Four goals, a penalty, a red card and two injuries made for a complicated game between Adelaide United and Sydney FC on Friday night. In the end though, the two teams finished on level terms as Corey Gameiro scored in the 82nd minute for a 2-2 draw at the Coopers Stadium. The game was the first for Alessandro del Piero in Adelaide and the crowd of over 15,000 game him a standing ovation when he was subbed out in the 77th minute.
Adelaide had two starters leave through injury in the game's first half-hour with Bruce Djite (groin) and Cirio (hamstring) forced off the field. But Fabio Ferreira scored the first equalizer for the Reds in between the two injuries, canceling out Ranko Despotovic's eighth minute opener. Nick Carle was sent off for Sydney after picking up his second yellow card in the 68th minute, moments before Cirio's replacement, Anthony Costa, was taken down in the box by Matt Jurman. Jake Barker-Daish converted the resulting penalty and Adelaide took the lead for the first time.
Yet it was Gameiro who nodded home the game's final goal from a Nikola Petkovic free kick just eight minutes from time. The goal was the first of the season for the young forward who missed so much time due to a freak injury just prior to the first game of the year. Stealing a point against a decent Adelaide side, especially on the road and down a man over the final twenty minutes, is a good sign for the Sky Blues as they enter the new year. Sydney are now tied on points for third place, though both Melbourne Victory and Central Coast Mariners have a game in hand. Dropping two points from a winning position so late in the game is surely a disappointment for Josep Gombau, though the circumstances certainly make a point a reasonable result given the slew of injuries and suspensions.
Sydney will travel to the suburbs for the Saturday January 11 Sydney Derby with Western Sydney Wanderers while Adelaide will have to go to league leaders Brisbane Roar next weekend without the services of the aforementioned injured players and Osama Malik, who picked up his fifth yellow card of the season.
SYD Despotovic (Garcia) 8'
ADL Ferreira (Lustica) 24'
ADL Barker-Daish (pen) 72'
SYD Gameiro (Petkovic) 82'
Adelaide United: Galekovic; Zullo, Malik, McKain, Elrich; Lustica, Isaias, Barker-Daish; Cirio (Costa 31'), Djite (Mabil 20'), Ferreira (Bowles 78')
Unused substitutes: Izzo, Boogaard
Sydney FC: Janjetovic; Warren (Emerton 69'), Petkovic, Jurman, Bojic; Abbas, Carle, Gligor; Del Piero (McFlynn 77'), Despotovic, Garcia (Gameiro 68')
Unused substitutes: Necevski, Thompson