Reds, Victory even in tight ALM contest

Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory have shared the points following a 1-1 draw in an intense A-League Men encounter at Coopers Stadium.

The Victory snapped a run of three straight losses after a bullet from Nick D'Agostino early in the second half levelled the scores following Craig Goodwin's opener.

The Reds were thrown a curve ball before kick-off with coach Carl Veart too unwell to attend the match, leaving assistant coach and former Victory player Mark Milligan in charge.

"Carl not being here, whether we like it or not, is a distraction," Milligan said.

"For them to be able to focus, and for Goody (Goodwin) and (Ryan) Kitto and these older boys to drive the group like they did was fantastic."

It didn't take long for Adelaide to break the deadlock with Goodwin opening the scoring on seven minutes.

Ben Halloran cut inside from the right with a superb run, dribbling three players on the edge of the area before teeing up Goodwin.

The winger faked a shot and sold Jason Geria a dummy, before cutting inside and firing into the roof of the net with his right foot.

Five minutes later and United had another glorious opportunity when Zach Clough slipped through Halloran who snuck in behind Victory's defence but his shot from a tight angle was batted away by Matt Acton.

Victory enjoyed a decent spell of possession midway through the first half and had claims for a penalty on 26 minutes.

Chris Ikonomidis dribbled past Halloran inside the area and cut back for Jake Brimmer who, from close range, rifled a shot into Adelaide defender Alex Popovic.

Brimmer attacked the rebound and forced an impressive reflex save from Joe Gauci who eventually claimed possession.

Replays showed Brimmer's shot struck Popovic's arm which was positioned close to his body, but referee Shaun Evans allowed play to continue while VAR reviewed and were satisfied with the initial call.

The visitors had a great chance to equalise in first injury time when D'Agostino clipped the ball over Adelaide's defence for Josh Brillante, but the Victory blasted his half-volley wide.

Victory burst out of the half-time break, intent on finding an equaliser and they didn't have to wait long.

Four minutes into the second half and Adelaide were undone courtesy of a stunning strike from D'Agostino.

Brillante latched onto a long ball over the Reds defence after a run from deep, and held it expertly waiting for support.

Melbourne's skipper laid off for D'Agostino who struck a perfect, first-time effort with his laces which curled away from the outstretched Gauci and into the top corner.

Victory dominated for a large period following the goal, and looked the more likely to find a second with various half chances.

Adelaide failed to find the attacking rhythm they had enjoyed in the first half and were limited to chances on the counter.

Melbourne Victory coach Tony Popovic praised his side's response after going down 1-0.

"Conceding early was always going to be a challenge," he said.

"But I thought the players showed a lot of confidence, a lot of belief.

"It didn't look like a team who thought they couldn't win that match and that's really pleasing, with all the young boys that are on the field."