In a tight and hard-fought affair, neither Melbourne City nor Adelaide United were unable to come out on top at Coopers Stadium.
After an early onslaught from Adelaide United, which saw Hiroshi Ibusuki come closest for the Reds to open the scoring as his powerful strike from distance forced Tom Glover to scramble across his net.
Jamie Maclaren was next to have his chance on goal but the Socceroo striker failed to convert from close range after Joe Gauci produced an extremely good save off the 28-year-old’s shot.
Again, it was Maclaren who failed to convert from close range after a whipped ball into the striker saw the Golden Boot winner unable to finish his chance despite being only yards out from Gauci’s goal.
The hosts thought they had a penalty on the 65th minute after a cross from Isaías struck the elbow of Carl Jenkinson inside the box but referee Kris Griffiths-Jones immediately waved off the claims.
Like his fellow-teammate Maclaren, Andrew Nabbout was a whisker away from putting the away side ahead but his strike fired against the upright of Gauci’s net.
Melbourne City/Adelaide United will have the chance to exact revenge on Sunday afternoon as the two sides once again meet in the second leg of the A-League Men’s Finals Series.
Despite capturing the A-League Men’s Golden Boot for a second season running, Jamie Maclaren’s form has dipped in recent games and the 30-year-old has been met with stark criticism from the Australian Football scene.
It’s now four games without a goal for the Socceroo striker who had two key chances to convert against the Reds from close range but both times he failed to put his shot on target.
Even so, the Victorian has only netted three goals in his last 10 competitive matches with two of those goals coming in the Asian Champions League against Jeonnam Dragons and United City FC.
Maclaren would be ruing his missed chances at Coopers Stadium on Tuesday evening after his side were held to a 0-0 draw in Adelaide.
CHANCES APLENTY MISSED FOR BOTH TEAMS
Despite the game ending 0-0 at Coopers Stadium, both teams will be disappointed they were unable to take home the advantage leading into the second leg of the A-League Men Semi Final.
Neither side were able to impose their attacking will on each other for more than short periods in the match as well as key players missing vital chances.
The premiers created good chances across the game that fell to Maclaren, Nabbout and Leckie but neither player was able to capitalise on the chances that were presented to them.
Melbourne City’s missed chances allowed the Reds to grow in the game but they themselves fell victim to missed opportunities as only Lachlan Brook, Craig Goodwin and Hiroshi Ibusuki came closest to scoring for the Reds.
JOE GAUCI STAND-OUT
Only hours before facing Melbourne City at home, Joe Gauci was named in Tony Vidmar’s U23’s Australian side which will be competing at the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup in Uzbekistan.
Despite being out for the majority of the season after battling injuries, the 21-year-old pulled off a number of impressive saves to keep his side alive in the second leg of the A-League Semi Finals.
Connor Metcalfe had his shot clawed out of the night sky after Gauci scrambled across the 12-yard-line to deny Metcalfe his third goal of the season.
Again, Gauci pulled off another impressive save after Leckie’s strike from a tight-angle forced the Reds custodian to once again deny the red-hot City side.
A-League Men Semi-Final Leg One, Coopers Stadium
Adelaide United 0
Melbourne City 0