Melbourne City had Craig Noone sent off as they surrendered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Adelaide United in the A-League.

The former Cardiff City and Bolton Wanderers winger received a straight red card after wiping out Adelaide defender Michael Jakobsen near the touchline with a rash sliding challenge.

That 67th-minute incident proved to be a turning point, with Adelaide soon pulling one goal back before Ben Halloran snatched a stoppage-time equaliser.

Adrian Luna had nudged Melbourne in front after 34 minutes, nodding in a cross from Noone, and Jamie Maclaren headed in a second six minutes later.

Kristian Opseth cut the deficit with a 78th-minute penalty after Pacifique Niyongabire was chopped down by Luna when entering the right side of the penalty area.

Halloran then struck in the first added minute, firing low and powerfully beyond Tom Glover after cutting in from the left, to deny second-placed Melbourne the victory.

Adelaide United saw their A-League top-six ambitions dealt a blow as they were held 1-1 by Premiers Sydney FC on Thursday.

Victory would have put Carl Veart's side in a strong position to secure a Finals spot and they were on course for all three points when Jordan Elsey made the most of some slack marking to head in Lachlan Brook's corner after 13 minutes.

Sydney were in danger of suffering a third consecutive defeat for the first time in seven years, Paul Izzo producing a good save to deny Milos Ninkovic an equaliser.

But the Sky Blues were level six minutes before the interval, Adam Le Fondre tapping in his 19th goal of the season after Izzo had come off his line but failed to stop Trent Buhagiar's cross.

Alexander Baumjohann and Riley McGree came close to winners in the second half but it finished level, leaving Adelaide in sixth ahead of their final match of the regular season against Melbourne City next week.

While Newcastle Jets cannot now catch the Reds, Western United could make up the five-point gap as they have three games in hand, while Western Sydney Wanderers have two extra matches in which to mount their own challenge.

Adelaide United kept up their top-six push with an enthralling 5-3 defeat of Perth Glory in Thursday's A-League clash.

Kristian Opseth scored one and set up two more as Carl Veart's side made it three games without defeat to move level on points with fifth-place Perth.

Riley McGree missed a 15th-minute penalty but the home side scored twice in two minutes through Michael Jakobsen and Lachlan Brook before the half-hour mark.

Kristian Popovic pulled a goal back but Opseth headed in Adelaide's third and teed up Ben Halloran to fire home the fourth before half-time.

Pacifique Niyongabire scored a fine first A-League goal, twisting and turning in the box before rifling in a shot, his stylish somersault celebration a fitting tribute to a thrilling game.

Bruno Fornaroli's fine turn and finish made it 5-2 and Juande scored from the spot in the 83rd minute, but Glory will be feeling the heat in the top-six chase after back-to-back losses.

Wellington Phoenix saw their Premiers' Plate hopes ended by a 1-1 draw at home to Adelaide United on Saturday.

Sydney FC cannot now be caught at the top of the regular-season standings after a late missed penalty from Ulises Davila proved costly.

Kristian Opseth powered home a header on the hour mark to put the visitors ahead at Bankwest Stadium, but Jaushua Sotirio levelled five minutes later.

Adelaide keeper Paul Izzo made three fine saves to keep Wellington at bay, although arguably the most comfortable of those was from Davila's tame penalty with three minutes to go.

The result means Wellington are 11 points behind Sydney, having played a game more, while Adelaide remain in the top six despite Western United's 2-1 win at Melbourne Victory.

A fine half-volley from Tomislav Uskok and a powerful strike from the excellent Max Burgess put United ahead, with a looping, glancing header from Storm Roux proving scant consolation.

Kristian Opseth got Adelaide United's A-League Finals hopes back on track by securing a 1-0 victory over Brisbane Roar on their return to action.

Adelaide were on a four-game losing streak in which they conceded 15 goals when the season was suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic, but club legend Carl Veart got them back to winning ways in his first game at the helm after Gertjan Verbeek's departure.

Opseth headed Ryan Strain's right-wing cross past Jamie Young to put the Reds in front inside six minutes at Cbus Super Stadium.

After Adelaide goalkeeper Paul Izzo tipped Jay O'Shea's free-kick onto the crossbar with a stunning save, Nikola Mileusnic struck the post at the other end on the stroke of half-time.

Substitute George Blackwood hit the bar with a header from Riley McGree's corner 12 minutes from time and Izzo finished the game with eight saves as Brisbane were consigned to defeat in their first game since Robbie Fowler's exit.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) released the schedule for the remaining matches of the coronavirus-hit A-League season, with a bonanza of 27 games in 28 matches before a quick-fire finals series.

