Reds and Victory play out thrilling draw

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Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory played out a highly entertaining 2-2 draw at Coopers Stadium on Saturday night in front of a bumper crowd of 16,077.

Goals apiece in both halves confined the game to a draw in what was an even result between two teams who prefer attack to defence. Add to that philosophy the mutual dislike for each other and the crowd was expecting a blockbuster affair. They weren’t let down.

In the opening seven minutes the Reds threw a cascade of crosses in front of Victory’s goal, but they were adequately dealt with by the visiting defenders.

Then in the eighth minute Victory stopped its opponent’s momentum through Ben Khalfallah, who’s expertly driven low shot silenced the capacity crowd.

Having received the ball from the delicate touch of Gui Finkler, Khalfallah marched towards goal and belted his shot to the right of Eugene Galekovic to find the back of the net.

Not only were the crowd stunned but so were the hosts, and from then on Adelaide couldn’t stream together the forward passes they were known for in the first half of the season. Hopeful balls the length of the pitch became the order of the day, and aside from an audacious and almost successful attempt from Jimmy Jeggo from miles out, Nathan Coe wasn’t challenged in goal.

But in the 43rd minute the Reds were back as Pablo Sanchez put his head on the equaliser. Collecting Sergio Cirio’s cross over an out of position Coe, Sanchez climbed over his marker and headed in from point blank range, and the enthusiastic Adelaide crowd had reason to celebrate the impending intermission.

After the break the madness resumed, but the Reds enjoyed a great deal more possession as they tried to break down the Victory defence. Eventually they did exactly that after Dylan McGowan – the most unlikely of candidates – managed to a strike a shot into Leigh Broxham’s chest which ricocheted into the back of the net. Just moments prior his first effort was expertly saved by Coe, but the follow up couldn’t be dealt with and Coopers Stadium erupted.

But the dancing in the aisles was soon brought to a halt by the experience of tormentor Archie Thompson. Adelaide have always struggled to deal with the Victory’s senior marksman, and three minutes after McGowan scored the tradition continued as he stepped past Galekovic to slot in an equaliser after Finkler’s tremendous through-ball.

The final 15 minutes saw both teams push forward for the extra two points, but no winner was found and the league’s oldest rivals shared what was on offer before the game, leaving Victory second on the ladder on goal difference. Adelaide remains in fourth, but will drop to fifth if Perth Glory beats Central Coast on Sunday.

Speaking on the important rivalry tie Josep Gombau said he was happy with the way his team played, but not with the result.

“I am happy with the way that we played, with the football that we put on the park, but I am not happy with the result,” he said.

“I think we deserved more… but I can’t say anything to any player, I think they did very well.”

Victory boss Kevin Muscat was more pragmatic about proceedings, saying going home with a point was a fair result.

“I though in the scheme of things we scored two outstanding goals… but it was a tough night for us,” he said.

“Adelaide played very well in what was a big game for them.”

Melbourne Victory will resume its quest for top spot on the ladder when it hosts Central Coast next Friday, whilst Adelaide goes to Newcastle on Sunday.

Adelaide United: 1. Eugene Galekovic (C) (GK), 2. Michael Marrone, 3. Nigel Boogaard, 4. Dylan McGowan, 7. Pablo Sanchez (68’ Miguel Palanca), 8. Isaias, 9. Sergio Cirio, 10. Marcelo Carrusca, 11. Bruce Djite (82’ Craig Goodwin), 18. Jimmy Jeggo, 21. Tarek Elrich

Unused substitutes: Osama Malik, Paul Izzo (GK), Bruce Kamau

Melbourne Victory: 1. Nathan Coe (GK), 2. Jason Geria (45’ Leigh Borxham), 4. Nicholas Ansell, 5. Mark Milligan (C), 7. GUi Finkler, 8. Besart Berisha (89’ Connor Pain), 10. Archie Thompson, 14. Fahid Ben Kalfallah (90 + 1’ Rashid Mahazi), 15. Daniel Georgievski, 17. Mathieu Delpierre, 21. Carl Valeri

Unused substitutes: Lawrence Thomas (GK), Scot Galloway

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