Wanderers spring Reds surprise

Western Sydney made it back-to-back wins for the first time this season when they upset Adelaide United 3-1 at Coopers Stadium.

Wanderers opened up a 10-point gap above bottom side Central Coast Mariners, who they beat last time out.

They were inspired by Dutchman Roly Bonevacia, who set up their first goal for Oriol Riera and restored their advantage after Ryan Kitto had levelled.

Adelaide saw Craig Goodwin fail from the penalty spot, with keeper Vedran Janjetovic making a good save.

Riera stooped to head home Bonevacia's free-kick and give the visitors the lead on 12 minutes, while four minutes later Janjetovic kept them in front with the penalty stop.

The Reds missed that chance to equalise, with the penalty having been given for Brendan Hamill's trip on Jordy Thomassen, but a minute before the break Kitto made it 1-1.

He lashed home after Janjetovic came to punch Michael Jakobsen's lofted ball into the box.

Bonevacia had a slice of luck for his goal, with the ball taking a big deflection off Ryan Strain and leaving keeper Paul Izzo wrong-footed.

He claimed his second assist of the match 19 minutes from time, lifting a clever pass in for Abraham Majok to lob the onrushing Izzo.

It's the first time since February 2018 Wanderers have won consecutive matches, but their chances of rallying to make the Finals Series are slim – they are 12 points behind sixth-placed Wellington, with eight rounds to go.

The damage was done over a 10-game spell starting in mid-December when they picked up just two points.

Adelaide are 6/4 to win their next game against Newcastle, who are 7/4 with the draw 23/10.

The Reds are 17/2 to win 1-0.

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Maclaren takes positives from City bow

A goal on his starting return to the A-League delighted Melbourne City striker Jamie Maclaren.

The Australia international was brought in for his bow alongside Tottenham Hotspur loanee Shayon Harrison in City's 1-1 draw at home to Adelaide United.

Maclaren scored with a close-range backheel to cancel out Craig Goodwin's header for United.

It came when Luke Brattan capitalised on a tired Adelaide clearance, forcing a turnover from keeper Paul Izzo and delivering a low cross that Maclaren converted.

The striker said it had been a dream start, adding: "It was a great ball from Brattsy; obviously scoring is great and it's been a tough week for us. To score in front of my family is amazing.

"It was a bit nitty gritty but my job was to press hard and try to force mistakes, there are positives to take from it."

Coach Warren Joyce felt City had started slowly but then worked their way into the game and created good chances.

"We've played well the past few weeks and often got no points, but Shay (Harrison) did well, a good performance from (Maclaren), he's had a lot of jet lag and had to integrate into a new group, so they've done brilliantly," he said.

City missed the chance to leapfrog United into the top four. But they were at least able to maintain their two-point gap, having lost their previous two games against Wellington Phoenix and Sydney FC without scoring.

They now have a spell of four away games out of five rounds, including the Melbourne derby against Victory on 23rd February.

Melbourne City are 9/1 to win the Grand Final.

Adelaide United are 8/13 to win their next game against Western Sydney, who are 4/1 with the draw 3/1.

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Kurz frustrated by Reds’ display

Marco Kurz says Adelaide United failed to follow his instructions in the second half when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Melbourne City.

The Reds coach was happy with what he saw from his team in the first half-hour at AAMI Park, and they took the lead through Craig Goodwin's header.

Had they heeded the coach's half-time advice, they may well have held on to earn a win that would moved them to within three points of third-placed Sydney FC.

But Adelaide conceded a goal to new City signing Jamie Maclaren, being punished for their inability to play out from the back.

Kurz said he felt the draw was a fair result, but added: "I think in the second-half we played not so well and not good enough for the victory. I think we started well and played well for first 30 minutes and then we lost a little bit of the control of the game but we scored a goal.

"At half-time we said we must look forward and play the ball to our offensive players, but it was completely different, we played more back."

The draw kept United inside the top four with nine games left in the regular season, and if they can remain there they will have a home game in the Finals Series.

Kurz gave Dutch recruit Jordy Thomassen his debut and saw him play the full 90 minutes.

"At this point the performance was okay, I think he has enough space to improve again and to adapt but he's a good person," said the coach. "And I hope he can give us a lot of quality in the future."

United have now suffered just one defeat in 10 matches, and the draw extended their unbeaten run to five games.

Adelaide are 12/1 to win the Grand Final.

The Reds are 8/13 to win their next game against Western Sydney, who are 4/1 with the draw 3/1.

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City hit back to hold Adelaide

New signing Jamie Maclaren found the net on his Melbourne City debut to earn a 1-1 draw at home to Adelaide United.

The Australia international grabbed an equaliser at AAMI Park with a cheeky close-range finish to keep City two points off the top four.

Adelaide took a first-half lead through Craig Goodwin's ninth goal of the season, his header ruled to have crossed the line as it came back off the woodwork.

Maclaren got on the scoresheet midway through the second half on his return to the A-League.

