A-League: Adelaide battle to draw with Wellington
Premiership contenders Adelaide battled out a 1-1 draw with play-off-chasing Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium to set up a thrilling climax to the regular A-League season next week.
The point helped the Reds move clear of Melbourne Victory at the top of the table on goal difference heading into next week's final round of the regular season, while fifth-placed Wellington moved within two points of the final play-of spot which is occupied by Central Coast Mariners with one game remaining.
Wellington face a must-win trip to Premiership-chasing Melbourne on Friday before Adelaide face the Mariners on Sunday.
Despite playing in their fifth game in just 15 days, Asian Champions League finalists Adelaide came out of the blocks firing and opened the scoring after just nine minutes through a terrific finish from Paul Reid following good work from Reds captain Travis Dodd.
Wellington pressed for an instant response and their pressure paid off 15 minutes before the break as Costa Barbarouses, making only his second start for the Phoenix, headed home Leo Bertos' pinpoint cross.
The Phoenix continued to press after the break despite Tim Brown's 52nd-minute dismissal for a second yellow card, with Barbarouses, Bertos and Manny Muscat all testing Adelaide goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic but unable to find a breakthrough.
After soaking up Wellington's pressure, Reid fired wide just after the hour mark for Adelaide before Ben Sigmund was denied by Galekovic with six minutes remaining.
"The first 25 minutes was very good, Paul Reid scored a good goal and Robbie Cornthwaite could have had another one just before that," said Adelaide coach Aurelio Vidmar.
"After that we started making a few errors and the Phoenix crept into the game and then it was backs against the wall.
"After five games in 15 days the players tried their best and that's all you can ask for."
Also on Sunday, defending A-League champions Newcastle Jets recorded just their fourth win of the season with a 2-1 triumph over fellow strugglers Perth Glory.
The Jets, who will finish bottom of the table after only 12 months ago finishing runners-up to Central Coast before beating the Mariners in the grand final, took the lead four minutes before the break through Antun Kovacic before Mark Milligan's 55th-minute penalty doubled the advantage.
Scott Bulloch pulled a goal back for Perth 10 minutes later but the seventh-placed Glory failed to take advantage of Sydney's defeat by Queensland Roar on Saturday and remain a point adrift of sixth place with one game remaining next weekend.