A late Jamie Maclaren penalty has ensured City came away from AAMI Park with a point, playing out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Adelaide on Sunday afternoon.
City overcame a two-goal deficit at the break, with goals to Mathew Leckie and Maclaren seeing City record its third consecutive draw.
The match was unfortunately overshadowed by a serious injury to Adelaide midfielder Juande, with the Spaniard suffering a horror injury when he and Florin Berenguer challenged for the ball in the 66th minute.
Play was halted for half an hour at AAMI Park while the Reds midfielder received the necessary treatment, with the game eventually getting back underway after the lengthy delay.
Rado Vidosic made two changes to his starting XI, opting to bring young duo Jordan Bos and Callum Talbot back into the fold.
Bos was ruled out due to concussion protocols last week but replaced skipper Scott Jamieson in the left-back position, while Tallbot returned to the starting side in the opposite full-back position, pushing Scott Galloway to the bench.
Starting XI: 1. Tom GLOVER (GK), 25. Callum TALBOT, 6. Thomas LAM, 22. Curtis GOOD, 38. Jordan BOS, 13. Aiden O’NEILL, 8. Richard VAN DER VENNE, 14. Valon BERISHA, 23. Marco TILIO, 7. Mathew LECKIE, 9. Jamie MACLAREN.
Substitutes: 33. Matthew SUTTON (GK), 2. Scott GALLOWAY, 3. Scott JAMIESON, 4. Nuno REIS, 10. Florin BERENGUER, 15. Andrew NABBOUT, 16. Taras GOMULKA.
City got off to a shaky start with an uncharacteristic error in its own penalty box opening the door for George Blackwood to score in opening minute.
After creating numerous chances for the City frontline all season long, Valon Berisha was finally rewarded for his patience and persistence, notching his first assist of the season with his cross from the corner headed home by Finnish international Thomas Lam to draw us level in the 12th minute.
Unfortunately for City, Adelaide was ahead just five minutes later, with a Craig Goodwin corner nodded on from the near post into the path of Ryan Kitto whose own header was fired into the side-netting.
The visiting Adelaide side had their third for the afternoon in the 43rd, again capitalising on a defensive slip-up for City.
Needing a big second half effort, City was quick to mount a comeback with Mathew Leckie scoring in the 52nd to rocket City back into the game.
Leckie drilled in an awkward bouncing shot from the corner of the box and it slipped through Adelaide goalkeeper Joe Gauci’s grasp to bring City back right back into the contest.
Play was then halted for a considerable time due to Juande’s injury but once play did eventually resume, City continued to go aerial as it chased that elusive third goal.
In the space of 10 minutes, Florin Berengeur almost broke the game wide open, producing a handful of sublime balls into the box for the City front three.
Maclaren went close to firing City level, with Berengeur’s cross finding the City number 9 in the box only for his shot to just go wide.
In the 82nd minute Berengeur once again had the ball on a string, finding Curtis Good whose header only just went wide of the goal and an oncoming Jamie Maclaren at the far post.
A few moments later Bos weaved his way past the defence and produced a prime opportunity for Andrew Nabbout at the far post, but the wingers header was just off-target.
As the clock ticked into stoppage time, Jordan Bos weaved his magic in the box once again, showing incredible footwork and agility to dribble through some tired Adelaide defence towards goal before being brought down in the box to earn his side a last-gasp penalty.
With the game on his shoulders, Jamie Maclaren stepped up to give City an unlikely point on what was a challenging afternoon.
Adelaide’s goalkeeper Joe Gauci guessed the right way but Maclaren put enough power behind his shot to see it into the back of the net, ensuring City weren’t going to leave AAMI Park empty handed.
City will be looking to break its run of three consecutive draws when it returns to AAMI Park next week when to face Macarthur FC on Saturday 4 February.