Neither team was able to break the deadlock as a physical, defensive contest between a youthful Adelaide United and mighty Sydney FC ended in a 0-0 draw at Coopers Stadium.
Adelaide’s young full-back Ryan Strain almost opened the scoring early when his shot rocketed off the crossbar to the relief of the travelling table-toppers.
However, the real highlight of the first half was fiery Adelaide manager Marco Kurz picking up a yellow card after a heated exchange with the referee.
Sydney had the better chances but they could not find a way to beat Adelaide’s young goalkeeper Daniel Margush, who was fantastic between the sticks. He pulled off some incredible saves, especially against Adrian Mierzejewski in the second half.
Adelaide’s injury-riddled side was resolute in defence and played its heart out with four players making their first A-League appearances.
Adelaide’s youth on full display in gritty draw
It is no secret that the Adelaide are down to the bare bones in terms of squad depth and Sunday’s game was no exception.
Adelaide gave four senior debuts to some of their young prodigies who fought hard against the reigning champions. Apostolos Stamatelopolous was the only newcomer to start, but pushed hard, ultimately in vain, to find an opening.
Lachlan Brook, Kristin Kostandopolous and Pacifique Niyongabire all made appearances but the plaudits truly went to Adelaide’s other members of their young brigade.
Margush was incredible between the sticks, Strain was a constant attacking source down the left-hand side, Jordan O’Doherty fought valiantly in the middle of the park and Jordan Elsey continues to take his game to another level.
In all, it is an important point for United as they look to consolidate their position inside the top six.
Sydney’s rare lack of cutting edge proves costly
We have seen a rare game where Sydney’s fleet-footed attack was not able to put one home in a frustrating affair for the reigning champions.
Time and time again, Sydney’s attack penetrated the young Adelaide defence but they could not find a way to break down the Reds’ resolute back four. The Sky Blues came close on numerous occasions but failed to beat the brilliance of Margush, who denied Sydney numerous goalscoring opportunities.
Alex Brosque arguably came the closest to putting the Sky Blues ahead when his shot trickled past the post and agonisingly could not give Sydney the all-important opener.
It was not a bad performance in any sense by Graham Arnold’s men but it was a frustrating evening for the champions who will feel that it was two points lost rather than one point gained.
Marco Kurz – a figure of passion
The German manager has been a source of parlay since his arrival in the city of churches and he continues to cause controversy after Adelaide’s gritty draw.
Kurz was the only player/official booked up until O’Doherty saw a cheese slice. Kurz fired up at the referee in the face of a tough challenge on Isaias. His continued antics throughout the game showed how much this game meant to him and a point with the amount of inexperience in his side would have been seen as a victory.
After the final whistle, he was rejoicing at the fact his side hung onto the point and celebrated in some eyes like his side had just won the title.
A bit of passion from United’s managers has been a constant since their inception. Whether it be John Kosmina, Aurelio Vidmar, Gui Amor or Josep Gombau, the Adelaide managerial position has always caused a stir and Kurz is living up to the moniker.