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Reds hold Wanderers goalless in A-League

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/03/2017 Emma Kemp

It was a new night but same old struggles for Western Sydney, whose A-League finals ambitions are no healthier after they were held to a goalless draw by lowly Adelaide.

A highly contentious disallowed goal denied the Wanderers a win they so sorely craved after Tuesday night's 5-1 Asian Champions League disembowelling by Shanghai SIPG, and leaves their top-six spot at risk of being snatched away by Newcastle.

Despite dominating all key statistics, the Wanderers were resigned to yet another frustrating night at the fruitless Spotless Stadium on Saturday and now have just one goal from their last five A-League outings.

And though the Reds sprung a second-half fightback, last season's champions appear destined for the wooden spoon.

As has become customary for Tony Popovic's side, there were a host of missed chances.

But equally familiar was that another game-changing decision went against them.

With the end of the first half approaching, inexperienced Reds goalkeeper Daniel Margush spilled Jack Clisby's cross several times and never clearly took control of the ball.

Finally, Dimas ended a lengthy goal-mouth scramble and found the back of the net, only for referee Kris Griffiths-Jones to rule there'd been a foul.

The incident left Tony Popovic fuming, to the point that Griffiths-Jones ran over to deliver a warning to the Wanderers boss.

That sentiment continued after the break when Adelaide started to show signs of life.

They still came under pressure as Terry Antonis whipped in a long-range effort that was tipped over by a quick-thinking Margush, before the 19-year-old stepped up again to deny Lachlan Scott's sharp header.

It was a dispiriting shift for Scott, whose other opportunities were not handled so accurately as he led the line in the absence of injured veteran Brendon Santalab.

From there the game changed shape and Adelaide suddenly looked the fresher despite running on a day's less recovery after their own midweek 2-1 ACL loss to Jiangsu Suning.

Tarek Elrich fired a warning as he found the untracked Sergio Cirio in space, Vedran Janjetovic's blushes only saved by Scott Neville's last-ditch clearance.

But even as Cirio continued to wobble their hosts' nerves, Kearyn Baccus answered with a close shot and Antonis struck the crossbar but the deadlock remained.

Popovic found it "amazing" the disallowed goal wasn't given.

"It's a clear goal, it's a legitimate goal, and we find a way for it not to be a goal," he said.

"The players did everything but get what they deserved today, so it's very difficult to be anything but frustrated for the players and the fans."

Guillermo Amor was disappointed to leave without the win.

"We need three points every game in this situation," Amor said.

"We knew it was not easy because Western Sydney is strong, and we try to win today. But one point is not bad, is better than (nothing)."

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