Corey Gameiro opened his Wellington Phoenix account to earn his side a 2-2 draw against Adelaide United at Westpac Stadium today.
The Phoenix remain last on the ladder and will feel they should have had three points instead of one as they peppered the 10-man visitors for the last 20 minutes.
Down 2-1, former Phoenix player Jon McKain was sent off in the 68th minute and Gameiro, on loan from Fulham, lashed in the equaliser with 10 minutes to play.
The Phoenix really needed a win and had chances to do so but the point at least keeps alive their faint hopes of sneaking into the finals.
Adelaide's first-half goals came courtesy of two of the sweetest left-footed strikes seen at Westpac Stadium.
The visitors looked the more likely side early and new signing Tomi Juric made it two goals in two starts in the 20th minute.
Iain Ramsay sent in a cross from the left flank which landed behind Juric, but even off balance the 21-year-old adjusted brilliantly to connect with a powerful and accurate shot.
Mercurial Adelaide goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic then handed the Phoenix a lifeline in the 31st minute.
As Galekovic dithered on the ball, the lively Gameiro pounced to pinch it off him and Jeremy Brockie had an open goal to tap in to.
Brockie's 12th for the season puts him equal second in the golden boot race with Brisbane's Besart Berisha, and behind only Central Coast's Daniel McBreen who has 15.
But the joy was short-lived as Marcelo Carrusca scored a cracker just two minutes later.
The Argentine picked the ball up from Cassio on the counter attack and let rip with a left-footed screamer to give Glen Moss no chance.
It summed up the quality other A-League clubs are getting from their imports this season that the Phoenix are not.
Just one of the Phoenix's visa players, Paul Ifill, started today's match, and while trying hard he is struggling for form.
The 33-year-old got on the ball much more than last week but almost every trick he tried came unstuck.
Of the other imports, Stein Huysegems and Dani Sanchez started on the bench, while Benjamin Totori and Alex Smith couldn't even crack the squad.
While Adelaide deserved their halftime lead, they sat back in the second half against a Phoenix side that upped its intensity.
It brought the small crowd of 4892 into the game and their roars got louder when McKain was given his marching orders with a second yellow card earned for his foul on Vince Lia.
McKain was forced to do the walk of shame past the Yellow Fever and into the tunnel and had to watch helplessly as the Reds let their lead slip.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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