A weekend where the Hyundai A-League paid tribute to cricketer Phil Hughes also witnessed excellent attacking football and some goal of the season contenders in Round 8 action.
The Reds’ unbeaten run came to an end, but not before they pushed undefeated Victory all the way in an AAMI Park thriller losing 3-2. A crazy five-goal first half knocked the Reds around with a couple of own goals but they pushed hard in the second stanza. If Craig Goodwin had his free-kick shooting boots on, they might have rescued a point. Despite the loss plenty of good signs for Gombau’s exciting outfit. Awer Mabil and Marcello Carrusca (pen) with their goals.
The Big V remain unbeaten and within striking distance of league-leaders Perth Glory after a rollicking 3-2 win over rivals Adelaide United helped celebrate the club’s tenth anniversary in style. In second spot, Victory continue to look like Championship material in this wonderfully entertaining Friday night clash. Two own goals to the Reds plus a header from Leigh Broxham did the trick for the home side at AAMI Park in front of over 22,000.
Brisbane Roar FC
Roar’s tumultuous week looked destined for more pain till “The Slippery Fish” jinked past the Glory defensive net to break purple hearts and equalise in the final minutes. It finished 1-1 to give new coach Frans Thijssen his first point in the Hyundai A-League. Hard to say if the new man in charge has made a huge difference after the Mike Mulvey era ended a week earlier. Only time will tell if the change was the right decision but a solid start has been made by the Dutchman.
A thumping strike in the first 45 from Dino Djulbic looked to have given Kenny Lowe’s men all three points but they failed to hang on against their struggling rivals Roar and it finished 1-1. A good point on the road? Perhaps, but there is a feeling the league leaders should’ve left Brisbane with all three as they prepare for a very tough clash with Sydney FC on Thursday night at Allianz. An injury to Hersi was a blow with the winger set to miss a month of football.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC
Are the red and black back? After a pulsating 1-1 draw in the Sydney Derby that might just be true. Their first half was full of attacking intent and energy – something they haven’t had in recent weeks – but Tony Popovic’s men just weren’t able to finish off the excellent Sky Blues in the first half when they were most dominant. In front of a feisty Wanderland crowd, a first half poacher’s goal to striker Tomi Juric wouldn’t have done his Socceroo Asian Cup chances any harm.
After losing Ali Abbas to what turned out to be a nasty knee injury, the Sky Blues refocused after being outplayed in the first half. They showed guts, and some genuine quality with an eye-popping strike by Bernie Ibini to come away from Wanderland with a point. The 1-1 draw may’ve slightly flattered Graham Arnold’s men but at least they were able to stem the tide in the second half after a tactical reshuffle. Sydney remain unbeaten this season.
They’ll remember this game for a long time. A 5-1 thumping of a woeful Melbourne City featuring a first-ever hat-trick to a Phoenix player with Socceroo Asian Cup hopeful Nathan Burns getting the match ball. On a glorious sunny day in Wellington, the home side simply steamrolled the visitors after they scored the first goal, albeit in slightly dubious circumstances, by Burns. Bonevacia and Krishna the other two goalscorers for Ernie Merrick’s entertainers.
Melbourne City FC
Great start to the game. Then City just fell apart. It’s alarming how poor the side was in a defensive sense. Paartalu and Dugandzic were taken off at half-time which didn’t help, either. David Williams with the only goal for City, a well-taken penalty, on a day when the pressure on JVS rose after this hugely disappointing performance.
A 1-1 draw in the F3 Derby wasn’t the jump-start the Jets were looking for but it was a solid performance with striker Edson Montano nabbing the goal. Birthday boy David Carney with another eye-catching performance for the Jets in a derby that rarely hit the heights in front of just over 11,000 fans.
Central Coast Mariners
Once they went down to their rivals, the Mariners showed some good quality though not quite enough to finish off the Jets. Hungarian Richard Vernes showed plenty of good signs and he was the one who got Phil Moss’s men back in it with a tidy finish just minutes after the Jets took the lead.
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