A first Hyundai A-League goal from Osama Malik may not have been enough to take all three points but it was enough to help Adelaide United to a gutsy 1-1 draw with Perth glory at nib Stadium.
In his 50th Hyundai A-League appearance for the club and 73rd overall (he played 23 games for the now defunct North Queensland Fury), Malik’s 53rd minute header broke the deadlock before Glory substitute Chris Harold equalised with a header of his own at the other end in the 69th minute to leave both sides with a share of the spoils.
While the result ended a three game losing streak for the Reds, Coach Josep Gombau will be thinking his team could well have taken all three points as it had the better of the chances across the 90 minutes on a hot afternoon in Perth.
Gombau put the challenge to his players during the week to respond after their previous outing and they did not let him down as they matched it with the home side on the day that Perth marquee, former French international William Gallas, made his Hyundai A-League debut after being introduced for the final 30 minutes.
The Reds controlled the early exchanges but it was the Glory with the best of the opening chances, the best coming to Nagai as he forced a fine diving save from Eugene Galekovic.
But with McKain marshalling the defence and Isaias providing much of the link up to midfield, the Reds created some openings themselves, Jeronimo firing just wide of Danny Vukovic’s far post from an acute angle after holding off his marker before Cassio had an even better chance from closer distance but Perth had their keeper to thank for keeping the shot out with his leg.
Just when it appeared goals would be hard to come by on a day when players were wary of conserving energy in the hot conditions, Malik bobbed up to silence the home fans with an expertly taken header to beat Vukovic.
In front the Reds braced for a Glory surge and it came, and just when United appeared to have soaked up the pressure, a defensive lapse allowed and unmarked Harold to angle his header just inside Galekovic’s left hand post to level the scores.
Substitutes Jake Barker-Daish and Awer Mabil both had an opportunity to cover themselves in glory in the final 10 minutes, the former mistiming a shot from just outside the area before Cassio teed up Mabil from eight metres but the youngster’s drive was superbly saved by Vukovic.
A frenetic final five minutes of stoppage time almost saw both sides snatch a late winner but in the end they would be made to be satisfied with a point.
The Reds’ second of a three game stetch away from home comes next Saturday night against Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium.
Perth Glory 1 (Harold 69’)
Adelaide United FC 1 (Malik 53’)
Referee: Shaun Evans
Crowd: 8,574 @ nib Stadium
Perth Glory line-up: 1.Daniel VUKOVIC (GK), 4.Ryan EDWARDS, 5.Steve PANTELIDIS (36.William GALLAS 61’), 7.Jacob BURNS (c) (6.Cameron EDWARDS 65’), 8.Ryo NAGAI, 10.Jamie MACLAREN (17.Chris HAROLD 54’), 14.Steven McGARRY, 16.Sidnei SCIOLA MORAES, 21.Scott JAMIESON, 23.Michael THWAITE, 24.Matthew DAVIES
Substitutes not used: 3.Brandon O’NEILL,18.Jack DUNCAN (GK)
Yellow Cards: Thwaite 78’
Red Cards: Nil
Adelaide United starting line-up: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (GK) (c), 4.Jon McKAIN, 5.Osama MALIK, 6.CASSIO, 7.JERONIMO (17.Awer MABIL 72’), 8.ISAIAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA (19.Jake BARKER-DAISH 70’), 13.Steven LUSTICA, 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Fabio FERREIRA (23.Jordan ELSEY 90’)
Substitutes not used: 12.Antony GOLEC, 30.John HALL (GK)
Yellow Cards: Ferreira 57’, Malik 58’
Red Cards: Nil