Wanderers end ALM season with a draw

Macarthur and Western Sydney Wanderers have ended their A-League Men seasons on a frustrating note after being forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Campbelltown Stadium.

After Jarrod Carluccio’s maiden ALM goal was cancelled out by Tomi Juric’s 55th minute penalty, the contest’s fiery nature obscured its status as a dead rubber for both teams.

With their hopes of finals already dashed, the point earned by the Bulls means Sydney must beat Brisbane on Tuesday to move past them into seventh.

Such movement would merely represent a re-arranging of the deck chairs on the table, however, with neither side at risk of falling into a playoff for a spot in the 2022 Australia Cup.

Wanderers, though, were already confirmed to be taking part in those fixtures and thanks to their 10th-placed finish will now host Brisbane next week.

Their final tally of 27 points is their lowest since 2018-19 and their 30 goals scored their smallest return since 2014–15.

Catching defender James Meredith flat-footed to head home after the pair had initially battled for a cross, Carluccio opened the scoring in the 10th minute of Sunday’s contest.

Dimi Petratos should have made it 2-0 in the 37th but, inexplicably, his close-range volley off a Carluccio cross was sliced over the bar.

Wanderers keeper Tomas Mejías was kept on his toes as the Bulls pushed for an equaliser in the exchanges that followed, but there was little he could do about Juric’s spot-kick.

VAR had intervened to award the Socceroo striker the attempt after contact between he and Mark Natta as they competed for a corner was initially waved away.

Wanderers were again haunted by VAR in the 86th minute when it ruled out what would have been a late winner from Tomer Hemed.

Hemed had another chance in the 95th but was denied by a fine save from Filip Kurto.