The 2019-20 A-League campaign has been suspended since March due to the COVID-19 crisis, but Australia's premier football competition is set to restart on July 16 followed by a five-game finals series – the Grand Final to take place on August 23.

A derby between Melbourne Victory and Western United – originally scheduled for AAMI Park in Melbourne – will be played at a stadium still to be determined due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the state.

Six venues will be used in New South Wales and Queensland with the potential for more to be added subject to government regulations – ANZ Stadium (NSW), Bankwest Stadium (NSW), Central Coast Stadium (NSW), McDonald Jones Stadium (NSW), Jubilee Stadium (NSW) and Cbus Stadium (QLD).

"Over the past three months all stakeholders have been working hard together with one goal in mind – To finish what we started," FFA's Head of Leagues Greg O'Rourke said on Wednesday.

"We know the COVID-19 environment has been very difficult for many people in our community and we hope that delivering an extravaganza of matches will allow our fans to basically see a game everyday will be a unique experience for those who have stood by us.

"As we are a truly national game, the current border controls means that some of the match day venues may need to change, however we have secured venues in both a NSW Hub model and a hybrid hub model which has most games in NSW but allows for a few games in other states.

"Whilst we don't see the draw changing, the planning we have undertaken provides us with agility to shift between certain states if required. This version of the draw displays our current venue plan.

"We will continue to work with the Federal and State governments to ensure the health and safety of our players, coaches and other stakeholders and have detailed and practical protocols in place for all parties involved in training and match days.

"I am excited to see us kick off the restart and ultimately finish off what we started last October, with our priority always being to be in a position to crown our Hyundai A-League premiers and champions for this season."

Defending champions Sydney FC top the table by eight points through 20 matches, though second-placed Melbourne City have played three games less.

Adelaide United have appointed former striker Carl Veart as their interim head coach until the end of the A-League season.

Veart returned to the Reds as an assistant in June last year and will take charge for the remainder of the campaign, which could reportedly restart next month amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 50-year-old replaces Gertjan Verbeek, who quit in April amid uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

"I'm extremely proud to be given this opportunity to coach Adelaide United in the short term," Veart said.

"I have learned a lot this season as an assistant and certainly looking forward to the extra responsibility and challenge of leading this team.

"Our goal with five games to go will be to push for a finals spot and I believe this team is capable of achieving that."

Adelaide United director of football Bruce Djite lauded Veart, who played for the club between 2005 and 2007.

"Carl's knowledge and tactical understanding of the game are second to none," he said.

"Having worked with these players all season, I'm confident Carl can make the step up as head coach and do a tremendous job.

"Carl has a wealth of experience from his accomplished playing career and as a proud South Australian he also knows the landscape and what it takes to succeed being a former Red."

Airton Andrioli has been appointed interim assistant coach at Adelaide, who are seventh in the table.

Adelaide United head coach Gertjan Verbeek has left the club by mutual consent.

The 57-year-old, who was contracted until the end of the 2020-21 season, requested to be released after returning home to the Netherlands during the coronavirus pandemic.

Verbeek, who was in charge for less than a year, led Adelaide to a third FFA Cup triumph last October with a 4-0 win over Melbourne City in the final.

"Given a number of reasons, such as the global health problems, future of the league, difficult financial situation of the club and the need to protect and care for my family, my future as head coach at Adelaide United was insecure," he said in a statement published by the club.

"Based on the uncertain period we are currently in, we mutually agreed to end the contract after one season.

"I would like to thank the Adelaide United fans for supporting me and the team through this period. It was a great triumph to win the FFA Cup this season and I'm very proud of this accomplishment.

"The coronavirus has made it a very difficult and insecure situation for everyone, but I hope the team, the staff, and everyone's families all remain safe and healthy during these challenging times."

Chairman Piet van der Pol added: "We are grateful for Gertjan's hard work and for what he did for our football club over the past 10-or-so months.

"Not only has he given some of our young players a chance at professional football, he also helped guide us to our third FFA Cup trophy.

"I would like to thank Gertjan for everything he has done at Adelaide United, and, on behalf of the club, our members and supporters, and our partners, wish him the best for his future."

Adelaide have also decided against renewing the contract of performance coach Gerald Sibon.

The A-League, which was suspended in March, is not expected to resume until at least June.

Sydney FC were never going to be stopped in the race for the A-League Premiers' Plate, but one club joined them in red-hot form late in the regular season.

The campaign was suspended last month due to the coronavirus pandemic with the Sky Blues on track to win a record fourth premiership.

Steve Corica's men were eight points clear and had three games in hand when the season was stopped.

Using Opta data, we predict the rest of the A-League regular season and while Sydney FC were unstoppable, one other club hit fine form.

