Reigning champions Melbourne Victory held out for a 0-0 draw with Adelaide United on Friday despite the controversial sending-off of Leigh Broxham.
Captaining the team in place of the injured Carl Valeri, Broxham was handed a second yellow card on 73 minutes for catching Isaias Sanchez with a raised arm while challenging for a header, though the decision looked to be a harsh one.
Chances were few and far between – with only four shots on target throughout the 90 minutes – but a good save from Danny Vukovic in the dying minutes helped Victory secure a point.
The hosts’ 20-year-old goalkeeper John Hall was caught out by Kosta Barbarouses but the offside flag bailed out the home side after an opening 45 minutes of little attacking quality.
Hall was called into action again moments later, denying Gui Finkler with a superb reflex save.
Broxham – booked in the first half for a late challenge on Sergio Cirio – was dismissed midway through the second half after planting his arm on the back of Isaias’ neck as he jumped for a high ball, but United struggled to make their one-man advantage count in the closing stages.
Cirio was denied by a strong parry from Vukovic as the home side broke forward into the area in injury time, but the draw was ultimately a fair result.