Reigning A-League champions Adelaide United snatched a controversial 2-1 win over Brisbane Roar on Sunday.
Sergio Cirio struck the winning goal from the penalty spot in the eighth minute of second-half stoppage time after goalkeeper Michael Theo was sent off when his elbow made contact with Dylan McGowan’s head.
Having used all three substitutes, Roar were forced to put Thomas Kristensen in goal, with the midfielder unable to stop Cirio sealing just a fourth win of the season for the rock-bottom home side at Coopers Stadium.
Tempers flared after the final whistle and the A-League will reportedly investigate clashes in the tunnel between two opposing members of the coaching teams.
Baba Diawara had put Adelaide ahead with a 16th-minute header, but Jamie Maclaren levelled the scores after the break after Eugene Galekovic had saved a Kristensen strike.
The home side lost Marcelo Carrusca to a second yellow card with eight minutes to play, but although Roar looked the more likely to find a late winner, they were undone when McGowan went to ground in the area following minimal contact from Theo, who had been trying to gather a loose ball.
Cirio made no mistake from the spot, meaning Adelaide will have the chance to climb off the foot of the table when they face Central Coast Mariners on March 25. Roar remain in fourth place.
— Hyundai A-League (@ALeague) March 19, 2017
In the later match, Western Sydney Wanderers survived the threat of a late comeback to secure a 3-1 victory over Wellington Phoenix that puts them firmly on course for a top-six finish.
Brendon Santalab scored twice after Nicolas Martinez’s ninth-minute opener to put the home side in a commanding position, and although Guilherme Finkler swept home a free-kick 14 minutes from time, Phoenix could not muster a revival that would prevent them from falling five points behind Wanderers in the table.
It was a particularly special occasion for Santalab, whose double saw him overtake Mark Bridge to become the club’s all-time leading goalscorer with 29 in the league.
— WS Wanderers FC (@wswanderersfc) March 19, 2017
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