Gauci leads Reds' star defensive display

Adelaide United coach Carl Veart has lauded his team's defensive resolve in the gruelling 1-0 A-League Men victory over Macarthur which featured a starring role for Reds' goalkeeper Joe Gauci.

United broke the deadlock on six minutes in Friday's match through Zach Clough but were reduced to 10 men just 10 minutes later when Ben Warland was given his marching orders.

The visitors took advantage and peppered Adelaide's area with crosses and set pieces, before Gauci produced a stunning save midway through the first half, tipping a goal-bound header around the post.

Macarthur were also reduced to 10 men just before the hour, but the Bulls continued to test Gauci who denied Al Hassan Toure in a one-on-one before also preventing the subsequent ricochet from crossing the goalline with a desperate, lunging dive.

"We made it difficult for them and we defended very well," Veart said.

"We restricted them to long range shots and long-range crosses and then, when they did get into some good areas, Joe stood strong and kept his line clean."

Veart praised the Reds' resolve in dealing with their numerical disadvantage, as they nearly nabbed a second just before the break only for Hiroshi Ibusuki to head wide after a perfect cross from Clough.

"I'm very happy with the boys, even when we were down to 10 and they had 11, we still had two or three excellent opportunities to get that second goal which would have been nice," he said.

United were forced into a reshuffle in the absence of regular centre backs Lachie Barr (injury) and Alex Popovic (suspension), with Nick Ansell a standout in the heart of defence, starting his first game since the start of December 2021.

Barr and Popovic will be available for selection for Sunday's clash against Melbourne City, as will Isaias and Juande who return from suspension, with Veart hinting starting places will be up for grabs.

"Players have to come in and step up. That was Nick Ansell's first start since his Achilles injury a long time ago, and I thought he was tremendous tonight," said the coach.

"We've got four players coming back into the squad next week, but I always say if you come in and you do well, you hold your position and it's for those other players to fight hard and get it back."

Macarthur coach Dwight Yorke lamented what might have been for the Bulls, who dominated possession and doubled Adelaide's attempts on goal.

The former Manchester United striker couldn't fault the players' performance but conceded they lacked the quality to convert the chances.

"That's the disappointing thing in our performance. The good effort, great in terms of creating chances, the commitment from the players, all of that was superb," he said.

"But we've got to be clever enough, smart enough, that's what a good team does.

"I know we are a relatively young team but all those qualities are certainly lacking in our approach to games."