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Jan 14, 2009

Adelaide and Roar play out 0-0 draw

Adelaide United edged closer to their second A-League premiership in three seasons despite having to settle for a scoreless draw against finals rival Queensland at Hindmarsh Stadium on Wednesday night.

The A-League's meanest defences held firm as the two heavyweights cranked up the pressure for the 14,450 fans but couldn't knock their opponent out.

The draw enabled Adelaide to stretch their lead at the top of the table to two points over second-placed Melbourne Victory with the Roar staying third, four points adrift.

Queensland carved out the clearer chances but inspired goalkeeping from Eugene Galekovic and wayward finishing kept Adelaide in the hunt.

Adelaide were able to get behind the Roar's backmen that were missing the defensive experience of injured trio, Josh McCloughan, Danny Tiatto and keeper Liam Reddy.

Captain Travis Dodd crossed from the left byline in the fifth minute but midfielder Fabian Barbiero could only head weakly to the keeper at the far post.

Roar striker Sergio Van Dijk looked likely to net with a bullet header from a Michael Zullo cross in the ninth minute but Galekovic soared to his right to tip the ball over the crossbar for a corner.

Adelaide coach Aurelio Vidmar also had to shuffle his back four, inserting attack-minded Brazilian Alemao at right back for injured Daniel Mullen.

But the normally unflappable Sasa Ogenovski presented his former club with a golden chance in the 39th minute when he missed a cross and Mitch Nichols fired from close range only to see Scott Jamieson lunge in to block the goalbound shot.

Chances fell early in the second half to Adelaide, including Dodd, Robbie Cornthwaite and Lucas Pantelis but all fired wide or high.

Then the Roar summoned some reserves for a last ditch shot at top spot with Nichols firing a 25m drive just wide in the 74th minute and a minute later let fly an angled drive that Galekovic beat down to save.

But the best chance fell to Zullo in the 82nd minute when he found himself with only Galekovic to beat in the penalty box but lost his nerve and fired over the crossbar.

Barbiero failed to make Roar keeper Griffin McMaster pay for failing to hold a cross in the 85th minute as he volleyed over the crossbar too.

It was Adelaide's ninth clean sheet of the season from 19 matches and Galekovic's eighth.

The result of this final catch-up fixture leaves all eight clubs with two matches to play with Adelaide having the chance to virtually seal top spot on Sunday if they can beat Wellington in New Zealand.

That would automatically earn Adelaide another tilt at the Asian Champions League in 2010.

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