Sydney v Adelaide

Round 20 report by Chris Dunkerley
Sydney United v Adelaide United

Adelaide did enough for a win tonight at Edensor Park, including a nicely executed goal by Richie Alagich, except for playing the last 5 minutes. Sydney United snatched a late goal through Brendon Santalab to draw and get out of gaol.

This game had draw written all over it beforehand as both sides couldn't afford to drop all points nor give their opponent the three! Sydney United were back to full-strength and despite their past two losses Adelaide would need to lift to continue their faultering drive into the top 6.

Both sides struggled to get momentum on the heavy pitch, and it wasn't until the 11th minute that some excitement occurred, when Michael Valkanis brought down Brendon Santalab just outside the area, but Sydney United couldn't convert the free kick into a goal. From the play however they won a freekick and Matthew Langdon swiung in the ball to the far post where Joe Vrkic was free but headed over.

In the 14th minute Langdon battled into the area, and laid it back to Zjelko Babic but his shot was wide. In the 19th minute Adelaide got froward but Valkanis headed back toward goal and the keeper covered easily. Perhaps Adelaide's best chance of the half when Adriano Pelligrino knocked in a 28mspeculator which looped over the advancing Liam Reddy and rebounded off the crossbar.

In the 36th minute a scare for Sydney as the excellent Mark Rudan tracked Carl Veart back and cleared the ball, however it sailed a little too close to the right upright for comfort. Some more excitement when speculation raged that Santalab had punched a player, however the referees saw nothing and the game progressed. In the dying moments of the half Aaaron Westervelt sent in his own speculator on the volley from 35m.

In thr 50th minute Kristian Rees gave away a free kick bringing down Santalab 20m out. Langdon couldn't beat the wall, however it came out to Michael Cunico and from his lob Santalab headed wide.

In the 65th minute Mislav Saric clotted a cross to Pelligrino at the far post but instead of turning and shooting he knocked the ball back to an imaginary team-mate.

One minute later Anthony Doumanis shot wide from 5m on the right of the goal. In the 68th minute Sydney's Dean Heffernan shot but David Scarsella in the Adelaide goal touched it just wide.

Adelaide took a deserved lead in the 76th minute when Richie Alagich made a run from midfield, played a one-two with Carl Veart and received the ball back now free in the area, and he made no mistake slotting the ball to the right of Liam Reddy.

Aaaron Goulding got forward and got shot on target one minute later but Reddy easily held it. In the 85th minute Mark Rudan sent a superb ball through, but his attack couldn't capitalise on it. One minute later at the other end substitute Goran Lozanovski shot over the crossbar and it looked like the game would wind down to a win for the visitors.

Out of the blue, Brendon Santalab received the ball and made for goal however he pulled up short when confronted by Goulding, but he glimpsed Scarsella off his line and scooped the ball around Goulding and over the keeper for the equaliser.

Best for Sydney United were Mark Rudan, Michael Cunico, Matthew Langdon, and Brendon Santalab. For Adelaide Kristian Rees, Richie Alagich, and Aaron Goulding contributed well.