#EraseRacism Round 22 had shock results, late drama, unbelievable goals plus one game abandoned due to rain. And with three teams on 38 points it's going to be a nail-biting run-in to the finals. Grab a coffee and check out our Monday morning wrap of weekend action in the Hyundai A-League.
The club’s fabulous run has ended. Beaten 1-0 by a sucker punch from a committed Melbourne City FC at Allianz Stadium on Friday night. It brought an end to Sydney’s unbeaten run since the Asian Cup on a night when the Sky Blues lacked a sense of urgency for much of this encounter. Perhaps it was the kick up the backside the team needed, as suggested by coach Graham Arnold after the game. The Sky Blues now third on 38 points, equal on points with Victory in second and Glory in fourth, though Sydney have played one more game than Victory. A showdown with the league-leaders Phoenix this Sunday in Wellington will be a doozy.
Melbourne City FC
What a cracking result - and performance - by City, boosting their hopes of finishing sixth after a gritty 1-0 win over Sydney FC at Allianz. As if holding the rampant Sydney goalless wasn’t enough, James Brown scored his first goal for City coolly rounding the keeper and slotting home, set up by the imperious midfield promptings of Socceroo Aaron Mooy who had a superb match. City ended the weekend in sixth spot five points clear of Roar who’ve played two games less than John van't Schip's men.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC
With five teenagers in their side, the red and black had no shortage of enthusiasm but couldn’t find the three points again, losing 2-1 at Pirtek. A sublime free-kick from Nick Kalmar six minutes into the second half got the home side back in it, but they couldn’t find that decisive equaliser. Wanderers are now back on the bottom of the table, three points behind the Jets with the wooden spoon looming for the champions of Asia. They head to Perth this week.
Newcastle Jets won their first away match of the season to jump off the bottom of the Hyundai A-League ladder with a 2-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers FC on Saturday. First-half goals to Enver Alivodic and Lee Ki-Je had the Jets in complete control at the break. They survived a second half comeback to register a valuable win in this bottom of the table six-pointer. The Jets now in ninth with 14 points.
In front of over 16,000 fans at Coopers on Saturday, a 2-2 draw with finals rivals Victory was the end result of cracking contest. Pablo Sanchez equalised just prior to half-time before the Reds went ahead through James Jeggo’s header. Nemesis Archie Thompson with the late equaliser to break Reds hearts. Adelaide are in fifth spot on 37 points seven clear of nearest rival City in sixth.
A 77th-minute goal from Archie helped Melbourne Victory leave South Australia with a 2-2 draw against Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Saturday night. In-form Fahid Ben Khalfallah with Victory’s opener in the ninth minute before the home side hit back twice in a high-quality clash. After this weekend, the Big V in second spot on 38 points four behind leaders Phoenix though they have a game in hand on their NZ rivals. Victory are on equal points with third-placed Sydney and fourth-placed Glory.
Central Coast Mariners
A stunning strike by Nick Montgomery helped Central Coast snatch a 1-1 draw with Perth Glory in Gosford on Sunday. The Englishman had the final say in the second minute of stoppage time, hitting a powerful shot from 25 yards out which flew into the far, top corner. It was no less than the Mariners deserved after an encouraging display that sees them in eighth position on the ladder with 20 points, ten points behind City in six.
The visitors looked on track for their first win in nine games when super-sub Jamie MacLaren headed them in front with just 11 minutes left. But the Glory boys couldn’t hang on and conceded in stoppage time – albeit to an absolute screamer – to leave Gosford with a point and not all three. Glory without a win since January 2, 2015, sit in fourth on 38 points a point ahead of the Reds but on equal points with Sydney in third and Victory in second.
Brisbane Roar FC
Queensland weather intervened to force the cancellation of Roar’s clash with Wellington, which handed the Phoenix their first ever win at Suncorp Stadium. When the match was abandoned in the 73rd minute due to heavy rain making the pitch unplayable, Wellington were leading 2-1 and that result stood under Hyundai A-League regulations. Brisbane had taken an early lead through the impressive Adrija Kaluderovic only for Wellington to score twice to take the lead. Roar now seventh on the ladder, five points behind City in sixth though they have two games in hand on their rivals from Melbourne.
The NZ outfit remain on top of the Hyundai A-League – albeit in slightly bizarre circumstances – after a 2-1 win at Suncorp over Roar. The game was cancelled due to heavy rain with Ernie Merrick’s men in the lead 2-1 after 73 minutes. The result stood due to to league regulations stipulating that a game abandoned at half-time or in the second half remains the final result. Michael McGlinchey and the classy Nathan Burns with the goals for Phoenix after Roar took an early lead. The Kiwi club now on 42 points, four ahead of Victory in second, who have a game in hand on their rivals from across the ditch.