Sport Football Heart, Adelaide United settle for draw

Heart, Adelaide United settle for draw

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Ryan Griffiths snatched a crucial point for finals aspirants Adelaide United with a 90th-minute goal in a 2-2 A-League draw with Melbourne Heart at Coopers Stadium on Saturday.

The Reds took the lead in the first half through Bruce Djite and looked on track for three consecutive wins for the first time since September 2010 when they lifted the tempo in the second stanza.

However, against the run of play Heart skipper Harry Kewell converted a penalty on the hour mark to draw level.

Patrick Kisnorbo then stunned the home faithful when the former Leeds United man popped up and headed in to give the visitors the lead on 79 minutes.

The Heart were edging closer to snatching all three points when United’s January transfer arrival Griffiths scored his first goal for the club on the stroke of fulltime to spare his new side’s blushes.

Neither side created any chances in a dour opening 10 minutes as fan frustration boiled over when Kewell reacted to a member of the crowd.

Kewell looked distressed by something said from the stands, even gesturing and pointing to a supporter before speaking with referee Kris Griffiths-Jones at the next stoppage in play.

The hosts eventually gave the lacklustre contest a pulse on 22 minutes when Djite opened the scoring.

Reds defender Osama Malik raced down the right flank and with time and space delivered a pinpoint cross to the head of winger Awer Mabil whose sharp header from close range was turned away acrobatically by Andrew Redmayne.

Redmayne’s athletic stop was in vain as Djite beat his opponent to the ball to knock in the rebound from a tight angle.

With Adelaide dominating in the second period, the visitors struck an equaliser from the penalty spot on 60 minutes.

Massimo Murdocca whipped an in-swinging delivery to the far post which forward Michael Mifsud turned onto the post when he should have scored.

The ball then ricocheted across the face of goal to Mate Dugandzic who went down under a challenge from United centre-back Nigel Boogaard.

Kewell made no mistake as he stepped to the spot and sent Reds captain Eugene Galekovic the wrong way.

With United rocked by the equaliser, the Heart pressed forward and took a shock lead when Kisnorbo rose high in traffic to glance a header into the far corner from midfielder Iain Ramsay’s free-kick.

The hosts would not surrender all three points, however, as they extended their unbeaten streak to seven matches when Griffiths struck in a corner from inside the six-yard box at the death.