A-League champions Melbourne City threw a two-goal lead away to draw 2-2 away at Adelaide United in their second game of the season.

City kicked their title defence off with a 2-1 win over Brisbane Roar in their opening match and looked set to make it two wins from two after goals from Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout gave them a 2-0 advantage after 61 minutes.

However, Adelaide struck twice in the closing stages, with Stefan Mauk halving the deficit before Ben Halloran grabbed a dramatic 90th-minute equaliser to stun City.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Sydney, who finished just two points behind City in second last season, slipped to a 1-0 defeat against Macarthur at home after an early Lachlan Rose strike.

Macarthur are now level on points with table-topping City and Wellington Phoenix, who beat Central Coast Mariners 2-1, but are behind the pair on goals scored and sit third.

Gary Hooper scored for the second game running for the Phoenix in their home clash with the Mariners, who pulled one back through Marco Urena before Jaushua Sotirio fired in the winner.

The Nix are now unbeaten in 13 matches stretching back into last season and face Western Sydney Wanderers in their next game.

Daniel Sturridge made a brief cameo off the bench and Bruno Fornaroli scored a stunning equaliser as Perth Glory began their A-League campaign with a 1-1 draw at home to Adelaide United on Saturday.

The signing of former Liverpool and England striker Sturridge has piqued the interest in Australian football, with the 32-year-old back in the professional game after departing Trabzonspor in March 2020.

However, fans were only treated to a short glimpse of Sturridge at HFB Park, where the hosts were forced to come from behind to clinch a point.

Kusini Yengi coolly side-footed home the opener for Adelaide, only for Fornaroli to level five minutes before half-time with a ferocious 30-yard effort.

Antonee Burke-Gilroy later thought he had a first A-League goal but he and Perth were denied for offside by a VAR check.

Last season's beaten finalists Sydney FC played out a goalless draw in the derby against Western Sydney Wanderers, for whom former Everton, Manchester City and Sunderland midfielder Jack Rodwell made his debut off the bench.

Indeed, Rodwell almost made a swift impact with a 30-yard rocket that Andrew Redmayne saved, as a boisterous crowd at CommBank Stadium witnessed a stalemate.

Tony Popovich made a winning start to his Melbourne Victory tenure, with stand-in captain Roderick Miranda heading in the only goal of the game in a 1-0 triumph over Western United.

Barcelona's Gerard Pique is among those to have shown his support to A-League player Josh Cavallo, who has come out as the first openly gay top-flight footballer in the world.

Adelaide United defender Cavallo made the announcement in a video and open letter on social media on Wednesday.

The news is a historic moment for sporting community and one Cavallo hopes will help others find the courage to follow in his steps.

"I want to help change this," he said. "I want to show that everyone is welcome in the game of football and deserves the right to be their authentic self.

"It is astonishing to know that there are currently no gay professional footballers who are out and actively playing, not only in Australia, but around the world. 

"Hopefully this will change in the near future."

Cavallo's announcement was met with widespread supporting, with Pique praising the 21-year-old for making the public announcement.

"I don't have the pleasure to know you personally, but I want to thank you for this step that you take," Pique posted on Twitter. 

"The world of football is far behind and you are helping us move forward."

Pique's former Barca team-mate and current Atletico Madrid loanee Antoine Griezmann said: "Proud of you @JoshuaCavallo".

Barca were one of a number of teams to commend Cavallo, posting: "THANK YOU, @JoshuaCavallo for taking a huge step forward! 

"Your courage contributes to normalizing diversity in the world of sports."

Premier League side Arsenal tweeted: "Thank you @JoshuaCavallo for your strength and bravery...

"You are an inspiration to millions. Everyone deserves the right to be themselves."

Several other top-flight players have previously come out as gay once their professional playing careers were over, including former Aston Villa player Thomas Hitzlsperger.

Former Newcastle Jets player Andy Brennan came out while playing in a lower tier and is now plying his trade for semi-professional side Hume City.

A-League star Josh Cavallo has come out as gay, making the announcement in a video and open letter on social media.

The 21-year-old is the only openly gay top-flight male footballer in the world.

In his video, he said: "There's something personal that I need to share with everyone. I am a footballer and I am gay."

His open letter stated: "It's been a journey to get to this point in my life, but I couldn't be happier with my decision to come out. I have been fighting my sexuality for six years now and I'm glad I can put that to rest.

"Growing up, I always felt the need to hide myself because I was ashamed. Ashamed I would never be able to do what I loved and be gay. Hiding who I truly am, to pursue a dream I always wished for as a kid, to play football and be treated equally never felt like a reality."

