The first match of the new season ended all-square with Western United and Adelaide United playing out a rusty scoreless draw in Geelong.
A crowd of 5,128 ventured out to GMHBA Stadium to witness a fixture which produced 13 goals across the two meetings last season.
Both sides had their chances but ultimately lacked polish when it mattered most, but did show passages of impressive play – especially out wide.
A strong performance on debut for Adelaide goalkeeper James Delianov ensured the Reds would walk away with a point, though they would have felt a win was within their reach having two chances cleared off the line.
Replacing the injured Josh Risdon, Dylan Pierias looked at home at right fullback. The 20-year-old made several bursting runs and did not shy away from creating a chance or two when his moment came.
Pierias was involved in most of the home side’s early chances – firing an attempt at the near post and forcing James Delianov into a low save in the 17th minute after breaking on the counter.
Adelaide debutant Yaya Dukuly inspired many of the Reds’ attacking plays – creating several chances on the right wing and exciting the small contingent of Adelaide supporters.
Meanwhile in defence, goalkeeper James Delianov held his own against his former club.
Delianov was one of Adelaide’s best in the opening 45 minutes, coming to his side’s rescue on several occasions as the half wore on.
An impressive catch from an Aaron Calver header in the 21st minute was followed by an impressive block to deny Alessandro Diamanti in the 31st minute from close range.
The former Italian international directed his frustration from the opening half hour into a right-footed bullet towards goal to which Delianov was ready for and parried away.
At the other end Tomi Juric came inches away from a dream start at his new club.
A long ball from Jordan Elsey fell right into the path of the Socceroos forward whose attempted dink over Filip Kurto fell short before Tomoki Imai was able to clear it away in the 31st minute.
The Reds would have a second attempt cleared off the line midway through the second half. After a sharp bit of footwork from Juric he did well to turn and find an open Ben Halloran with a crisp diagonal ball.
Breaking down the left-hand side Halloran saw his attempt glide past Kurto only to be desperately cleared away by Calver in the 65th minute.
A tense final few minutes ensured as opportunities were limited to scrappy half-chances and failed counter attacks.
Filip KURTO, Aaron CALVER, Dylan PIERIAS (Andrew DURANTE 89′), Tomoki IMAI, Besart BERISA (Ayom MAJOK 60′), Lachlan WALES (Nicolas MILANOVIC 83′), Steven LUSTICA, Connor PAIN, Victor SANCHEZ (Ivan VUJICA 90′), Tomislav USKOK, Alessandro DIAMANTI (c)
Ryan SCOTT, Stefan ZINNI, Jerry SKOTADIS,
James DELIANOV, Ryan STRAIN, Louis D’ARRIGO, Stefan MAUK (Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS 83′), Tomi JURIC (Mohammed TOURE 83′), Noah SMITH, Joe CALETTI, Yaya DUKULY (Pacifique NIYONGABIRE 59′), Michael JAKOBSEN, Jordan ELSEY, Ben HALLORAN
Dakota OCHSENHAM, Michael MARRONE, Kusini YENGI
Featured Image – Western United FC