‘Utter madness!’ Historic first in Adelaide as Reds and Wanderers play out eight-goal thriller

Was that the game of the Isuzu UTE A-League season?

Adelaide United and Western Sydney Wanderers played an instant classic, with the final score ending 4-4 at Coopers Stadium – a competition first.

Three times Adelaide led and three times they were pegged back by a dogged 10-man Wanderers outfit – who also led once – snatching a point in the dying moments thanks to a moment of magic from Tunisian international Amor Layouni.

“A game that started off pretty soberly, but then descended into utter madness,” Network 10 commentator Simon Hill said at the final whistle.

And Hill couldn’t have summed it up better.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 19: Morgan Fernand Gérard Scheiderlin of the Wanderers kicks into ther Adelaide wall during the round 17 A-League Men’s match between Adelaide United and Western Sydney Wanderers at Coopers Stadium, on February 19, 2023, in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Incredibly, it looked as if the game was going to meander out into a game of few and far between chances with the scores remaining level inside the opening 32 minutes.

But the game descended into chaos after Hiroshi Ibusuki gave Adelaide the lead from the spot in the 32nd minute – with the goals flying into the back of the net in their bucket loads from then on.

Brandon Borrello’s stunner brought the game level – but a goal to Alexandar Popovic gave Adelaide the lead just before half-time.

Borrello would bring the Wanderers level again with a cracking goal and Calem Nieuwenhof would soon after give Western Sydney the lead. However, Ibusuki responded once more, equalising with a bullet header before Ryan Kitto gave Adelaide the lead with time expiring.

It looked to be all three points wrapped up for Adelaide when Adama Traore was sent off for the Wanderers but Layouni shocked the home fans with an incredible debut goal to snatch a point at the death.

Amor Layouni of the Wanderers`celebrates a goal during the A-League Men’s soccer match between Adelaide United and the Western Sydney Wanderers at Coopers Stadium in Adelaide, Sunday, February 19, 2023. (AAP Image/Matt Turner)

“Crazy game,” Wanderers’ Morgan Schneiderlin told Network 10 post-game after his first start with the club.

“From our point of view, I think when you come away from home and concede four goals, you need a miracle to come away with a point and that’s what we did. We played better in the second-half, I think we played good.

“We were controlling the game, then we conceded two stupid goals, talking about stopping the crosses, we don’t stop the crosses.

“We conceded four goals, we are happy to come away with a point, but we need to be better doing those kind of things.

I prefer to win a boring game of football 1-0 sometimes you know! For you it’s good when you watch on TV and as a spectator but as a player it’s painful sometimes because we need to work very, very hard and sometimes we need to make life easier for us.

Meanwhile, Adelaide’s Kitto, who scored his third goal in four games, said it was disappointing that his side was unable to come away with the three points.

“Probably a good one to watch for the fans but disappointing,” Kitto told Network 10.

“To be in the lead at the end and then to be a man up, it’s two points lost. It just disappointing at the moment.

“We will be disappointed with the back-four and collectively as a team. It’s definitely something we can improve on and we have to next week against Victory.”

Both teams, who are right in the mix for a top-two spot, missed a golden opportunity to leap-frog second-placed Central Coast Mariners on the table.

As a result, Adelaide remains in third and goal-difference behind the Mariners, while the Wanderers are two points further back in fourth.