 

pic.twitter.com/CwrfpeWRVL

— Josh Cavallo (@JoshuaCavallo) October 27, 2021

The conversation around the lack of openly gay male elite footballers has been growing in recent times, and Cavallo is hopeful that his statement will help others to find the courage to follow suit.

"I want to help change this," he said. "I want to show that everyone is welcome in the game of football and deserves the right to be their authentic self.

"It is astonishing to know that there are currently no gay professional footballers who are out and actively playing, not only in Australia, but around the world. Hopefully this will change in the near future."

Sydney FC remain on course for a third straight A-League Championship after beating Adelaide United 2-1 at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Saturday's semi-final.

Adelaide produced an upset by beating Brisbane Roar in the Elimination Finals but could not replicate that performance in their semi-final with Sydney.

Adam Le Fondre was on target when the sides met in the regular season last month and converted from the penalty spot to put the hosts ahead in Saturday's clash.

Brazilian striker Bobo added a second before half-time and the Sky Blues held on, despite Le Fondre's penalty miss and Juande's stunning strike to set up a nervy finish.

The home team were awarded a  24th-minute penalty for James Delianov's challenge on Kosta Barbarouses, with Le Fondre sending the goalkeeper the wrong way from 12 yards.

Bobo doubled his side's advantage with a sliding first-time shot to round off a well-crafted move just before the break.

It looked like being plain sailing for Sydney when Javi Lopez took out Barbarouses in the box, but Le Fondre's penalty was saved by Delianov and that sparked an Adelaide revival.

Tomi Juric's free-kick hit the Sydney wall but Juande thumped in the loose ball from 20 yards with a little over 25 minutes still to play.

Thomas Heward-Belle was required to keep out efforts from Juric and Jordan Elsey, but Sydney held on to reach their third final in a row and a fifth in seven years.

Melbourne City and Macarthur FC meet in the other semi-final on Sunday.

Adelaide United progressed to the A-League semi-finals with a 2-1 win over Brisbane Roar, but look set to be without winger Craig Goodwin for a clash with Sydney FC.

A first-half double from Tomi Juric saw Adelaide into the last four, with Brisbane unable to complete a comeback despite Alex Parsons pulling a goal back in the 56th minute.

They now face Sydney for a place in the Grand Final, having come through their elimination match minus Goodwin.

Goodwin suffered an ankle injury in training on Saturday and coach Carl Veart said: "He'll have a scan on Tuesday.

"He's had an X-ray, there's no break there but the way he went down, the pain he was in, it didn't look good.

 

"We can keep our fingers crossed and hopefully it's not too bad but he was in a lot of pain so I think it will be fairly serious."

On loan from Saudi club Abha, Goodwin has been instrumental for Adelaide this season.

He has scored eight goals and provided five assists, with his 53 chances created the eighth-most in the A-League.

Central Coast Mariners will host Macarthur in a home A-League elimination-final next weekend after beating Western United 2-0 following Brisbane Roar's defeat to Sydney FC.

Brisbane were beaten 2-0 by second-placed Sydney in their final match of the regular season at Moreton Daily Stadium on Saturday.

Goals from Kosta Barbarouses and Harry Van der Saag opened the door for the Mariners to move above the Roar and take third place, an opportunity they grabbed with both hands.

Jack Clisby struck in the first half and Marco Urena sealed the victory in stoppage time at Central Coast Stadium.

Alen Stajcic will pit his wits against fellow former Matildas coach Ante Milicic in an all-New South Wales clash next Saturday.

The Roar will have an extra day to prepare for a home showdown with Adelaide United a week on Sunday, when a place in the semi-finals will be up for grabs.

Newcastle Jets moved off the bottom of the table courtesy of a 1-1 draw with Perth Glory, A Jonathan Aspropotamitis own goal giving them a point after Bruno Fornaroli opened the scoring.

That point moved the Jets above Melbourne Victory, while Perth remain ninth.

Adelaide United booked their place in the A-League Finals with a 2-2 draw against 10-man Western Sydney Wanderers at Coopers Stadium thanks to Craig Goodwin's goal.

The hosts required only a point to make certain of a top-six finish and they were ahead inside 11 minutes when Ziggy Gordon turned Ryan Strain's shot into his own net.

However, Wanderers had lost only one of their last eight league meetings away at United and were back on level terms thanks to a Bruce Kamau shot that deflected in off Strain.

