Sydney FC overcame a harsh send-off and rough penalty call to scrap a 2-2 draw with an injury-hit Adelaide United in a controversial Friday night A-League fixture.
The Sky Blues, with Ranko Despotovic and Corey Gameiro scoring, shared the points with the Reds, who lost two key attackers to injury in 10 minutes at Coopers Stadium.
Adelaide lost Bruce Djite (groin) and Cirio (hamstring) in the first half-hour, but Sydney also rued rotten luck.
The Sky Blues’ Nicky Carle was marched for a questionable second yellow card, while the visitors slipped behind because of a soft penalty call.
Sydney’s Despotovic opened scoring in the eighth minute before Djite hobbled off in the 20th minute, followed 10 minutes later by his Spanish teammate Cirio.
But the double injury blows, which compounded pre-game losses of attackers Jeronimo (suspended) and Marcelo Carrusca (bruised knee), were punctuated by an equaliser by Adelaide’s Fabio Ferreira.
A pinpoint Steven Lustica cross in the 24th minute found the Portuguese-born winger, whose right foot shot struck the far post and rolled in to the relief of the Reds’ parochial 15,347-strong home crowd.
Adelaide’s injury woes forced them to rely in attack on novices Awer Mabil, a substitute in all his 10 A-League games, and striker Anthony Costa, on debut.
And after Sydney’s Carle was unluckily sent off in the 68th minute after making negligible contact on Adelaide’s Isaias, Costa figured in the controversial penalty three minutes later.
The first-gamer seemingly crumpled from minimal contact from Sydney defender Matthew Jurman and Adelaide were given a penalty, converted by Jake Barker-Daish.
But the Reds’ 2-1 lead lasted just 10 minutes, with Sydney substitute Gameiro neatly angling a header from a Nikola Petkovic free kick into the net for an 82nd-minute equaliser.