You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Adelaide hold Sydney to 0-0 A-League draw

NZN 26/11/2016 Emma Kemp

A below-par Sydney FC have escaped a first A-League defeat but dropped another two points in an uninspiring goalless draw with Adelaide United.

The Sky Blues spurned the chance to go nine points clear at the top of the table on Saturday night at Allianz Stadium, in a performance as anaemic as the scoreline.

They equalled their record nine-game undefeated streak of 2006-07 but were fortunate, given last-placed United played with a confidence that belied their winless season, in a sign a victory is close.

Suspended coach Guillermo Amor needn't have worried how his defending champions would fare without him on the sidelines, as the Reds attacked with venom in and end-to-end start barely resembling its top-versus-bottom billing.

Ryan Kitto found joy on the left flank as he and Ben Garrucio targeted the in-form Rhyan Grant.

But the frenetic opening exchanges soon dissolved into scrappy play rife with turnovers that yielded few chances for either side.

Isaias and an under-performing David Carney went into the book while tough defender Matt Jurman suffered a horrible head clash during an aerial challenge with James Holland that left him bleeding heavily.

A bandaged Jurman eventually returned and earned enthusiastic cheers from the 13,179 crowd for each of his three headers in quick succession.

That was the main first-half entertainment apart from a sole opportunity apiece.

The first belonged to Adelaide defender Tarek Elrich, who fired off a 20-metre left-footed strike that shaved the outside of the post.

Soon after, a quiet Filip Holosko burst into space but, under pressure from Iacopo La Rocca, applied too much angle on his finish.

In the second half, Sydney coach Graham Arnold sensed the need for change and replaced Holosko with skipper Alex Brosque and eventually Bobo with Matt Simon, while Henrique returned for Adelaide at the expense of a cramping Nikola Mileusnic.

Holland came closest after the break, skipping past three Sydney defenders only to botch his finish, while Simon sent one wide and Alex Wilkinson took a feeble stab that was indicative of a squad perhaps more focused on next week's FFA Cup final.

Arnold said his side struggled to deal with Adelaide's long balls and slow play in a cynical match featuring a total 36 fouls.

"It was two desperate teams trying to win," he said.

"Adelaide's position on the table doesn't reflect the type of team they are ... but they took the tempo out of the game and it was hard for us to get going.

"Every time we tried, there was a foul, they took their time on throw-ins and goal kicks and slowed the game up a lot.

"We have to be honest - the players are disappointed in their own performance."

Reds assistant coach Pau Marti was happy to keep a first clean sheet.

"To get a point here was a good result," Marti said.

"I think the way we played, we deserved to get three points - we had the chances ... we stopped them playing."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon