Wanderers go top despite stalemate at home

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Western Sydney have moved to the top of the A-League table for now but will rue their missed opportunities in a 0-0 draw against a dogged Adelaide United.

Despite the home side’s second half dominance the game will be best remembered for a controversial diving incident.

In the 11th minute Adelaide right winger Bruce Kamau was adjudged by Japanese referee Takuto Okabeto to have dived on the edge of the box despite beating goalkeeper Liam Reddy to the ball.

Reddy left a leg outstretched however Kamau made the decision to avoid the full brunt of contact through diving over Reddy’s leg. Rather than a free kick and a red card going against Western Sydney, Kamau was instead booked for simulation.

Apart from that incident the first half was a cagey fair offering few chances for either side. Kamau, Mitch Nichols and Romeo Castelen all fired wide of the target, leaving Reddy and Eugene Galekovic with little to do.

The home side took control in the second half. Nichols and Castelen were incisive but were ultimately left frustrated by the discipline of the stingiest defence in the competition having conceded just 26 goals this season.

Dylan McGowan was particularly impressive, highlighted by a crucial block on Mark Bridge.

For all their dominance Western Sydney lacked a quality finish and Vidosic will be disappointed with his tame header straight at Galekovic on 77 minutes.

Popovic introduced ‘super sub’ Brendon Santalab into the fray with fifteen minutes left and he came close with a header after a mix up between Craig Goodwin and Galekovic. Goodwin was fortunate to chest Santalab’s tame header onto the crossbar as he stood in the way of Galekovic’s attempted save.

The Wanderers’ best chance came right at the death as Bridge fired narrowly wide of the far post from 12 yards.

Despite the lack of a finish, 57% of possession and 385 completed passes shows the transformation Western Sydney have made to their style of play after a terrible 2014-15 campaign. The Spanish influence of Andreu and Dimas in central midfield has ensured the ‘route one’ counter attacking style of the Wanderers past has been left behind.

The stalemate means there is still just two points separating the top four sides in what is a thrilling race for the premier’s plate.

WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS: 3. JAMIESON Scott, 4. TOPOR-STANLEY Nikolai, 6. NICHOLS Mitch, 7. CASTELEN Romeo, 8. DIMAS, 12. NEVILLE Scott, 16. SOTIRIO Jaushua, 17. ALBERTO, 18. ANDREU, 19. BRIDGE Mark, 30. REDDY Liam.

SUBS: 2. COLE Shannon, 10. VIDOSIC Dario, 11. SANTALAB Brendon, 15. BACCUS Kearyn, 20. REDMAYNE Andrew.

ADELAIDE UNITED: 1. GALEKOVIC Eugene, 2. MARRONE Michael, 3. LA ROCCA Iacopo, 4. McGOWAN Dylan, 6. MAUK Stefan, 8. ISAIAS 9. CIRIO Sergio, 11. DJITE Bruce, 14. MELLS George 16. GODWIN Craig, 24. KAMAU Bruce.

SUBS: 12. OCHIENG Mark, 17. DUGANDZIC Mate, 20. HALL John, 25. TONGYIK Ruon, 29. MCGREE Riley.

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