 

SYDNEY MATCH POINTS RECORD

The Sky Blues' dominance continued late in the regular season.

Sydney went on to win each of their final six games and 21 of 26 to end up 17 points clear atop the table.

Only one team matched such a run late in the season – and they went on to finish second, a position that was held by Melbourne City when the campaign was suspended.

Sydney also matched their record points haul from 2016-17 with 66 points, despite playing one fewer game.

GLORIOUS PERTH PURR

Perth Glory, third when the season was stopped, also grabbed six wins from six to charge into second place.

With four of their last six at home and their two trips being to Western Sydney Wanderers and Adelaide United, Perth found form to secure a home Semi-Final.

Sydney and Perth also finished as the top two last season before going on to meet in the Grand Final.

 

FOWLER'S ROAR, WESTERN UNITED IN FINALS AS VICTORY LEAVE RUN LATE

Under Robbie Fowler, Brisbane Roar managed just three points from their final four games, but even that was enough to finish fifth.

Meanwhile, in their maiden A-League season, Western United clinched the last finals spot, finishing four points clear in sixth.

Struggling in 10th when the campaign was stopped, Melbourne Victory charged but fell short.

They grabbed 12 points from their last five games but it was only enough to finish seventh, missing the finals for the first time since 2011-12.

 

A-League table at end of regular season
1. Sydney FC – 66
2. Perth Glory – 49
3. Melbourne City – 43
4. Wellington Phoenix – 42
5. Brisbane Roar – 38
6. Western United – 36

7. Melbourne Victory – 32
8. Western Sydney Wanderers – 32
9. Newcastle Jets – 30
10. Adelaide United – 27
11. Central Coast Mariners – 13

Gary Hooper and David Ball were among the goals as Wellington Phoenix beat Melbourne Victory 3-0, while Newcastle Jets prevailed by the same scoreline at Adelaide United.

Third-placed Wellington have now won four games in succession and hit the front inside three minutes when Ulises Davila volleyed in from close range.

Hooper then netted a clever glancing header in the 21st minute before strike partner Ball dispatched an excellent solo strike 10 minutes into the second half – condemning Victory to a sixth defeat in their past nine matches, although both teams' contrasting form looks set to be halted by quarantine measures in Australia and New Zealand related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Victory's solitary win during their slump came at the expense of Adelaide, who lost their fourth game in a row before being booed off for their efforts at Coopers Stadium against Newcastle.

Roy O'Donovan dispatched Dimitrios Petratos' 41st-minute cross and Matthew Millar doubled the advantage with a lofted finish early in the second half.

Steve Ugarkovic emphatically headed home Bobby Burns' cross shortly afterwards to complete the scoring and ensure the Jets made it six games unbeaten in style.

Sydney FC went 13 points clear at the top of the A-League after coming from behind to hammer Melbourne Victory 4-1.

The league leaders fell behind in the fifth minute, Marco Rojas breezing past Alex Wilkinson all too easily before rifling home an early opener.

Yet Milos Ninkovic levelled prior to half-time and Sydney led when Anthony Caceres curled a 64th-minute effort in off the post from the edge of the box.

Two minutes later Le Fondre, the A-League's top scorer this season, chipped over Lawrence Thomas for his 16th goal of the season, with Giancarlo Gallifuoco only diverting the ball into the corner with his desperate intervention on the line.

The hosts ended the game with 10 men when last-man Tim Hoogland was somewhat harshly dismissed for a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge on substitute Trent Buhagiar in the area three minutes from time.

With Le Fondre off the pitch, Kosta Barbarouses stepped up and converted the penalty to make it 4-1 and leave Graham Arnold's side 13 points clear of Melbourne City, who they also have a game in hand on.

Besart Berisha, the A-League's all-time top scorer, added another two to his tally in Western United's 5-1 demolition of Adelaide United.

Riley McGree had cancelled out Berisha's first, but Alessandro Diamanti, Max Burgess and Connor Pain all found the net before the visitors' prolific striker scored his second of the game and 15th of the season.

The win moved Western United above Adelaide into sixth.

Andrew Nabbout's spectacular 91st-minute strike secured a much-needed 2-1 A-League win for Melbourne Victory at home to Adelaide United on Saturday.

Victory peppered the Adelaide goal but looked set to fall short in their bid for a first league win since January 5 as they trailed to Kristian Opseth's fine early finish.

George Blackwood hit the crossbar as the visitors threatened a second approaching the hour-mark, only for Marco Rojas to quickly equalise at the other end, getting ahead of his marker and prodding past Paul Izzo.

