How your team fared and who made the headlines from the weekend’s round of Hyundai A-League football.
The Reds suffered their first defeat in front of their home fans with a surprise 1-0 loss to champions Brisbane Roar FC on Friday night. Coach Josep Gombau perhaps had one eye on Tuesday night’s Westfield FFA Cup final leaving Marcelo Carrusca and Nigel Boogaard out of his squad due to niggling injuries. The decision back-fired as Roar dominated early, got their noses in front and then defended their way to victory in the second half. Adelaide had superb chances to equalize through Sergio Cirio, Fabio Ferreira and Pablo Sanchez but were wasteful and will need to put the disappointment behind them with a chance of silverware against Perth Glory in the Westfield FFA Cup Final.
Brisbane Roar FC
Brisbane continued their improvement under new boss Frans Thijssen with a confidence-boosting 1-0 road win against the Reds. It’s now seven points out of a possible 12 for the defending champions who move back into the top six. In-form Brazilian Henrique scored another stunner to pinch the points but was forced off soon after with a knee injury after being on the end of a heavy challenge. Thijssen will be hoping it’s not serious as the “Slippery Fish” has been the Roar’s main-man this season, especially with playmaker Thomas Broich still out injured. Departing skipper Matt Smith was given a late cameo off the bench as well before he heads off to join Thai club Bangkok Glass.
Kenny Lowe’s side maintained their spot on top of the Hyundai A-League ladder with a workmanlike 2-0 victory over Newcastle Jets at nib Stadium on Friday night. Richard Garcia’s first goal for the club in the first half and another howitzer from Serbian midfielder Nebojsa Marinkovic late-on ensured the club’s eighth win from 10 games this campaign. It’s the perfect tonic for Glory ahead of the Westfield FFA Cup decider on Tuesday night in Adelaide but a potential hamstring injury to Socceroo midfielder Mitch Nichols would be a concern.
New week but same story for the Jets: despite some encouraging passages of play, Phil Stubbins’ side fell short again this time losing 2-0 to league-leaders Perth. It means Newcastle have now gone 10 games this season without a victory. Things could have been different if David Carney had finished off a glorious chance to equalize early in the second half. Skipper Kew Jaliens compounded the problems by getting himself sent off for a nasty challenge on Scott Jamieson. It doesn’t get any easier for them with a meeting against Adelaide on Friday night.
Phoenix missed the chance to move up to fourth spot after being held to a 1-1 draw by struggling Central Coast in Auckland on Saturday. Despite creating a plethora of opportunities, Ernie Merrick’s side couldn’t capitalize, forced to come from behind to take a point. The Phoenix had 21 shots at goal – more than double the visitors – but only got a third of those on target. Roy Krishna continued his sublime run of form with a sensational piece of control and a clinical finish to match. A huge away clash with Sydney FC is next up for Wellington on Sunday.
Central Coast Mariners
Despite picking up a credible point on the road it’s now nine games without a win for the Mariners. But the way the side was able to resist loads of pressure from the home side and escape with a 1-1 draw will give coach Phil Moss some cause for optimism. Matt Simon is showing great signs in his second straight start after his return from injury and scored the Mariners’ opening goal with a neat finish. Injuries to midfielder Nick Montgomery and defender Zac Anderson will stretch the side’s depth if they are unable to get up for next weekend’s trip to face league-leaders Perth Glory.
For the second time this season Victory and Sydney FC couldn’t be separated after a thrilling 3-3 draw at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night. Kevin Muscat will be disappointed his side couldn’t get the job done, especially as they led twice in a see-sawing contest. In the end it was a hat-trick to veteran attacker Archie Thompson – who now has 14 goals against the Sky Blues – that ensured Victory remain the last unbeaten side in the competition. Skipper Mark Milligan could face a nervous wait with the match review panel after an alleged elbow on Terry Antonis – which left the Sydney midfielder with a gash which required 10 stitches – went unnoticed by referee Peter Green.
The Sky Blues bounced back from their first defeat of the campaign last time out with a strong away performance against one of their main rivals. Shane Smeltz was the star for Sydney, scoring twice and setting up Marc Janko’s effort with a clever flick in the 3-3 draw. While they have lost just once in 10 matches that was Sydney’s fifth draw meaning they are losing pace with leaders Perth. The Sky Blues just can’t take a trick with injuries at the moment also, with midfielder Nick Carle looking like joining Ali Abbas and Corey Gameiro on the sideline for the rest of the season with what looks like a serious knee injury.