Nikola Mileusnic hit a quickfire brace as 10-man Adelaide United played out an entertaining 2-2 A-League draw against Western Sydney Wanderers at Coopers Stadium.
Nathan Konstandopoulos’ foul on Tarek Elrich gave Oriol Riera the opportunity to score from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time – he only did so after Paul Izzo parried his initial effort.
Mileusnic’s sharp shooting put Adelaide in the ascendancy before Riera found himself at the centre of the game’s main talking point, with Jordan Elsey sent off after an hour.
Bruce Kamau scored a fine equaliser but the Wanderers could not make their numerical advantage count as both teams pushed for a winner.
— Hyundai A-League (@ALeague) December 26, 2018
Western Sydney were the better side early on but almost fell behind when Craig Goodwin’s deflected free-kick looped against the right-hand post.
Izzo made brilliant save from Riera at close quarters in the 43rd minute and denied the Spanish striker once again from the penalty spot, only for the Wanderers star to dispatch his fourth of the season from the rebound.
Adelaide found a swift response three minutes into the second half when Scott Galloway’s low cross took a nick off Josh Ridson to leave Mileusnic with a simple finish at the back post.
Mileusnic made it two goals in seven minutes when he charged onto a slide-rule pass from captain Isaias to nutmeg Nick Suman, the rookie goalkeeper who should have done better.
The Wanderers were reeling but the game turned abruptly once more when Elsey caught Riera with an elbow and was given a second yellow card after a lengthy discussion between the officials.
A minute after the defender walked, Western Sydney were level as Kamau controlled smoothly and lashed an unstoppable strike into the roof of the net.
Izzo stood firm to deny Roly Bonevacia, preserving a point that edges Adelaide up to sixth, still three points better off than Western Sydney in ninth.
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