A-League: Wellington Phoenix's Mandi sent off for kicking Adelaide opponent

A ten man Wellington Phoenix have held on for a goalless draw with Adelaide United in their A-League football game in South Australia on Saturday.

After a dull first half the match exploded into a heated clash after the interval which saw an all-in stoush and a red card for Phoenix midfielder Mandi just after the hour mark.       

The Spaniard lashed out at former Wellington player Vince Lia while he laid over the ball and after consultation with the VAR, Mandi was sent off after a lengthy delay. 

Adelaide and Wellington came into the contest sitting in fifth and sixth respectively with an identical goal difference to suggest an even contest would unfold.

In the 12th minute Lia had the first chance to score against his former club but his reflex shot on the turn sailed high and wide.

For the visitors Mandi had the best chance five minutes before the break though his long range effort was easily saved by Paul Izzo.            

Mandi kicking his opponent.
Photo showing Mandi kicking his opponent. Photo credit: AAP

On the stroke of half-time, Lia probably should have broken the deadlock when Ryan Kitto who delivered an inch-perfect cross but the midfielder headed straight into the arms of Phoenix goalkeeper Filip Kurto.            

Wellington had the first chance after the interval with exciting young playmaker Sarpreet Singh slipping through David Williams who forced a great save from the advancing Izzo.          

The Reds then had a couple of good chances with Jordan Elsey powering a Craig Goodwin corner directly at Kurto who only just kept it out, before Kitto stung the palms of the Wellington shot stopper from a tight angle.

The contest boiled over on the hour when Mandi laid a boot into Lia while he was on the deck, curled over the ball, after tangling with Liberato Cacece.   

Lia's team-mates remonstrated immediately before an all-in melee ensued.      

After tempers finally settled, referee Stephen Lucas initially only showed Mandi a yellow card before he consulted with VAR and produced a red card after viewing replays of the incident.         

United controlled the rest of the match and nearly found the decisive goal on 86 minutes when Kitto and Ben Halloran both had shots desperately blocked by Wellington after a teasing cross from Scott Galloway.               

A minute later and the Reds forced another goal mouth scramble before substitute George Blackwood blasted over from close range.       

The Phoenix are now unbeaten in their last six games, one off the club record of seven, which they've achieved twice in the 2009/10 and 2014/15 seasons.

They face the Western Sydney Wanderers in their next match on Tuesday.  

AAP