Adelaide United 2-3 Sydney FC: McGowan header sinks 10-man Reds after Le Fondre double

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Ryan McGowan's late header and Adam Le Fondre's brace earned champions Sydney FC a 3-2 victory over 10-man Adelaide United in an entertaining A-League season opener.

Goals from Nikola Mileusnic and Al Hassan Toure in the space of seven minutes either side of half-time appeared to have salvaged a point for the Reds at Coopers Stadium on Friday.

But centre-back McGowan marked his Australian top-flight debut with an 87th-minute winner when he nodded in Brandon O'Neill's corner.

The late defeat capped a difficult first A-League match in charge for new Adelaide boss Gertjan Verbeek, who lost Ryan Strain to a straight red card for a tug on Le Fondre's shirt just prior to the hour.

Sydney striker Le Fondre earlier picked up where he left off last season by notching twice in six first-half minutes, converting the first from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute after a VAR review showed his volley struck Michael Jakobsen in the arm.

Mileusnic reduced the deficit with a classy free-kick and teenager Toure coolly poked Adelaide level shortly after the interval, but it was McGowan who had the final say following a series of chances for the Sky Blues.