- Associated Press - Saturday, December 3, 2016

SYDNEY (AP) - Nicholas Colazo scored a contentious equalizer as Melbourne City overcame fatigue to snatch a 1-1 draw with top-four rival Brisbane in the ninth round of Australian football’s A-League.

Colazo’s first goal for Melbourne canceled out a first-half strike by Brisbane’s Jamie Maclaren and gave it an important point four days after winning the final of the knockout FFA Cup and after a run of three matches in six days.

The draw left City in second place, six points behind Sydney FC which continued its unbeaten start to the season - seven wins and two draws - with a 2-0 win over eighth placed Newcastle.

Brisbane’s fourth-straight draw - a club record in the A-League - keeps it in fourth place.

Melbourne Victory remains in third after its 1-1 draw with fifth-placed Perth, while Western Sydney Wanderers beat Central Coast 4-1 to end a six-match winless run and move to sixth.

Adelaide hosts Wellington in the final match of the round on Sunday.

The match between Melbourne City and Brisbane was tinged with bitterness even before it began. City coach John Van’t Schip accused his Brisbane counterpart John Aloisi of “whingeing like a baby” when he warned the referee of City captain Bruno Fornaroli’s alleged habit of going to ground to win free kicks and penalties.

Aloisi laughed off the comment after the match.

“If he thinks I’m a baby, probably so do my wife and kids,” Aloisi said. “I know deep down he was probably a little bit worried we would influence the referee, which I don’t think we did at all. I thought the referee was excellent tonight.”

Aloisi had no complaints about the circumstances in which Colazo’s goal was scored, though his players had angrily contested it on the field. The Brisbane players had called for play to be paused to allow defender Jade North to receive medical treatment. The referee allowed play to continue and Luke Brattan showed initiative to play the ball forward to Nick Fitzgerald whose backheel found the unmarked Colazo.

Aloisi said his players “sort of switched off which they probably didn’t have to. It cost us a goal.”

Sydney had 19 shots on goal to Newcastle’s three but had to wait until late in the match to secure its seventh win of the season and its 12th in succession over the Jets.

Milos Ninkovic put the league leaders ahead in the 69th minute and Bernie Ibini-Isei continued an injury comeback with the second 10 minutes later.

Western Sydney came from a goal down to beat Central Coast 4-1, finishing with 10 men after goalkeeper Jerrad Tyson was sent off in the 60th for a late challenge on Trent Buhagiar.

Blake Powell put Central Coast ahead after five minutes but the Wanderers responded immediately though Japanese winger Jumpei Kusukami and added goals to Nicolas Martinez, Jake McGing and Brendon Santalab.

Melbourne Victory also came from behind to draw with Perth, though it squandered opportunities for a third-straight win. Andy Keogh put Perth ahead after 17 minutes and Besart Berisha replied for Melbourne four minutes from halftime.


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