It came from a turnover as Adelaide keeper Paul Izzo failed to get the ball clear from his six-yard box and Luke Brattan squared the ball, Maclaren guiding it home with a back-heel.

Adelaide, who brought in Jordy Thomassen for his debut as one of three changes to the starting side, started the better of the teams.

Maclaren and Brattan had efforts that flashed past the far post later in the half, but it was United who broke the deadlock.

Thomassen fed Mileusnic and when he whipped in his cross it was met by the head of Goodwin.

The visitors lost Mileusnic to an ankle injury just before the hour mark, just after surviving a close call.

Scott Galloway failed to get proper distance on his headed clearance and the ball fell invitingly for Shayon Harrison who blazed over the bar.

United extended their unbeaten streak to five matches, and closed the gap to third-placed Sydney FC to five points.

They will look for a fourth consecutive home victory when they host struggling Western Sydney next time out.

Adelaide are 12/1 to win the Grand Final.

The Reds are 8/13 to win their next game against Western Sydney, who are 4/1 with the draw 3/1.

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Wanderers end victory wait

Western Sydney earned their first win in two months as they scored in each half to beat Central Coast 2-0 at Spotless Stadium.

The meeting between the A-League's bottom two teams went the way of Markus Babbel's side by the same scoreline as their last victory on 7th December.

And it leaves the Mariners in increasing danger of finishing bottom of the table for the second straight season.

The Gosford club have a six-point deficit at the foot of the table, having failed to take any of their chances against Wanderers and having fallen to a ninth straight away defeat.

The clean sheet was a welcome boost for Babbel's team, who had conceded 11 goals in their last three games.

Mariners keeper Ben Kennedy made a diving save to deny Oriol Riera midway through the first half, and the Spaniard was out of luck again at the end of the half when he headed against the post from close range.

Wanderers did take the lead just before the interval, though, as Tarek Elrich sent in a curling cross which eluded everyone including Kennedy as it bounced off the woodwork and into the net.

It was the 32-year-old's first goal in Wanderers colours and first in two years.

The Mariners threatened an equaliser on 56 minutes when Matt Millar had a volley tipped over by keeper Vedran Janjetovic.

Once they doubled their lead 13 minutes from time, though, the hosts looked secure.

It arrived when Roly Bonevacia put Jaushua Sotirio into space on the counter, and the attacker finished coolly to Kennedy's left.

Wanderers lost Kwame Yeboa to a suspected groin injury early in the first half.

Western Sydney are 4/1 to win their next game against Adelaide United, who are 8/13 with the draw 3/1.

Wanderers are 16/1 to win 1-0.

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Thomassen set for Reds bow

Dutch striker Jordy Thomassen is set for his Adelaide United debut when the Reds take on Melbourne City on Saturday.

Coach Marco Kurz says the new signing, who joined on loan last week from De Graafschap, is ready to play at AAMI Park.

United are considering starting him against Warren Joyce's side in a match that could be crucial to their chances of claiming a top-four spot, with the Reds currently in fourth place, two points clear of City going into the final 10 rounds.

Kurz said the squad had made Thomassen feel comfortable at the start of his first stint outside Europe.

"Jordy is 100 per cent and it looks like he's a good player and we'll give him time to come into the team," he added. "I don't know if he'll start or not, but he's ready for a starting position or also ready to come from the bench."

The coach said of the 25-year-old: "There's maybe a lot of pressure on the boy. I'm sure he'll be fine because he's alert, he's focused, he's asked questions and he'll learn quickly."

Thomassen had a successful spell with Helmond Sport between 2016 and 2018, netting 25 goals in 75 games.

Adelaide have earned three wins and a draw from their last four matches, but their last two victories have come the hard way.

They trailed at home to both bottom side Central Coast and second-bottom Brisbane Roar before scoring injury-time winners.

United are 19/10 to win their game against City, who are 11/8, with the draw 5/2.

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Harrison has ‘chemistry’ with Maclaren

Young striker Shay Harrison feels he's made a connection straight away with fellow new signing Jamie Maclaren at Melbourne City.

Harrison has signed on a loan deal for the rest of the season from Tottenham Hotspur, where he was in the under-23 side.

He has embraced the chance for senior football on the other side of the world, signing on the last day of the transfer window and flying to Australia the next day.

The 21-year-old has had his international clearance and could come into Warren Joyce's squad for Saturday's home clash with Adelaide United.

City weren't able to offload unsettled striker Bruno Fornaroli during the transfer window but were determined to strengthen their forward line – they've scored the fewest goals of any of the top-six sides.

Harrison has joined along with Maclaren, who had been on loan at Hibernian from German side Darmstadt.

He said: "I think myself and Jamie will make a big impact, both being very forward-thinking, attacking-minded players.

"We've been working on the training field and instantly we've got a chemistry; we'll be looking to show that on Saturday."

City have lost their last three away games, but their home record is good with just one defeat and five victories.

