LNTUP

A-League: Adelaide United edge Melbourne Victory despite two red cards

A nine-man Adelaide United survived a frantic finish to defeat arch-rivals Melbourne Victory 2-1 in a Friday night A-League thriller.

The Reds had to navigate a nervous final 14 minutes, including seven minutes of stoppage time, after Daniel Adlung and then Benjamain Garrucio received red cards for second bookable offences at Etihad Stadium.

The visitors were forced to park the bus as Victory mounted wave after wave of attacking forays at the end. But, led magnificently by goalkeeper Paul Izzo, Adelaide managed to hang on for a deserved win.

The Reds grabbed the ascendancy in the 17th minute when Papa Babacar Diawara broke clear of Mark Milligan and nodded in a Ryan Kitto corner.

Milligan made amends for his sloppy defensive effort when he levelled proceedings in the 56th minute with a top-notch effort from just inside the 18-yard box.

The 32-year-old chested the ball down, chipped it over Adlung and drilled it into the bottom right corner on the volley.

However, super sub George Blackwood gave Adelaide back the lead with virtually his first touch when he finished off a beautiful Nikola Mileusnic cross with a brilliant first-touch from close range in the 72nd minute.

Mileusnic suffered a left foot injury in the process and had to be subbed off.

Minutes earlier, Milligan had also left the ground suffering an apparent right hamstring injury with concerns he will spend time on the sidelines.

Veteran Victory striker Besart Berisha will be left to rue what could have been as his penalty just before half-time was brilliantly denied by Izzo.

The opportunity arose after Garuccio handled Jason Geria’s close-range strike.

The Reds have now won three of their past four games and jump to fourth in the table. They will remain in the top four at the end of round 10 if Central Coast Mariners fail to beat Melbourne City.

The Victory will drop out of the top six this weekend if Perth Glory, Brisbane Roar or Western Sydney Wanderers win.