Maclaren breaks Hyundai A-League record with 20 or more goals for third season
Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren became the first Hyundai A-League player to score 20 or more goals in a season for the third time, but it wasn't enough to earn a 10-man Melbourne City FC victory as Adelaide United scored two late goals to salvage a 2-2 draw.
The Reds were desperate for all three points in their final regular season match but found themselves 2-0 down at the break after goals from Adrian Luna and Jamie Maclaren.
But the second-half dismissal of City’s Craig Noone turned the momentum of the match in Adelaide’s favour.
Kristian Opseth halved the deficit from the penalty spot 13 minutes from time before Ben Halloran equalised in the first minute of stoppage time.
It set up a thrilling finish which saw the Reds pile on the pressure but they couldn’t find the winner they needed to boost their finals chances.
Carl Veart’s side remain in sixth spot, three points ahead of Western United FC, but Mark Rudan’s men still have three games to play.
If United win one of their last three games they will leapfrog the Reds into the finals places.
Maclaren’s goal just before the break took his tally to the campaign to 20, taking him one goal clear of Sydney FC’s Adam Le Fondre in the race for the Golden Boot.
The Socceroos striker is the first player to score 20 or more goals in a season for the third time.
City remain in second spot, three points clear of Wellington Phoenix meaning they only need a point in their final game to secure a spot in the Grand Final qualifier.
Luna nods City in front
Just moments after Ben Halloran had a great chance for Adelaide at one end, it was City taking the lead at the other.
And it was three of their imports that combined as Florin Berenguer released Craig Noone down the left, with the Englishman brilliantly turning past his defender.
Noone then delivered a sensational cross into the box where the late-arriving Luna was on hand to head past Izzo for the opener.
Maclaren does it again
After scoring the opener, Luna turned provider five minutes before the break as a very familiar name got on the scoresheet.
Luna received the ball on the right, with his cross take a slight deflection of Ryan Kitto as it made it’s way into the box.
The deflection worked well for Maclaren, who outjumped Elsey to put a glancing header into the corner of the net.
Noone gets an early shower
City were cruising heading into the final quarter of the match but things got a little trickier when Noone was shown a straight red card.
The Englishman lunged in for a reckless challenge on Reds skipper Michael Jakobsen near the touchline, with referee Alex King showing no hesitation in sending Noone off.
Opseth clinical from the spot
With time running out the Reds had to go for broke, with Carl Veart sending on young attacker Pacifique Niyongabire to try and spark his side.
And it had the desired effect with the 20-year-old showing great skill to get past Luna and get into the box before the Uruguayan brought him down.
Opseth then sent Tom Glover the wrong way to give the Reds a lifeline with 13 minutes left.
Halloran fires home in stoppage time
Time was running out for the Reds but they manufactured another scoring chance when the ball made it’s way to Halloran near the byline.
And the winger managed to wriggle past Scott Galloway before arrowing a low shot into the far corner to salvage a point for Adelaide.