A missed penalty from Joey Katebian late into the contest has come back to haunt the Melbourne Victory, as they fell to a 2-1 loss against Adelaide United in an end-to-end contest at Lakeside Stadium.
The skipper had earlier found the net via the spot, which saw the hosts equalise with just over 30 minutes to play in a frenetic contest.
Both keepers were kept incredibly busy in a game of many chances, and for the most part, the pair stood firm to the flurry of opportunities that came their way.
But for Victory and Lucas Spinella, their goal was breached twice in the second half, first by Dylan Smith and then by Jordan O’Doherty, who scored what proved to be the winner on his return to Melbourne.
Victory started quite brightly with a number of forays forward; young James Xydias laid a low cross into the path of Katebian on 11 minutes, but his touch alluded him as he wasted a golden opportunity.
He did better three minutes later, forcing Adelaide ‘keeper Sergio Serret into a sharp acrobatic save, steering John Maclean’s near post cross towards the right post before the goal bound effort was halted.
Secret was in the action twice more soon after, first denying Xydias who was played through by Kieran Dover, then Maclaren with a reflex save.
At the other end, an Eli Babalj header had Spinella on his toes as the stopper was forced into a diving to deny the target man.
For the most part however, the Socceroo was kept quiet, with Ben Carrigan and Damian Miskulin proving their worth in defence.
Xydias failed to hit the target with his next opportunity just after the break as he fired just wide from Katebian’s ball.
Despite the wealth of chances, it was Adelaide who broke the deadlock through Smith, who picked the ball up just inside the area on 50 minutes, before clearing his feet and smashing a pile-driver into Spinelli’s near post.
The keeper redeemed himself with a number of sharp saves in the second half to keep a busy Brisbane forward line at bay.
The saves helped keep his side in the contest, and they were given a golden opportunity to do so when Katebian was bundled over by Adam Piscioneri, who clumsily ran into the back of the forward inside the area.
Katebian kept his cool, finishing low into the bottom right corner to bring the score back to 1-1.
Centre-half Ruon Tongyik nearly restored United’s lead with a well directed header from a corner, but was denied by the palms of Spinella, with Thomas Love missing the opportunity on the rebound.
The well-built defender was stripped of possession softly at the other end which allowed Katebian in, but the skipper lacked the composure to place his shot into the corner of the net.
Former Victory midfielder O’Doherty had his first sight on goal with 15 minutes left on the clock, rattling the crossbar with a stunning 25-yard free-kick, which didn’t dip enough to sneak under the bar.
He didn’t have to wait too long to impact the scoreboard however as he was positioned perfectly to tap home a saved Oliver Zafridis shot from point-blank range.
Adelaide nearly extended their lead on 86 minutes through substitute Donovan Pollock, who forced Spinella into a great save to deny his stinging shot from outside of the box.
The game looked to be heading towards a draw, only for substitute Christian Theoharous to draw a penalty after blazing clear of his opponent Mark Ochieng, who dragged the speedster back on the right wing.
Katebian elected to go to the same spot as his first spot-kick, but was denied by the excellent Serret who got down low to his left to claw away the tame effort.
Melbourne Victory 1 (Katebian [p] 58’) defeated by Adelaide United 2 (Smith 54’, O’Doherty 86’) at Lakeside Stadium [HT: 0-0]
Melbourne Victory: 1. Lucas SPINELLA (GK), 2. Benjamin CARRIGAN (15. Matthew HENNESSEY 63’), 18. Cristian CAVALLO, 10. Kieran DOVER, 3. Callum GOULDING, 9. Joesph KATEBIAN (c), 11. John MACLEAN, 5. Damian MISKULIN, 6. Stefan NIGRO, 4. Sebastian PASQUALI (13. Cameron MCGILP 66’), 8. JAMES XYDIAS (7. Christian THEOHAROUS 78’)
Unused Substitutes: 20. Stephen HATZIKOURTIS (GK)
Yellow Card(s): Miskulin 12’
Red Card(s): Nil
Adelaide United: 20. Sergio SERRET (GK), 2. Nicholas APOSTOLOPOLOUS (16. Riley MCGREE 61’), 17. Thomas LOVE (15. Jordan ELLIOTT 73’), 8. Jordan O’DOHERTY, 12. Mark OCHIENG, 14. Adam PISCIONERI, 10. Dylan SMITH, 3. Ruon TONGYIK, 7. Antoni TRIMBOLI, 5. Oliver ZAFRIDIS, 22. Eli BABALJ (9. Donovan POLLOCK 69’)
Unused Substitute: 1. Daniel MARGUSH (GK)
Yellow Card(s): Nil
Red Card(s): Nil