Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar have defied the elements to play out a fiercely-contested 1-1 draw at Hindmarsh Stadium on Saturday night.

Issey Nakajima-Farran's 60th-minute goal came after his first-half challenge on Fabian Berbiero earned him a yellow card, triggered a melee and saw him cop deafening jeers from the home crowd.

His effort was matched in the 79th minute when Sergio van Dijk thumped a penalty past Brisbane keeper Michael Theoklitos after being controversially brought down in the box by Roar skipper Matthew Smith.

For the Roar, it may not have been the 7-1 thrashing they inflicted on the Reds the last time they met in October, but it’s still a good response after coach Ange Postecoglou branded his players 'cowards', after his side's 3-3 draw against Perth Glory on Wednesday.

With the draw, United are still undefeated across four matches since caretaker coach John Kosmina replaced Rini Coolen at the helm last month.

Both camps started tentatively and were unable to find any real flow or ascendancy.

The first real opportunity came 10 minutes in, when central midfielder Massimo Murdocca had an open shot from the edge of the box, but sprayed it wide.

In the 20th minute Shane Stefanutto chipped to Besart Berisha, whose shot from inside the six-yard box was denied thanks to the razor-sharp reflexes of Reds keeper Eugene Galekovic.

The match was delayed for a couple of minutes mid-way through the first half when Murdocca, after being brought to ground by Zenon Caravella, was lying on the ground in pain, gripping his ankle.

The heavens opened and also had a say in the match, with rain coming down in buckets for much of the half, the ball - and players - skidding and sliding all over the park.

In fact the rain was so bad, at one stage Brisbane's Bahrani defender Mohamed Adnan took a tumble and face-planted into the rain-sodden Hindmarsh turf.

Despite the obstacles, the tempo seemed to lift a notch in the 32nd minute when Berisha's flat, hard strike was well saved by Galekovic.

Less than a minute later on the overlap, United striker van Dijk crossed to Bruce Djite, who only needed to poke a toe-nail on the ball to open the scoring, although his lunging effort drew nothing but fresh air, a golden opportunity lost.

In the 39th minute, Adnan blasted a free kick which was saved by Galekovic, diving to his left, after Adelaide defender Cameron Watson had earlier brought down Nakajima-Farran just outside the box.

Nakajima-Farran was in the thick of the action again in the 42nd minute when he pick-pocketed the ball from Barbiero - who lost his feet and retreated to the bench briefly after falling awkwardly. Barbiero then gave a nice ball to Berisha entering the box. But the Albanian's shot on goal was wonderfully saved by Galekovic, who was well and truly earning his keep.

Barbiero barely had time to blink after re-emerging on the ground when, almost immediately, Nakajima-Farran produced his crude challenge on the Reds midfielder.

Nakajima-Farran earned a yellow for his effort - and the wrath of the parochial home crowd for the rest of the evening - while Barbiero also copped a yellow when his retaliatory shove sent the Canadian sprawling to the ground as tempers flared in the 44th minute.

Several players from both sides joined in the melee, which referee Ben Williams did his best to get in the middle of in an attempt to restore order.

Clearer skies greeted the start of the second half, with both teams still yet to trouble the scorers.

That changed in the 60th minute when Nakajima-Farran broke the deadlock.

Rocky Visconte got around Nigel Boogaard down the left-hand side and with Watson also out of position, centred it to Nakajima-Farran, whose toe-poke evaded Galekovic and found the back of the net.

The Reds threw everything at Brisbane and their persistence was finally rewarded when van Dijk was brought down in the box by Smith, who stumbled into the striker after he seemed to be clipped around the ankles by Bruce Djite.

Despite the controversy, van Dijk still smashed his spot kick into the back of the net in the 78th minute.

Adelaide United 1 (van Dijk 78)
Brisbane Roar 1 (Nakajima-Farran 60)
Crowd: 11,274 at Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide