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Reds secure point in Wanderers stalemate

Western Sydney and Adelaide United have held each other scoreless on Saturday night, with a 0-0 draw enough for the Wanderers to return to the top of the A-League table.

Tony Popovic elected to make no changes to the squad that snuck past Newcastle 1-0 at Hunter Stadium in round 23, with the team remaining injury and suspension free.

For the visiting Reds, however, Guillermo Amor was down to a bare bones squad due to both suspensions and injuries.

Elsey and Carrusca were unavailable and replaced by Isaias and Bruce Kamau, with youngsters Mark Ochieng, Ruon Tongyik and Riley McGree drafted in to join Mate Dugandzic as options off the substitutes bench.

The first half provided few chances on goal, as both sides battled for superiority in a tight affair between two top-six sides.

There was controversy, however, in the 11th minute, when a ball over the top of the Wanderers’ defence found the onrushing Bruce Kamau in space and onside.

With Liam Reddy advancing, Kamau took a touch to round the goalkeeper but was brought to ground just outside the penalty area. Quizzically, Japanese referee Takuto Okabe ruled against Kamau for simulation, issuing the perplexed forward with a yellow card and saving Reddy from what likely should have been a straight red card.

The Mitch Nichols and Romeo Castelen combination was working well for the Wanderers in the first half, but neither could find a path through a stubborn Reds defence.

Bruce Djite had a chance for Adelaide on the half hour mark, but after bringing down a quality cross from Sergio Cirio on his chest, Djite’s shot was well blocked.

Match Details Full match details »

Date/Time Sat Mar 19, 2016, 7:30 PMStadium Pirtek StadiumAttendance 15,208Referee Takuto Okabe

Western Sydney

Yellow Card90′ B.Santalab


Yellow Card12′ B.KamauYellow Card43′ E.Galekovic

In the 42nd minute, Adelaide had another chance on the counter-attack, but despite some positive play between Bruce Djite, Cirio and Kamau, the latter’s ball across the face of goal couldn’t be tapped in at the far post.

Almost immediately, Mitch Nichols went close to opening the scoring at the other end of Pirtek Stadium, firing a shot across Eugene Galekovic’s goal and narrowly wide of the upright.

Western Sydney started the second half brightly, controlling possession and launching attack after attack at the Reds defence over the first ten minutes.

Jaushua Sotirio, Nichols and Castelen, yet again, looked the most likely to open the scoring for the hosts.

It was Mark Bridge who went the closest in the 61st minute, though, after latching on to a Castelen cutback inside the box. Bridge’s shot, however, was brilliantly blocked by a lunging Dylan McGowan, with the Reds defender happy to concede the corner in exchange for the score remaining 0-0.

Castelen, too, went close to opening the scoring ten minutes later, but his powerful drive from outside the box whistled just wide of the the upright.

It would be super-sub Brendon Santalab who would usurp both Bridge and Castelen in the 83rd minute, coming the closest to opening the scoring of any player on the pitch.

From a corner, Santalab’s header bounced up onto the post, before rebounding back across goal and into play. Eugene Galekovic was on his toes, however, to deny Dario Vidosic in the nick of time from the rebound.

Deep into four minutes of additional time, Mark Bridge flashed a final shot just inches wide of the post, summing up the closeness of the contest in just a few seconds of play.

Western Sydney now travel to Melbourne to face the Victory on Friday night, while Adelaide return home to Coopers Stadium where they will host the Mariners next Sunday.


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About the author

avatarJustin is a passionate football fan, and the Editor-in-chief of Ultimate A-League.

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  • britesparke

    Adelaide knew that they were going to face an onslaught from the Wanderers at Pirtek and employed an effective defensive strategy. The Wanderers continue to be plagued by front third profligacy, squandering chance after chance, something they simply cannot afford to do against quality sides if they want to take silverware.

    The Reds will be satisfied with a draw after surviving countless raids.