULUM Ersan, 23. ELSEY Jordan, 37. ADLUNG Daniel (16. KONSTANDOPOLOUS Nathan 85’)

Substitutes: 1. MARGUSH Daniel (gk), 7. KITTO Ryan, 10. MATMOUR Karim, 12. OCHIENG Mark, 16. KONSTANDOPOLOUS Nathan

Melbourne Victory
1. GERIA Jason, 4. WILLIAMS Rhys, 5. MILLIGAN Mark, 6. BROXHAM Leigh, 8. BERISHA Besart, 9. BARBAROUSES Kosta (23. INGHAM Jai 90’), 10. TROISI James, 14. DENG Thomas, 20. THOMAS Lawrence (gk), 21. VALERI Karl, 41. GEORGE Leroy (11. AUSTIN Mitchell 75’)

Substitutes: 1. ACTON Matthew (gk), 11. AUSTIN Mitchell, 18. SANCHEZ Matias, 22. NIGRO Stefan, 23. INGHAM Jai

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