The match was still level at the end of normal time, but Nabbout cut inside from the left flank and arrowed a stunning drive high past Izzo from the corner of the area to steal all three points.

Victory moved back ahead of Newcastle Jets, who had temporarily leapfrogged the Melbourne side earlier in the day courtesy of head coach Carl Robinson's first win.

The Jets' 2-1 triumph over Perth Glory also featured a magnificent goal, with Nikolai Topor-Stanley finding the top-right corner from 25 yards to open the scoring after 12 minutes.

Neil Kilkenny equalised from the penalty spot after Newcastle captain Nigel Boogaard's handball, yet Roy O'Donovan hit a 74th-minute winner.

Perth remain second in the table but are now winless in three in all competitions.

Western Sydney Wanderers closed to within four points of the top six with a thrilling 5-2 A-League drubbing of Adelaide United.

There were six goals in the first half at Bankwest Stadium in which the visitors went 2-1 up after trailing just five minutes in, only to surrender their advantage in a manner described by coach Gertjan Verbeek as "comedy capers".

Pirmin Schwegler's deflected free-kick five minutes in was cancelled out by a Riley McGree penalty, and Ben Halloran's composed finish made it 2-1 22 minutes in.

Two goals in two minutes turned the match on its head, though, Nicolai Muller making levelling before Mitchell Duke finished emphatically after being sent through by Simon Cox.

Duke headed in a second before the break to give the Wanderers a two-goal cushion, and Cox's clever after 73 minutes capped a fine outing for Jean-Paul De Marigny's side, who are now seventh.

In Friday's earlier game, Wellington Phoenix claimed a 2-0 win over Western United to climb into third in the table.

Mark Rudan's side kept Wellington at bay thanks to goalkeeper Filip Kurto until Liberato Cacace steered a volley beyond his reach 29 minutes in.

David Ball finally made the points safe with a fine strike in the 90th minute straight from a clearance from goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic, leaving United with plenty to consider having failed to score a goal in February and with only one win from eight matches.

Mohamed Toure became the youngest goalscorer in A-League history as the 15-year-old wrapped up a 2-0 win for Adelaide United against Central Coast Mariners.

Toure this week signed a three-year scholarship contract with Adelaide and showed he could have a big future with a lively appearance off the bench.

His goal owed plenty to stellar work from team-mate Riley McGree, who burst from midfield and dashed down the left before delivering a low cross to the teenage striker.

Toure cracked the ball high into the net for his 84th-minute strike, having only come on seven minutes earlier, and tore off his shirt as he sprinted away in celebration.

That strike followed swiftly on from George Blackwood's excellent opener, and stole much of that goal's thunder.

Blackwood's 22-yard strike in the 82nd minute was sublime though, the striker collecting a short pass from McGree and curling a shot into the top right corner.

He celebrated by holding up the number 16 shirt of team-mate Nathan Konstandopoulos, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last week.

Long after the final whistle, history-maker Toure was signing autographs and posing for pictures with young supporters.

He revealed what coach Gertjan Verbeek told him as he prepared to enter the action, saying: "He said, 'Come on, do your thing down the wing to get us a goal', and I think I tried my best to get the team 2-0 up."

The youngster's brother Al Hassan Toure is also an Adelaide player, although the 19-year-old missed Friday's game due to injury.

Al Hassan said of his younger brother: "We always knew he had it in him. Our dad has taught us well, always to have a strong mind and play how you want and not how they've been brought up to play in Australia. He's been telling us to play how we feel and that's how we've been doing.

"I told him [Mohamed] to keep a cool head because football is ups and downs, you might be up one day and then you're down, and you always have to learn from your experiences. But he's shown that he can play in this league and he's good enough. A couple more years of experience and he'll be a good player."

McGree, speaking on Fox Sports, said of Toure: "He's young, he's eager, he's keen, he's confident, and that's great to see."

Tom Aldred scored the winner with his first A-League goal as Brisbane Roar came from behind to end Adelaide United's three-game winning run with a 2-1 victory at a sodden Suncorp Stadium.

After a fiery but goalless first half, Ben Halloran put Adelaide ahead against his former club by superbly picking out the bottom-left corner from outside the area after a shot had deflected into his path.

With 22 minutes remaining, a scrappy equaliser after some frantic Adelaide blocks got Brisbane level, with substitute Mirza Muratovic eventually finding the top corner after a goalmouth scramble.

The winner arrived in the 74th minute, as a great move from a corner led to Scott McDonald's delivery finding captain Aldred, who headed home at the back post to move his side up to sixth in the table, one place and two points behind Adelaide.

Saturday's contest came after the derby match between leaders Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers had been called off due to torrential rain.

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