Deadlock in Original Rivalry as Victory and Adelaide both see red

Victory and Adelaide fight to a standstill - highlights

Adelaide United frustrated Melbourne Victory to earn a point at AAMI Park on Saturday night, as tempers boiled over amid an Original Rivalry full of heat.

Bruno Fornaroli’s sixth goal of the season had given Victory the lead until Hiroshi Ibusuki scored a second half equaliser – followed by red cards for Roderick Miranda and Nestory Irankunda as the game ended in chaotic scenes.

On a captivating night at AAMI Park, Victory threw everything at their visitors from the off, and should have been out of sight by halftime despite the loss of fullback Adama Traore to a suspected torn hamstring.

Daniel Arzani was ranging across the front line, setting up excellent chances for Nishan Velupillay in the first two minutes – one was repelled by Joe Gauci, the other blazed over.

Victory came at Adelaide from all angles, the front four of Fornaroli, Arzani, Velupillay and Zinedine Machach combining thrillingly. For almost half an hour the visitors hung on until they were pierced brilliantly, as Machach stormed down the right and drove a perfect cutback across for Fornaroli to drive the ball into the top corner.

It was a goal to sum up Victory’s dynamism and for a period they threatened to run away with the contest. Arzani’s run and cross prompted a scramble that Alexandar Popovic cleared under his own bar, and then Velupillay raced away to feed Fabian Monge, only for Gauci to stand tall and make an outstanding save.

The chances kept coming and kept being missed – Arzani blazed over, then Velupillay met a cross at the far post with a shot that Gauci saved, and watched Fornaroli fire the rebound over.

Adelaide were hanging on, but still in the game – and suddenly the balance of power shifted in a handful of critical minutes.

On 58 minutes, Nestory Irankunda – to that point stuck on the margins of the game – raced past Roderick Miranda and was caught, giving Adelaide a freekick and the defender a yellow card. Zac Clough drove in a cross that dipped onto the foot of Ibusuki and United were level.

Victory were aghast but things got worse within seconds; once more Miranda caught Irankunda, and a second yellow card meant he was expelled from the contest.

Both sides threw themselves into the final stages, desperate for the winning goal, but equally desperate defending kept the scoreline level, including one instinctive save from Paul Izzo.

As tempers frayed, Irankunda reacted badly to a challenge from Chris Ikonomidis and got his second yellow of the night as both sides ended with 10 men each and one goal apiece.

The key moment

It was bad enough for Victory to concede an equaliser after passing up so many chances, but the sending off of Roderick Miranda turned the contest on its head.

For a player of the Portuguese defender’s experience it was crass in the extreme to pick up two yellow cards in three minutes – the foul on Irankunda for the second came just outside Adelaide’s box and the young striker had most of the pitch ahead of him.

The star

On a night of thrilling attacking talent, Adelaide goalkeeper Joe Gauci stood very, very tall – save after save, and take after take. For a young goalkeeper Gauci has excellent judgment to go with his agile shot stopping, and is always looking for a quick release to send Adelaide forward.

Gauci has been earmarked as Mat Ryan’s long-term successor with the Socceroos and it’s easy to see why.

What it means

Both sides sit at the summit, with adelaide ahead on goal difference, and can look to reinforce that with home games next weekend. Victory host Wellington, fresh from a 5-2 win over Brisbane, while United host struggling Sydney FC.