Harrison, who watched his new team in their 2-0 defeat to Sydney FC last time out, says his target is to score as many goals as possible between now and the end of his loan spell.

"I'm very direct with an eye for goal; obviously being a striker I like to get in behind and get at defenders," he added. "I really want to show what I'm about."

Melbourne City are 8/1 to win the Grand Final.

City are 5/4 to win their next game against Adelaide United, who are 19/10 with the draw 13/5.

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Kurz hails Reds spirit

Adelaide United coach Marco Kurz hailed his team's character after seeing them come from three goals down to beat Brisbane Roar 4-3.

The Reds looked to be in an impossible situation late in the first half, when they trailed 3-0 with Ken Ilso already sent off.

They thrilled the Coopers Stadium crowd, though, with one of the greatest comebacks in A-League history that was completed in the 97th minute by Nikola Mileusnic's headed winner.

Kurz admitted after the game he'd needed to have "very loud" words with his players at half-time.

Though captain Isaias had scored from a free-kick just before the break to make it 3-1, the German coach needed more of a response from the team.

"It was not easy to come back in this game but I was very loud at half-time," said Kurz. "Because I hate it when we stopped playing and stopped believing, because I saw in the first-half not a better team from Brisbane, I saw after we conceded the first goal I saw that our body language dropped."

The coach said he'd made the point to the players at the interval that they needed to win the second half, and they were able to do so in part due to the Roar having two of their own players sent off.

Adelaide have now lost just one of their last nine games, and Kurz said he was delighted with what he'd seen in the second half.

"The team is fantastic, the character is fantastic and I'm very proud about them," he added.

"And I hope we learn in the next week we can concede in every game an early goal or respect a tough decision that sees us play with ten but you cannot stop to play.

"I think what we did very well in the second-half, the ball speed was good, we waited for the right moments and to trust and believe and jump for the crosses."

Adelaide are 19/10 to win their next game against Melbourne City, who are 5/4 with the draw 13/5.

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Roar squander three-goal lead

Brisbane Roar squandered a three-goal lead to lose 4-3 to Adelaide United, where they finished with nine men.

The visitors had Dane Ingham and keeper Jamie Young sent off in the second half at Coopers Stadium, and contrived to throw away what had looked a sure-fire win.

They led the Reds 3-0 when Adam Taggart drilled a low shot beyond the dive of keeper Paul Izzo two minutes before the break. And they also had a one-man advantage, with Adelaide having had Ken Ilso sent off after just nine minutes.

The Dane was given a straight red card by referee Alex King, after catching Brisbane captain Matt McKay on the shin.

The situation got steadily worse for Adelaide for the next half hour, first when Henrique was slipped through by Taggart and rounded Izzo to give the Roar a 22nd-minute lead.

Dylan Wenzel Halls notched his first A-League goal 16 minutes later, finishing decisively after the ball ricocheted off Ryan Strain.

Taggart's long-range effort increased United's hurt, but they grabbed a lifeline in first-half injury time when Isaias netted from a free-kick.

Their hopes increased with the Roar had Ingham dismissed for a second bookable offence.

The sending-off was a needless one, for kicking the ball away, while Young's minutes later was clear-cut as he took out Craig Goodwin when he rushed out of his penalty area.

Now with a man advantage of their own, Adelaide's belief increased when Goodwin made it 3-2, following up after his free-kick was blocked by the wall.

Goodwin's 75th-minute cross gave George Blackwood the chance to nod past substitute keeper Brendan White and level the scores.

United completed their comeback deep in stoppage time, Nikola Mileusnic heading past White from fellow substitute Carlo Armiento's cross.

Brisbane Roar are 7/2 to win their next game against Sydney FC, who are 8/11 with the draw 14/5.

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Thomassen bolsters Reds squad

Adelaide United have signed Dutch striker Jordy Thomassen on loan for the rest of the A-League campaign.

The Reds, who are just one point outside the top four, beat the transfer deadline to bring in the 25-year-old from De Graafschap.

Thomassen joined the Dutch Eredivisie side last year after scoring 25 goals in 75 games for Helmond Sport.

Adelaide's director of football Aurelio Vidmar said of him: "Jordy is a young striker who is very strong. He is an aerial threat being 189cm tall, but is also comfortable striking the ball with both feet.

"At just 25, Jordy is a hungry and determined footballer who has been doing well in the Netherlands over the last few seasons."

Thomassen said he was excited to be joining Marco Kurz's side as they prepare for a Finals Series campaign – the Reds have an 11-point cushion inside the top six.

"The team is in a good position in the league and, from the games that I have watched, I can see it is playing some quality football," said the forward.

"I had the option to remain in Europe with other clubs, but after speaking with the club and also Marco Kurz, the football and direction of the team is something I wanted to be part of."

United have lost just one of their eight games since Christmas, picking up four wins during that time and they next face a Brisbane Roar side who are without a win in their nine away games this season.

The Reds are 8/15 to win their next game against the Roar, who are 5/1, with the draw 10/3.

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