How your team fared and who made the headlines from the weekend’s round of Hyundai A-League football.
Fell to their first defeat of the season in going down 2-1 to Perth Glory at Allianz Stadium on Thursday night. While coach Graham Arnold won’t be too disappointed with the performance, the fact his side conceded twice inside the last seven minutes won’t be sitting well with him. The Sky Blues were without five regular starters – including marquee man Marc Janko and defender Sasa Ognenovski - so the result will leave questions marks over their depth. But the performance of teenage left-back Alex Gersbach again caught the eye while Shame Smeltz grabbed his first Sky Blues goal which is a positive ahead of this week’s trip to Melbourne Victory.
Glory maintained their spot on top of the ladder, with coach Kenny Lowe praising their resolve, character and quality in securing an impressive 2-1 away win over the Sky Blues. The fact they did it from a goal down – a controversial handball decision which gave Sydney FC a penalty – only adds further credence to the win secured by goals to Rostyn Griffiths and Andy Keogh. If there were still any doubters Glory were genuine title contenders then this performance and result should end any doubt.
Central Coast Mariners
The Mariners’ decision to take one home game to North Sydney Oval didn’t pay off, thumped 3-0 by Melbourne Victory on Friday night. They stayed with the in-form visitors for the first hour but couldn’t maintain it, Victory’s superior class shining through in a devastating 11-minute period. The return of Matt Simon from injury was a huge positive for coach Phil Moss and they will need him to stay fit if they are to turn their results around. A tough trip across the ditch to play Wellington Phoenix is their next assignment.
Kevin Muscat’s side stayed on the heels of league-leaders Perth thanks to second half goals from Besart Berisha, substitute Connor Pain and Daniel Georgievski’s stunner. After all the talk pre-game about the fears over the North Sydney surface, Victory’s stable of stars put that to one side to pick up their first away win of the campaign in this 3-0 win. The fact they cantered to the win without three regular starters in Gui Finkler, Matthieu Delpierre and Scott Galloway only enhances their reputation as title favourites. Strap yourself in for a huge clash with a wounded Sydney FC next weekend.
The Jets’ wait for a win goes on after they were overhauled in the second half to lose 3-1 at Hunter Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Joel Griffiths’ first-half goal had them in a strong position but as his been the case for Phil Stubbins’ side all season, they were unable to go on with the job. IAn early injury to new recruit Billy Celeski – just a few games back from injury – compounded the day for Newcastle. It doesn’t get any easier with a trip to Perth to face the league-leading Glory on Friday night.
Phoenix further ensconced themselves in the top six with an impressive come-from-behind 3-1 victory. Ernie Merrick’s side did all the damage in a frantic five-minute period in the second half thanks to goals from Nathan Burns, Michael McGlinchey and a cracker from Roy Krishna. Away form has been an issue for Wellington in the last few seasons but they seem to be getting the formula right and are devastating on the counter-attack. Burns has been named on Ange Postecoglou’s 46-man Asian Cup squad announced on Monday, while Roly Bonevacia enhanced his reputation with three assists.
The Reds made a swift return to the winners’ circle with a comfortable 2-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers FC at Coopers Stadium on Saturday night. Goals to the superb Marcelo Carrusca and winger Fabio Ferreira completed an excellent night for the home side. Only some wasteful finishing and a few excellent saves from Ante Covic prevented an even bigger margin. Coach Josep Gombau has Adelaide playing with such a swagger, particularly in front of their home fans, it’s hard not to see them really challenging for the title. A clash with Brisbane awaits next Friday before the Westfield FFA Cup final and the chance to secure their first piece of silverware in almost a decade.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC
It’s been a tough week for the Wanderers, losing their midweek catch-up game with Brisbane 1-0 before slumping to the Reds. Incredibly after nine rounds the Kings of Asia have just three points to their name in the Hyundai A-League and have yet to register a win. It was always going to be hard for Tony Popovic’s side once skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley was sent off early on. He will serve his ban once they return from the Club World Cup in Morocco, where they will play Mexico’s Cruz Azul with a game against Real Madrid awaiting the winner. Popovic will hope the time away can manufacture a change of fortune when they return for domestic duties, with a game against Wellington on December 28.
Melbourne City FC
City made it two wins out of two against Brisbane this season with a gritty 1-0 win at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon. Aaron Mooy’s clinical penalty separated the two sides in what was a cagey match where both sides were desperate for the three points. The result not only catapults City into the top six but will ease some of the pressure that was building on embattled coach John van’t Schip. City will have to wait to build on their momentum though with no game next weekend due to the Wanderers’ participation in the Club World Cup. They are back in action for the small matter of a Melbourne derby in a fortnight.
Brisbane Roar FC
Roar failed to build on their morale-boosting midweek win over the Wanderers in their somewhat meek performance against City. Playing their third match in a week tiredness may have been a factor for the defending champions. Either way interim boss Frans Thijssen still has some work to do to get Brisbane back to their best and consistently creating chances, which they haven’t done a lot of in the last couple of matches. Talk surrounding skipper Matt Smith and a possible transfer to a Thai club will need to be addressed this week but the first appearance of the season of on-loan Socceroo midfielder Adam Sarota was a huge plus for the club despite the 1-0 reversal at AAMI.
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