The Western Sydney Wanderers finished the 2018 Calendar year with a draw in Adelaide, albeit having lead at the break, would have wanted to enter the new year with all 3 points.
Goals either side of Nikola Mileusnic’s second-half brace salvaged a point for Western Sydney Wanderers in their 2-2 draw with Adelaide United on Wednesday night.
Oriol Riera got the ball rolling at a scorching Coopers Stadium in first-half injury time when Tarek Elrich was brought down by Nathan Konstandopoulos. Riera had his penalty saved by Paul Izzo, but followed up for his second goal in as many games.
That galvanised Adelaide because, within the space of seven minutes, Nikola Mileusnic had a brace and gave the hosts the lead.
But a Jordan Elsey red card put Adelaide down to ten men, and allowed to Western Sydney to equalise via a Bruce Kamau bullet on 61 minutes.
The Adelaide heat appeared to affect both sides, as the first twenty minutes were bereft of meaningful chances and highlighted by infringements to Keanu Baccus and Elsey.
United had the better of the chances in the first half, with Craig Goodwin’s free-kicks twice striking the wall and twice coming within inches of breaking the deadlock.
While 18 year old debutant Nicholas Suman’s goal lived a charmed life, the same could not be said for Izzo’s.
Konstandopoulos took a heavy touch in his own box and, in attempting to take a second, struck Elrich who had stripped him of possession.
Riera stepped up to the plate, but had his penalty save before burying the follow-up.
Whatever Marco Kurz told his players worked an absolute charm because, on 48 minutes, Nikola Mileusnic grabbed his first goal of the 2018/19 Season and Adelaide’s equaliser.
Scott Galloway swept a dangerous ball across the face of Western Sydney Wanderers’ goal, which fell into the path of Mileusnic.
Two yards out and with an open goal in front of him, the 25-year-old couldn’t miss. Less than seven minutes later, the forward doubled his goal tally for the season.
Isaias drove into Western Sydney’s half, presented with options to his left and right, and fortunately for Mileusnic, his captain chose right putting the goalscorer one-on-one with Suman.
Debutant Suman had no chance as Mileusnic struck the ball through his legs, turning Adelaide’s 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead.
Adelaide’s festivities would be cut short on the hour mark when Elsey went up for an aerial challenge. And just like in the first half, a stray elbow resulted in another yellow card, putting Adelaide down to ten men.
It didn’t take long for Western Sydney to capitalise on their one-man advantage. A minute later, the scores were equal when Risdon cut back the ball to Kamau, who fired into the top-left corner and silenced the Coopers Stadium faithful.
Baccus almost gave Western Sydney the lead on 76 minutes when his shot struck Vince Lia’s chest and sailed goal-ward. Izzo was on his toes, though, and flung across to his left in the nick of time.
After that, neither team would break the deadlock as the game finished 2-2, leaving Adelaide in sixth and Western Sydney in seventh.