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A-League wins for Reds, Wanderers

By AAP .
11 January 2014 10:34PM EST

ADELAIDE United's resurgent form continued with a 2-1 win over A-League leaders Brisbane on Saturday night with Western Sydney beating Sydney FC 1-0 as well.

Adelaide United's decision to recall Jordan Elsey from a loan deal in Hong Kong paid instant dividends as the teenager's injury-time goal secured the Reds a dramatic 2-1 win over Brisbane on Saturday.

The 19-year-old, who was on the verge of sealing a season-long move to Kitchee FC in Hong Kong on Boxing Day in a bid for more game time, came off the bench at Suncorp Stadium to nod home a 91st minute winner against the league leaders.

The strike was Elsey's first in just his third A-League appearance and capped a remarkable game where the understrength Reds stunned Brisbane with a dominant first half before appearing to be forced to settle for a point when the Roar equalised late in the second term.

The Reds' personnel dramas, with several players suspended, injured or away with the Australian under-22 side, was a key reason behind Elsey's recall with coach Josep Gombau admitting it had been a rollercoaster time for the youngster.

"He went there, everything was OK, he was happy, the club was happy but last week for us was horrible," Gombau said.

"We had a lot of injuries and also, on Saturday, Antony Golec - one central defender we think if something happened can replace any injury - asked for permission to leave the club on go to China.

"Jordan was very happy there but accepted the decision because he's our player and he came on Sunday, on Monday started training and today he scores the goal.

"This is life, it's like this."

Adelaide had appeared set to be forced to settle for a point after Roar striker Besart Berisha, himself a second-half substitute, scored an 80th minute equaliser for the home team.

Down to 10 men following Diogo Ferreira's first-half dismissal for a second bookable offence, the Roar had struggled to match an enthusiastic Adelaide in the opening stanza.

With Socceroos defender Ivan Franjic a late withdrawal due to a stomach strain, the Roar looked unsettled in the opening exchanges and Brazilian striker Jeronimo Neumann made the most of an error by veteran fullback Shane Stefanutto to win a penalty in the 19th minute.

Jeronimo dusted himself off and despite Roar goalkeeper Michael Theo saving his spot-kick, he slid home the rebound to notch his first goal away from Adelaide in the A-League.

The Roar looked down and out when Ferreira received his marching orders but rallied with 10 men and actually looked the more likely to steal the points following Berisha's sixth goal in eight matches.

"The courage my players showed in the second half was absolutely magnificent," coach Mike Mulvey said.

"We got the equaliser and still had the belief we could win the game. Their goal, it was some cross and some header by the big fella.

"Good luck to them. They go home with the points."

Mulvey could find himself with a headache ahead of next week's trip to Perth with Franjic and playmaker Thomas Broich (corked thigh) both in doubt for the game.

Then, a Brendon Santalab winner at the death secured Western Sydney their first home derby victory over Sydney FC at Parramatta Stadium.

Santalab, who came on as a substitute for striker Tomi Juric on the hour, scored the winner in the 87th minute to ensure the triumph over their cross-town rivals in what was a real arm wrestle played at a frenetic pace.

In the previous four derbies, surprisingly the Wanderers have won both clashes at Allianz Stadium but were yet to record a derby win in front of their own fans.

Fans turned out in numbers to watch the clash with over 18,000 filling the stands.

And while the contest may have been heated on the pitch, the supporters were well behaved during the match with Football Federation Australia to impose a three-point deduction on the Wanderers should their fans not toe the line.

The Wanderers, who suffered their first home loss in 12 months to lowly Wellington last week, came out with a point to prove and were on the attack from the get go.

While Sydney skipper Alessandro Del Piero showed some deft touches, Wanderers gloveman Ante Covic was barely troubled in the opening half.

His Sydney FC counterpart Vedran Janjetovic, on the other hand, was kept on his toes with the Wanderers hitting the woodwork four times in the first half.

Both Mark Bridge and Juric hit the post early with Juric again showing his class in front of goal, skillfully weaving his way through the Sydney defence but sending his ensuing shot sent just wide.

Dangerous Dutchman Youssouf Hersi almost scored the goal of the season just before the break, hitting the crossbar with a missile from 35 meters out.

The rebound fell to the waiting Juric whose point-blank strike unbelievably also hit the crossbar to send both teams to the break scoreless.

Sydney coach Frank Farina brought on young forward Corey Gameiro for veteran Brett Emerton early in the second half and the move almost paid off right away with a Gameiro strike just floating high.

The Sky Blues kept up the attack with Covic forced to diffuse shots from Ranko Despotovic and Terry McFlynn.

Wanderers' 16-year-old Daniel Alessi was given a baptism of fire by coach Tony Popovic, making his A-League debut in the heated derby.

But it was Popovic's 60th-minute substitute of Santalab for Juric that proved crucial, the striker netting the winner off a great Hersi cross in the 87th minute.

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