Carl Robinson's side had been eliminated from the top-six picture before kick-off yet they found themselves ahead against United through Graham Dorrans' low drive with half an hour played.

A red card for Tass Mourdoukoutas six minutes later following a reckless challenge on Louis D'Arrigo gave United hope but the visitors held firm until the 56th minute.

Goodwin peeled away at the back post and thumped a low shot past Daniel Margush for his third goal in five games.

That proved to be it as Carl Veart's men held on to pick up a draw which keeps them on course for A-League glory and ended Wellington Phoenix's Finals hopes in the process.

Adam Le Fondre scored twice as Sydney FC fired a warning to the rest of the A-League top-six challengers with a 4-1 win over Adelaide United.

The Reds could have drawn level with Sydney in second place in the table with a victory but were firmly out of the contest even before Jordan Elsey was sent off with 63 minutes played.

Le Fondre's superb header from Rhyan Grant's cross put the visitors ahead at Coopers Stadium after just six minutes, and the experienced striker spurned a good chance for a second before the break.

Stefan Mauk hit the post for Adelaide early in the second half and Le Fondre compounded their frustrations two minutes later, burying his second after James Delianov had denied Kosta Barbarouses.

Le Fondre then turned provider, crossing low from the right to present Bobo with a simple finish, the goal given after a VAR review saw an initial offside call correctly overturned.

Elsey, who was arguably fortunate to receive only a yellow card for a two-footed tackle on Bobo in the first half, earned his second booking when he brought down Anthony Caceres.

Teenager Patrick Wood scored a minute after coming off the bench after a positive run, with Yaya Dukuly's first A-League goal at the end of a slick move providing little consolation to Adelaide, who saw an eight-game home unbeaten run come to an end.

Sydney are now four points behind leaders Melbourne City, having played a game more.

Bobo got the only goal as Sydney FC ended a derby drought in their rivalry with Western Sydney Wanderers, whose hopes of reaching the A-League Finals suffered a major blow.

The 1-0 win for Sydney FC at the SCG extended their 100 per cent record – now three wins from three – in games played at the world-famous cricket ground.

Brazilian Bobo and Western Sydney's Bruce Kamau had goals disallowed before the game's decisive moment arrived in the 62nd minute, Milos Ninkovic's dinked cross from the left deftly headed into the bottom right corner by Sydney's prolific striker.

It gave Bobo a 10th goal in 19 A-League appearances this season and his fifth goal in games between the Sky Blues and Western Sydney. Only Alex Brosque (six) has scored more goals in the history of the rivalry.

The neat finish also allowed Sydney to end their six-game winless run against Western Sydney (L3 D3), with their most recent previous victory having come in December 2018.

Sydney sit second in the table, with Melbourne City having already secured the Premiers Plate, but the race is on for post-season places and Western Sydney are in danger of missing out. Needing a top-six finish, they sit ninth with three games remaining, three points adrift of sixth-placed Brisbane Roar, who have a game in hand.

Adelaide United nudged up to third position with a 1-0 win over lowly Melbourne Victory, with Craig Goodwin scoring in the 39th minute, securing a seventh win for the Reds in the last eight league meetings between the sides.

Perth Glory's Finals hopes were hit by a 1-1 draw against fifth-placed Macarthur. 

Diego Castro put hosts Perth ahead in the 13th minute from the penalty spot after Andy Keogh was impeded, but Matt Derbyshire levelled on the half-hour mark, plundering his 14th goal of the campaign from close range.

Adelaide United boosted their hopes of progressing straight through to the A-League semi-finals with a 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar.

Craig Goodwin's 23rd-minute strike was the difference between the two sides, with victory leaving Adelaide a point behind Central Coast Mariners in the race for second place.

The Roar had a golden chance to level from the penalty spot six minutes before half-time, but Joseph Champness' effort was kept out by a low save from James Delianov after Ryan Kitto handled in the area.

Sydney FC and Macarthur are level with Adelaide on 35 points as the season nears an exciting climax.

Brisbane remain in sixth, the final quarter-final place, despite their defeat as seventh-placed Western Sydney Wanderers were thumped 5-1 by Perth Glory.

The Glory prevailed thanks to a masterclass from Andy Keogh, who scored four goals for Perth to move them three points behind Brisbane. Joel Chianese rounded out the win deep into injury time.

The day's other game saw Wellington Phoenix go within three points of the Roar as they held league leaders Melbourne City to a 2-2 draw.

