2019-20 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Jordan Elsey (13')
  • Adam Le Fondre (39')

Adelaide United held by Sydney FC in bid for finals place

Adelaide United's bid for an A-League finals berth remains precariously placed after a 1-1 draw with Sydney FC at ANZ Stadium.

Reds defender Jordan Elsey opened the scoring in the 13th minute before Adam Le Fondre responded in the 39th. The draw took sixth-placed Adelaide to 35 points to edge closer to a finals spot and knock Newcastle (30 points with one game to play) out of contention.

Adelaide's Stefan Mauk almost opened the scoring 10 minutes into the game when he unleashed a sizzling strike just past the post.

Three minutes later, Lachlan Brook sent a well-weighted corner into the box and, with the Sydney defence flat-footed, Elsey made the most of a free header and powered home the opening goal.

Milos Ninkovic almost created an equaliser out of nothing at the 25-minute mark, cleverly bringing down the ball and lashing a shot that forced a good save from Paul Izzo.

The Sky Blues were back on level terms before the break with a lightning move. Sydney caught Adelaide on the counter, with young defender Harry van der Saag taking off down the inside-right passage and sliding through a clever ball for Trent Buhagiar, who squared it for Le Fondre to tap home. The English striker's goal drew him level with Melbourne City's Jamie Maclaren on 19 at the top of the golden boot race.

Both goalkeepers shone to keep scores level in the second half. Andrew Redmayne denied Brook's clever strike in the 52nd minute, while Izzo batted away Alexander Baumjohann's effort seven minutes later. Izzo dived to beat Ninkovic's 68th-minute long-range attempt, with Redmayne's reflex save denying Riley McGree four minutes later.

Adelaide defender Michael Jakobsen's superb block prevented Paulo Retre's 87th-minute shot, while Ben Halloran put a late attempt wide in stoppage time.

The Sky Blues were without Luke Brattan (suspension) and Rhyan Grant (groin) while Kosta Barbarouses was dropped to the bench as Buhagiar made his first A-League start for the club. Adelaide young gun Al Hassan Toure was a second-half substitute after recovering from injury.