Neither side leave AAMI Park taking out bragging rights in their Pride Cup clash, with both sides striking inside the final 10 minutes to share the points in a 1-1 draw at AAMI Park.
With the game ending in an exciting contest, it certainly took a while for both teams to get going. A lacklustre start to the game, both sides traded blows but would struggle to find the target. Adelaide’s biggest chance of the opening half would come inside the opening minutes of the game, Javi López’s header a bit too high. The Victory who looked the livelier of the two sides in the opening half peppered the goals, their best chance came through Ben Folami who tried his luck from range with his shot also inches over the crossbar.
With the momentum on their side, the Victory would be struck a blow on the stroke of half time. Jake Brimmer would be brought down by López, landing awkwardly, he’d succumb to injury, with the midfielder coming off the pitch in the arms on the trainers. His day over before halftime, being subbed out during injury time. The whistle for the main break sounding shortly after with neither side able to break the deadlock.
After a stalemate of an opening half, the game would break open in the second half, with the game becoming a more desperate affair, and when Bruno Fornaroli and Alexandar Popovic got in a scuffle, the game picked up a gear. Against the run of play, Louis D’Arrigo and Hiroshi Ibusuki went close to breaking the dead lock with Jason Geria denied by the bar moments later on the other end.
Having threatened to break the deadlock, it would be Victory who would find the go-ahead goal from the penalty spot. With Frenchman Damien Da Silva fouled in the penalty area by Popovic, referee Shaun Evans would refer with VAR and point to the spot, Bruno Fornaroli converting from the spot to out his side ahead.
Scoring inside the final 10 minutes the Victory poised to run out 1-0 victors, though Nestory Irankunda would have other ideas, with the lively youngster scoring a brilliant goal from long range to salvage a point for his side.
Victory would continue to push and find a winner late, with even milestone man Leigh Broxham coming off and getting involved late in what marked his 450th appearance for the club, though his side would be unable to find the net.
Needing all three points to keep touch of the top six, it’s a game gone begging for the Victory, while a point ensure Adelaide firms their spot in the top half of the table.
A Prideful affair
In a game which eventually delivered on the pitch with an exciting second half of football, there was plenty which delivered off the field with the Pride Cup, celebrating LGBTI+ inclusion in football.
With the Victory Pride Village set up featuring live entertainment, giveaways and a festival atmosphere outside of the ground, the atmosphere was also rocking inside the pitch with a healthy crowd turning up to see two A-League powerhouse clubs lock horns.
Brimmer’s day done early
In a blow for the Victory, Johnny Warren Medalist Jake Brimmer’s day was ended early after landing awkwardly having after being challenged by Reds defender Javi Lopez nearing half time.
Immediately clutching his left leg, it become apparent the midfielder would not be taking further part in the game with Nishan Velupillay coming on during stoppage time. An integral part of the side, the club will be hoping the injury isn’t anything too major. Though the stretcher came out for him, he was able to walk off the ground in the hands of the trainers.
Walking off assisted rather than being carried off, the club will be hopeful it’s nothing long term, especially as the club looks to make a late push for finals.
A star emerging
Having already put together an impressive highlights package before even turning 18, Adelaide youngster Nestory Irankunda added another worldie for the highlight reel, with his strike from outside the box ensuring his side would come away with a point out of the game.
Having struggled to threaten the Victory defence for most of the contest, the 17-year-old would be brought on in the hour mark, and having begun to garner a reputation as a super sub, he’d deliver once again scoring on the goals of the season.
Having been heckled by the Victory faithful prior to coming on with chants of “you’ve got school in the morning” echoing around AAMI Park, it would be the teenager who ultimately had the last laugh, with his goal making sure their Reds would get something out of their road trip.