Jamie Maclaren's free-kick nine minutes from time put City 2-1 ahead to seemingly secure maximum points, only for Tomer Hemed's second in the 88th minute to ensure a share of the spoils.

Jamie Maclaren became Melbourne City's record scorer as his double sealed a 4-1 win for the A-League leaders over faltering Adelaide United.

The Australia international went past Bruno Fornaroli by reaching 58 goals for Melbourne, who extended their lead to 11 points at the top of the table.

Maclaren's late penalty and close-range finish followed earlier strikes from Scott Jamieson and Scott Galloway, with Ben Halloran fleetingly giving the visitors to AAMI Park some hope early in the second half.

Adelaide, though, are now without a win in five games and missed a chance here to move second in the table.

Jamieson marked his 100th appearance for Melbourne with a goal against one of his former clubs, making the breakthrough after eight minutes when his 22-yard strike deflected past James Delianov.

Galloway then capitalised on a clever corner routine just before the break, charging into the penalty area and rapping a fierce left-footed shot across goal and into the bottom-right corner.

Halloran netted from a tight angle early in the second half to trim the lead, but Melbourne were awarded a penalty in the 71st minute after Stefan Colakovski was scythed down by Joshua Cavallo.

Maclaren cracked the spot-kick into the left corner, before sealing the victory and the club record in the 82nd minute when he slotted in from Marco Tilio's low centre, delivered from the left.

Adelaide United continue to lose ground on A-League leaders Melbourne City following a 0-0 draw with Wellington Phoenix.

The hosts saw Ryan Strain sent off 16 minutes from time to dampen hopes of a late rally, with Carl Veart's men winless in four.

Adelaide are now six points behind City and have played a game more, with a trip to Melbourne to face their rivals next on the agenda.

Having been held to a goalless draw last time out against Western United, Adelaide started brightly and Stefan Mauk should have capitalised on Josh Cavallo's fine delivery, but instead miscontrolled when well placed.

Tomi Juric saw a strong header saved smartly by Oliver Sail as the home side pressed, but after a blank first half ambition had to take a back seat when Strain got his marching orders for a second yellow card after he kicked the ball away.

Adelaide United missed the chance to go second in the A-League as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Western United in an ill-tempered and dramatic encounter on Friday.

The first of two goals disallowed by VAR came in the 16th minute as Tomislav Uskok appeared to handle the ball in the process of nudging it on to Besart Berisha for an easy close-range finish.

Western were then dealt a significant blow just past the half-hour mark as Victor Sanchez was dismissed for a second booking, though Adelaide struggled to make their numerical advantage count.

In fact, it was Western who again had the ball in the net with 11 minutes to go, as Dylan Pierias latched on to a ball over the Adelaide defence, skipped past approaching goalkeeper Joe Gauci – who took out one of his defenders in the process – and tucked into an empty net.

But another VAR review saved Adelaide, this one rather more controversial as footage of the decision-making process suggested it was inconclusive, or marginal at best regarding the call for offside.

It continued to heat up in the latter stages, with an apparent dive by Adelaide's Ben Halloran sparked something of a brawl, which resulted in yellow cards being shown to Alhassan Toure and Andrew Durante.

Toure was then sent off four minutes later for a crude challenge on Durante as a feisty contest ultimately ended level.

Tomer Hemed scored from the penalty spot deep into added time as Wellington Phoenix rallied from a goal down to beat Adelaide United 2-1 on Sunday.

Adelaide had lost one of the previous 13 A-League meetings between the teams and knew a win on ANZAC Day would move them to the top of the table, above both second-placed Central Coast Mariners and leaders Melbourne City.

They appeared set to do just that when Stefan Mauk converted a cut-back cross following a run by Ryan Strain down United's right flank, breaking the deadlock in the 51st minute.

However, that lead did not last too long. Ben Waine made it four goals in as many games to get Wellington level, seizing on a loose ball before rounding goalkeeper Joe Gauci to score.

The contest at WIN Stadium appeared set to finish as a draw, only for Wellington to have a chance to win it late when Gauci was adjudged to have fouled Phoenix substitute Jaushua Sotirio during a scramble inside the penalty area.

Hemed held his nerve to convert the penalty in the 97th minute, clinching Wellington – who are on a four-game unbeaten run - a first league triumph over Adelaide since December 2019.

Brisbane Roar had also been due to host Perth Glory on Sunday, but their fixture was postponed following the introduction of a three-day lockdown by the Western Australian and Queensland Governments in relation to the Perth and Peel areas.

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