Hyundai A-League Round 1 Snapshot
There were upsets, controversy, thrilling comebacks and heartbreaking losses in Round 1 of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season
There were upsets, controversy, thrilling comebacks and heartbreaking losses in Round 1 of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season; just what the doctor ordered. If this is what Round 1 is going throw up for us this season, then we have a season to look forward to.
Results - Round 1 Melbourne Victory 0 lost CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 2 ADELAIDE UNITED 1 beat Perth Glory 0 North Queensland Fury 2 lost SYDNEY FC 3 Brisbane Roar 1 lost GOLD COAST UNITED 3 NEWCASTLE JETS 3 beat Wellington Phoenix 2
Who would have guessed it; last season-s Champions being beaten by a massive underdog, whose in 2009 had failed to win a competition match. Central Coast Mariners secured their first win at Etihad Stadium in a tough match, which Melbourne Victory never really got into. Two goals inside the first 15 minutes from Matt Simon and former Celtic midfielder Michael McClinchey (via a massive deflection off Rod Vargas) had the Mariners in control and the Victory crowd stunned into silence. As expected Victory then dominated possession for the remainder of the game, but never really looked like pegging back the two-goal deficit. Victory-s night was made even worse with captain Kevin Muscat forced off with a heel injury that is likely to sideline him for a few weeks.
A new look Perth Glory, with all three new Qantas Socceroos signings in toe, headed to Adelaide to try and break a three-game losing streak against the Red-s. But it was a fired up Adelaide that continued their domination of Glory, with a 1-0 win thanks to a Travis Dodd penalty in the 31st minute. Glory-s Chris Coyne was ruled to have tugged at the shirt of Robert Cornthwaite as they went for a corner and on linesman-s advice the penalty was awarded and Dodd made no mistake. Adelaide-s tenacity without the ball never really allowed Perth and rhythm and the win was made a little bit closer than it should have been, such was Adelaide domination of the match. Both teams suffered injuries in the match with Adelaide losing Lucas Pantelis and Paul Reid, while Perth will lose Jamie Coyne to a knee injury for at least six weeks.
New boys North Queensland Fury gave a good account of themselves up in Townsville, despite going down to Sydney FC 3-2. Sydney got off to a flyer, when John Aloisi scored on a quick counter-attack after just 4 minutes and then Kofi Danning scored a great individual goal in the 28th minute. Royston Griffiths has the honour of being the first goalscorer for Fury when he headed home just before half time and then on the hour mark, the goal all Fury fans wanted to see came, when marquee player Robbie Fowler leveled the game with a cool finish from the penalty spot. But Sydney eventually came out on top, with Aloisi scoring a penalty of his own in the 73rd minute after Alex Brosque was brought down by Paul Henderson in the box. For Aloisi scoring the double is just the start he wanted, after scoring just as many for the whole of last season.
Gold Coast United showed they are the real deal with a terrific 3-1 win over Brisbane Roar in a passionate first up Queensland derby game at Suncorp Stadium. While Brisbane had the majority of the play, Gold Coast showed just how clinical they can be in front of goal, scoring three times of their few chances. Last season-s Player of the Year and leading goalscorer Shane Smeltz opened the scoring with his first chance of the night, expertly tucking away a cross from Joel Porter. United-s marquee player Qantas Socceroo Jason Culina then made it 2-0 with a cool finish early in the second half to have his team in the box seat. Brisbane had a lifeline on 90 minutes when they received a penalty which Sergio van Dijk converted, but two minutes later, Robson strolled through the parting Roar defence to strike home truly and give Gold Coast a dream debut.
The final match was another five-goal thriller with last season-s wooden-spooners Newcastle Jets coming out on top 3-2 thanks to a late winner from Qantas Young Socceroo Jason Naidovski. Naidovski-s international team mate Jason Hoffman also had a dream match, scoring twice in the opening 20 minutes, for his first goals in the Hyundai A-League. Hoffman was hand to lob a shot over Mark Paston in the 12th minute and then picked up a real goal poacher-s goal eight minutes later; slamming home after Paston couldn-t hold a Jin-Hyung Song shot. Wellington though showed their fighting qualities, with Ben Sigmund heading home in the 26th minute and two minutes before half time Chris Greenacre saw his shot squirm under the dive of Ben Kennedy to make it even at the break. In a tense second half, Naidovski-s winner came from a cross by Sean Rooney in the 84th minute, heading home past the outstretched dive of Paston.
Weekend Goals Tally: 17
Attendances (total / average): 68,156
Goal of the Week Kofi Danning is one of the hottest young talents in the Hyundai A-League this season and he gave us a glimpse of just why with his brilliant goal for Sydney against North Queensland. Receiving a long ball out wide on the right with his back to goal and surrounded by two defenders; he turned them inside out and raced towards goal and unleashed a thunderous low drive from the corner of the box past a stunned Paul Henderson and inside the far post.
Player of the Week One thing that would have pleased Qantas Young Socceroos coach Jan Versleijen in the opening round was the performance of some of his players that will most likely play at the FIFA World Youth Cup in several months time. One player in the frame is Newcastle Jets striker Jason Hoffman and his two goals on the opening weekend of the season will have put a big smile on the Dutchman-s face. It was Hoffman-s first goals in the Hyundai A-League after 20 previous appearances without a goal and there is no doubt a few more will be expected of the lanky striker for both club and country.
One to Watch The Mariners caused the biggest boilover of the opening round with their 2-0 win over Melbourne Victory on Thursday night. Former Celtic midfielder Michael McClinchey was a late signing and was thrust straight into the limelight and came through with flying colours. He was industrious and it was his shot, which did take a big deflection that resulted in the second goal for the Mariners after just 15 minutes. The more games and time he gets with his new team mates should ensure he becomes a key figure for the Mariners this season.
Leading Goalscorers 2 - John Aloisi (SFC), Jason Hoffman (NJ) 1 - Sergio Van Dijk (QR), Matt Simon (CCM), Michael McClinchey (CCM), Travis Dodd (AU), Robbie Fowler (NQF), Royston Griffiths (NFC), Kofi Danning (SFC), Jason Culina (GCU), Shane Smeltz (GCU), Robson (GCU), Jason Naidovski (NJ), Ben Sigmund (WP), Chris Greenacre (WP)