Macarthur spoil Irankunda’s Adelaide farewell as 10-man Bulls survive last-gasp penalty in absolutely wild game


A 10-man Macarthur FC have scored twice in the final 10 minutes and goalkeeper Filip Kurto saved an added-time penalty to defeat Adelaide United 2-1 at Coopers Stadium.

Nestory Irankunda had given Adelaide the perfect start on Friday night with another stunning goal in the 20th minute and the Reds looked like they were in the box seat for victory when the visitors were reduced to 10 men on 72 minutes.

But Macarthur goals in the 84th and 88th looked to have snatched an unlikely victory, before another twist.

THIS GAME ???? Filip Kurto saves a 97th-minute Nestory Irankunda penalty to keep @mfcbulls in the lead! ????‍

Tune in on Paramount+ ????#ADLvMAC

— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) April 12, 2024

The hosts were awarded a penalty after VAR intervened and, in his final home game before joining Bayern Munich, Irankunda stepped up, but his effort was saved by the Bulls shot stopper.

“It showed the character of the boys and the togetherness that we have,” Macarthur coach Mile Sterjovski said after his side moved up to fourth on the ladder.

“I really felt like they were playing for each other tonight and it’s come at a very important time for us with a couple of games to go and secure that spot in the finals.”

Adelaide opened the scoring courtesy of another goal for Irankunda’s highlight reel.

Isaias won possession in midfield and found Stefan Mauk, who released Irankunda out wide on the right.

The teenage sensation charged towards the Macarthur goal before shifting the ball to his right foot and unleashing a missile from the corner of the 18-yard box.

???????? ???????????????????????? ???? Nestory Irankunda’s ridiculous strike gets better with every watch ????????

The 18-year-old with a ???????????????????????? of a right foot ????

Tune in on Paramount+ ????#ADLvMAC

— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) April 12, 2024

On 42 minutes, Ethan Alagich fired a left-foot half volley from 22 metres which rattled the crossbar and in the 64th teammate Irankunda drove forward and cut across the edge of the area before slipping through Ryan Kitto.

The Adelaide skipper cut back for Mauk whose first-time effort forced Kurto into an excellent reflex save.

The Bulls had a glorious chance almost immediately after when Kearyn Baccus rose highest and headed goalwards a Clayton Lewis corner, but James Delianov swatted it away.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men on 72 minutes when Yianna Nicolau was shown a red card, upgraded by referee Ben Abraham, for a stray elbow which collected Irankunda in the face.

Not nice from Nicolaou on Irankunda ????

The Macarthur man is given his marching orders for a dangerous swing of the arm against the Adelaide United talisman ????#ADLvMAC

— Paramount+ Australia (@ParamountPlusAU) April 12, 2024

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Macarthur managed an equaliser after substitute Kristian Popovic crossed in from the left and Valerie Germain chested down for Ariath Pol to slam home.

And with just two minutes remaining, Daniel Da Silva recycled his own corner and lofted a cross to the back post where Tommy Smith nodded in unattended.

But there was further drama when the Reds were awarded a penalty for a Tomi Uskok handball and Kurto guessed the right way to save Irankunda’s spot kick.

“We stopped playing forward,” United coach Carl Veart said.

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“Instead of trying to get that second goal we just went into protection mode and you can’t do that in football and the way we defended was not good enough.”

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