Perth Glory’s drama-filled week hit another low note on Sunday after star winger Ryo Nagai was injured in the club’s 0-0 A-League draw with Adelaide in Perth.
Nagai was carried off the ground by two trainers in the 77th minute after appearing to injure his hamstring while sprinting towards goal.
In a match blighted by poor errors from both sides, Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic made a few sharp saves in the first half to ensure his team escaped with a share of the spoils.
The result left Perth three points adrift of the top-six, while Adelaide are a further three points behind.
That gap will widen if Central Coast pick up any points in their clash with Western Sydney on Monday night.
Adelaide coach Josep Gombau was happy with the result.
“We have a clean sheet for two weeks running,” said Gombau, who guided his team to a 4-0 win over Central Coast last week.
“We had more possession, we shot more. I’m satisfied with what the players did.”
The Glory entered the match under the spotlight following the mid-week sacking of coach Alistair Edwards.
The former Socceroo was given his marching orders following a player revolt led by skipper Jacob Burns, with the issue of nepotism central to their concerns.
Burns was re-instated to the starting line-up by interim coach Kenny Lowe, but there was no room for Ryan Edwards, who according to the club had been struck down by a bout of gastro on Friday.
However, his brother Cameron, who had featured mostly off the bench this season, was handed a rare start before being subbed off in the 58th minute.
Burns received mostly cheers when his name was read out pre-game, but there were a few boos around.
The 35-year-old didn’t enjoy his best outing, committing a series of mistakes after experiencing what must have been a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the week.
Although Glory controlled play for much of the first half, it was Adelaide who created the better opportunities.
Vukovic did well to block out Marcelo Carrusca’s long-range effort, and the custodian pulled off a brilliant reflex save with his legs in the 40th minute to deny Jeronimo Nuemann.
Adelaide started the second half brightly, with playmaker Jeronimo causing Perth’s defence a few problems.
But the visitors couldn’t find a clear-cut path to goal, with the match ending in a tame draw in front of 9436 fans.
Nagai was on crutches after the game, but interim coach Kenny Lowe said he was unsure about the extent of the hamstring injury.
Lowe, who is hoping to win the race to become Glory coach beyond this season, said he was proud of the way his players put the week of controversy behind them.
“For them to show the character and the attitude after what’s gone on – they dug in there and worked ever so hard,” Lowe said.
“Obviously the quality of the game may not have been the best. But it’s been an interesting week.
“They’ve been top class today from an attitude and character perspective.”
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 1 (Storm Roux 27m) bt WELLINGTON PHOENIX 0 at North Sydney Oval. Crowd: 6,755. Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones.
NEWCASTLE JETS 2 (James Donachie 34m og, Joe Gibbs 87m) bt BRISBANE ROAR 0 at Suncorp Stadium. Crowd: 14,848. Referee: Peter Green.
MELBOURNE VICTORY 3 (Mitch Nichols 38m, 63m, James Troisi 60m) bt MELBOURNE HEART 1 (Nick Kalmar 80m) at AAMI Park. Crowd: 26,491. Referee: Ben Williams.
WELLINGTON PHOENIX 1 (Stein Huysegems 33m) bt SYDNEY FC 0 at Westpac Stadium. Crowd: 6,339. Referee: Peter O’Leary.
PERTH GLORY 0 drew ADELAIDE UNITED 0 at nib Stadium. Crowd: 9,436. Referee: Alan Milliner.
Playing on Monday
Western Sydney v Mariners (1900 aest)
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