Adelaide United have scored dramatic injury time winner to defeat Canberra United 2-1 in sweltering conditions at Marden Sports Complex in the second round of the A-League Women.
Emily Condon was the hero, burying her shot from close range in the 91st minute after a delightful lob over Canberra’s defence by Nanako Sasaki.
The Japanese midfielder had already stunned the crowd with a superb 20-yard half-volley to level the scores midway through the first half, and her cheeky assist was just as classy.
Adelaide coach Adrian Stenta said while it wasn’t a polished performance from the Reds, he was thrilled his side responded after last week’s disappointing loss.
“It probably still wasn’t a complete performance, but I’m just really pleased the girls found a way to win,” he said.
Canberra had broken the deadlock on 16 minutes when Chelsee Washington cleverly slipped through Michelle Heyman.
The veteran striker latched onto the perfectly weighted pass and placed her shot low and hard past the onrushing Adelaide keeper Annalee Grove.
The two sides headed in for a drinks break before restarting and it was the visitors who were straight on the attack.
Margot Robinne dribbled to the byline before her dangerous cross was tipped away by Grove, narrowly avoiding two Canberra attackers who were waiting for the cutback.
On 23 minutes, Adelaide levelled the scores courtesy of a stunning long range strike from Sasaki.
Winger Chelsie Dawber pounced on a loose ball out of defence from the visitors and teed up striker Fiona Warts, but her first time effort was strongly parried away by Canberra ‘keeper Keeley Richards.
The rebound sat up perfectly for Sasaki who smashed it first time from 20 yards, finding the side net and leaving Richards with no chance.
Both sides enjoyed periods of possession after the interval, without carving out many clear cut chances.
The visitors did break through Adelaide’s defence on occasion, but lacked the polish to fashion any opportunity to test Grove while the Reds had spells in front of Canberra’s goal but also failed to pull the trigger.
With the temperaturestill hovering around 30 degrees in the second half, both teams grew increasingly fatigued after an end-to-end contest before the Reds broke through to steal a winner.
Bearing down on the Canberra goal, Sasaki scooped the ball over the visitors’ defence for Condon who raced onto the pass and slotted her left-footed strike past Richards.
Canberra coach Vicki Linton was disappointed her side coughed up a share of the points.
“To lose, I think awell-earned point would’ve been deserved for the effort and performance we put in today, so it hurts a little bit, just at the minute,” she said.