ADELAIDE United have stolen a 2-1 A-League win over Brisbane Roar after Sergio Cirio netted a controversial stoppage-time penalty in a farcical finish at Coopers Stadium on Sunday.
Just when it seemed the points would be shared, the Reds received a gift from referee Stephen Lucas, who sent off Roar goalkeeper Michael Theo in injury time.
Theo made a clumsy attempt to catch a regulation cross but when he did gain hold of the ball, he was grabbed from behind by Adelaide's Dylan McGowan.
In seemingly trying to free himself from McGowan, Theo caught the Reds defender with an elbow to the face.
Lucas responded by sending off the Roar keeper before pointing to the penalty spot.
With Brisbane having used all their substitutes, midfielder Thomas Kristensen went in goals.
But the former Danish international was sent the wrong way by Cirio, who calmly slotted the ball home to secure cellar-dwellers Adelaide just their fourth win of the season.
Brisbane coach John Aloisi and football director Craig Moore were furious after the match, while a seemingly embarrassed Reds coach Guillermo Amor headed straight down the tunnel as soon as Lucas blew the final whistle.
Earlier, Lucas had sent off Reds playmaker Marcelo Carrusca for a second bookable offence in the 82nd minute.
The referee had also earnt the ire of the Roar in the 77th minute when he booked Kristensen following an alleged foul of Socceroos bolter Riley McGree when replays showed the Dane made no contact with the Adelaide midfielder.
The loss leaves the Roar three points adrift of third-placed Melbourne City, who thrashed Newcastle 4-0 on Saturday night.
Adelaide moved to within two points of ninth-placed Central Coast Mariners with their win.
The Reds went ahead in the 16th minute via Baba Diawara's first A-League goal.
The Senegalese striker headed home a Carrusca corner, guiding the ball between Roar keeper Theo and the near post.
It was the only goal of the first half. Five minutes into the second stanza, Roar skipper Matt McKay was forced off with a knee injury, and replaced by teenage midfielder Joe Caletti.
But Brisbane soldiered on and were rewarded with an equaliser 10 minutes later from Maclaren.
The former Perth Glory marksman netted his 14th goal of the season, tapping home a pass from Corey Brown after Reds goalkeeper Galekovic failed to properly deal with a Kristensen shot.
The Roar were in control for the remainder of the contest, but couldn't find a second goal, even after Carrusca's red card.
Instead, it was Adelaide who grabbed through winner through Cirio's penalty in the dramatic finish that led to Brisbane's sixth loss of the season.
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