2019-20 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Al Hassan Toure (19')
  • George Blackwood (90'+4' PEN)
  • Nicolai Müller (11', 59')
  • Mohamed Adam (77')

Western Sydney Wanderers beat Adelaide United in A League classic amid VAR drama

Western Sydney Wanderers held on for a thrilling 3-2 win over Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium, with the hosts missing a last-minute spot kick to squander a chance to salvage a point.

The Reds had two VAR-ruled penalties awarded in the dying stages when trailing 3-1, but could only covert the first as the visitors held on to win on Friday night.

Wanderers coach Markus Babbel was delighted with the result despite his side not producing its best performance of late.

"Football is something you can't explain," he said. "Because last week we played much better but couldn't get a result. The week before against Perth, Wellington, we played a much better style of football and we couldn't get a result there.

"Today wasn't the best performance, but we got a result, so that's football."

Reds coach Gertjan Verbeek echoed his counterpart's sentiments in a blunt assessment of the match.

"I find we deserved a lot more [but] we lost, that's a fact," he said. "Sometimes football is not honest but we are responsible, nobody else. "[They scored] three goals and we made only two."

For the second consecutive home match in Adelaide, the temperature hovered close to 38 degrees at kick off.

Adelaide should have opened the scoring on three minutes when Nikola Mileusnic cut the ball back for Al Hassan Toure, but the young striker could only manage to get a toe to the ball.

A terrible pass from Jordan Elsey out of the Reds defence gifted possession to the visitors, who broke at speed through Mohamed Adam who squared a pass into the penalty area.

The cut back ricocheted off Michael Jakobsen and an inventive header from Nicolai Muller looped past Paul Izzo.

The Wanderers could have added a second with both Matt Jurman and Patrick Zeigler peppering United's goal after they failed to clear a corner with the later forcing Izzo into a stunning save.

After a frantic opening quarter of an hour, United drew level on 20 minutes with Ben Halloran slipping through Mileusnic, who cut the ball back for Toure to tap into the net from close range.

Wanderers substitute and former Reds defender Tarek Elrich made an immediate impact following his introduction and set up Muller for his second on 59 minutes.

Elrich lofted a pinpoint cross from out wide on the right which was superbly met by Muller deep in the penalty area, looping a header past Izzo from a tough angle.

Western Sydney extended their advantage in the 78th minute, catching out a flat-footed United defence. Patrick Schwegler clipped a pass through for Adam whose first attempt was blocked by the onrushing Izzo, however the save ricocheted fortuitously against the striker and past the Reds keeper leaving an unguarded net for an easy finish.

Tempers flared in the dying minutes when Toure was brought down in the area by Zeigler and after referee Chris Beath waved play on, the pair clashed causing a stoppage in play.

After consulting VAR, a spot kick was awarded and George Blackwood stepped up to coolly convert on 90 minutes just as the fourth official signalled seven minutes of additional time.

With a minute to go the Reds had claims for another penalty when Jakobsen's cross appeared to hit the arm of Daniel Georgevski.

VAR was again consulted and a penalty awarded, but this time Blackwood blasted the spot kick over the bar.