No goals for GC, Reds

Adelaide United has equalled the record for longest unbeaten streak in A-League history with an uninspiring 0-0 stalemate against Gold Coast United at Skilled Park on Sunday.

Adelaide United has equalled the record for longest unbeaten streak in A-League history with an uninspiring 0-0 stalemate against Gold Coast United at Skilled Park on Sunday.

The league-leading Reds have not tasted defeat in 12 outings, matching the feat of the Central Coast Mariners of 2005/06.

But the result on the Gold Coast could have been much different had the officials spotted a Sergio Van Dijk handball in front of his goal in the 83rd minute, the offender himself leaked a smile when he saw the replays on the big screen.

In a match devoid of highlights the blunder was always going to become the talking point; United captain Jason Culina was adamant that Van Dijk handballed, but his coach Miron Bleiberg was willing to forgive the officials.

“It hit an arm for sure, but it is over now. What you can do?” Culina said.

The Gold Coast captain was right on the ball when the incident happened while Bleiberg was more than 40-metres away on the bench.

“(The referee) made a mistake – I-m not afraid to say it – but to justify it, when I saw it the second time I thought it might have been Joel Porter-s hand, maybe the referee thought the same,” Bleiberg said.

“You can watch it six or seven times and come to a conclusion (but the referee cannot).”

Adelaide coach Rini Coolen wasn’t going to focus on the incident – he was content to skip town with a draw and a six point buffer at the top of the ladder.

“We came and played a good team away from home – a draw is a good result,” he said.

“I thought we controlled the game and I couldn’t ask for any more from my players.”

Gold Coast had their chances to win the game though but couldn-t manage to go ahead in noticeably slippery conditions.

Bruce Djite and James Brown were left to rue near misses while Sergio Van Dijk had plenty of opportunities to put one on the board for the visitors.

The Reds, who had scored 17 goals in their previous nine matches, missed the playmaking nous of the injured Marcos Flores and the striking potency of young Socceroo Mathew Leckie as they were kept scoreless for the first time since their campaign opener against Newcastle.

Meanwhile, Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg handed out-of-favour defender Bas van den Brink just his third start of the season and the Dutchman made the most of his opportunity with a top-class performance to limit Van Dijk in the holding mid-fielder role.

Joel Porter was also back in the action after a hamstring injury kept him sidelined since Round 2, the well-travelled marksman replaced Robson in the 57th minute and although he looked sharp up-front was unable to break the stalemate.

Reds captain Travis Dodd also played his first A-league of the season after he replaced stand-in skipper Luke Pantelis with 25 minutes to play.

Gold Coast channelled their early attack down the left flank with Traore providing plenty for James Brown and Bruce Djite.

Ten minutes from the break Adelaide went on the front-foot with a rapid-fire attacking sequence. Iain Ramsay sent shudders through the small crowd when he snuck a ball across the front of goal from the byline, but John Curtis managed to clear before any damage was done.

Pantelis provided plenty of chances for Van Dijk, and both Adam Hughes and Paul Reid blasted shots just wide of goal from inside the box.

With the final whistle pending some handy interplay from Jason Culina, Djite and Traore inside the box almost ended in the opening goal but Traore couldn-t muster enough power to pass Eugene Galekovic.

The second-half started much like the first: end-to-end with both teams having plenty of chances.

The home side went closest when a Culina corner found James Brown unmarked at the near post but the 20-year-old was just off target with his header.

Gold Coast United 0
Adelaide United 0
Crowd: 2389 @ Skilled Park.