Tatura export Vince Lia made his Hyundai A-League debut for Adelaide on Friday night.
The 32-year-old made his first start for the Reds against Brisbane in round two, after missing the season opener due to suspension, and it was Marco Kurz’s side that prevailed in thrilling circumstances, winning 2-1.
Kurz’s gruelling pre-season paid dividends in the dying stages in a classic smash and grab at Suncorp Stadium.
Former Seria A striker and new Roar marquee striker Massimo Macarone opened the scoring with his maiden A-League goal and up until the 88th minute, it looked as if the 38-year-old had secured all three points.
But substitute Ryan Kitto squared the ledger after teaming up with another substitute Baba Diawara to smash the ball home from 7m after Roar was left flat-footed inside the box.
Two minutes into stoppage time Johan Absalonsen scored the winner and his second of the campaign when he smacked the ball onto the crossbar from inside the 18-yard box before the leather crashed into the back of the net to ensure United would return to South Australia with all three points.
However, when United was trailing 10-year Wellington Phoenix servant Lia had a chance to equalise for the Reds after missing last weekend’s 1-1 draw against his old club away.
Lia, 32, slotting into the midfield role replacing 2010 FIFA World Cup playmaker Karim Matmour, who was left in Adelaide after suffering from general soreness according to club officials, saw his opportunity cleared from an Absalonsen cross in the 35th minute.
Lia was eventually substituted in the 66th minute, but the commanding midfielder did not bow out without a fight, winning all of his aerial duels, while running at 88 per cent pass efficiency.
Lia will have another chance to impress under Kurz tomorrow night when the Reds host rival Melbourne Victory at Adelaide Oval.