A mega weekend of action ended with Perth Glory still on top of the Hyundai A-League with Phoenix now in second while Roar continue their surge. Here’s your Monday morning wrap.
A much-improved performance wasn't rewarded with points after the Jets lost 0-1 to Sydney FC at Hunter Stadium on Friday night. One of the Jets’ best players Lee Ki-je was responsible for the defensive lapse that gifted the Sky Blues the winner. But for the most part Newcastle matched their high-flying opposition, showing good energy and enthusiasm.
Not a vintage display but another three points - albeit a hard-won 1-0 win in Newcastle – keeps pressure on their rivals. Janko's 13th goal of the season - a calm finish from a cheap turnover - was the difference. The Sky Blues lacked the swagger and dynamism of recent weeks but the Sydney juggernaut rolls on. They next face Brisbane at Allianz this weekend and are now third on the ladder.
After a disappointing post-Asian Cup few weeks the men in yellow and black have now knocked off two sides in the top four in as many weeks. They moved to the summit of the Hyundai A-League (albeit temporarily) on Saturday with two late goals in a hard-fought 2-0 win over Adelaide United in Wellington. Substitute Joel Griffiths broke the deadlock before Nathan Burns’ well-directed header sealed the points. Phoenix are now in the top two, sitting second behind Glory, who they meet this weekend in another blockbuster.
Saturday’s 2-0 reversal in Wellington was Adelaide’s second defeat in as many weeks. And while coach Josep Gombau won’t be pressing the panic button, his side’s momentum has stalled going into the final stretch of the home and away season. Gombau rued defensive lapses after the loss. The Reds are fifth with the resurgent Roar in sixth, eight points behind them but with two games in hand.
A titanic, controversial and full-blooded 1-1 draw at AAMI with Perth Glory meant the Big V are now in fourth on the Hyundai A-League ladder. Fahid Ben Khalfallah was outstanding while defender Daniel Georgevski bagged a brilliant second half goal to help the home side to a share of the points in this top-two blockbuster.
Glory returned to the top of the table after holding Victory to a 1-1 draw in an ill-tempered but compelling contest at AAMI Park on Saturday night. Hours after being deposed by Wellington Phoenix, Kenny Lowe's men responded by taking the lead away to another of the title-challengers courtesy of Andy Keogh, only for a late equaliser to deny the visitors all three points.
Central Coast Mariners
The Mariners began life after coach Phil Moss with a vital 1-0 win over a disappointing Melbourne City FC in Gosford on Sunday. A superb free-kick routine slammed home by Fabio Ferreira 16 minutes from the end proved the difference and gave interim boss Tony Walmsley the ideal start. He should also thank Liam Reddy for a brilliant save late on to keep them in the lead.
Melbourne City FC
Having lost at Gosford once before this season, City was left to rue some wasteful finishing in the first half to lose 1-0 on Sunday. It extends their winless run against the yellow and blue to three seasons. And Sunday’s effort in NSW will have City’s bosses scratching their heads again at the manner in which they were beaten by a side that lost its coach two days earlier and are struggling in the bottom three of the league.
Brisbane Roar FC
Roar earned a 1-0 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers FC thanks to a superb second half strike from Brandon Borrello at Suncorp on Sunday. The Roar continued their recent run which has seen them earn 13 points in five Hyundai A-League games without overly impressing on the pitch thanks Borrello and the woodwork, which prevented Tomi Juric getting an injury time equaliser for the wilting Wanderers.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC
The Asian Champions lost again in the Hyundai A-League, this time 1-0 in Brisbane on Sunday. To add to the misery, Mark Bridge could be out with an abdominal or groin complaint. He was replaced at half-time. After the game coach Tony Popovic conceded the team was exhausted after competing in the ACL over recent months. Tomi Juric came close late in the game for the visitors but another loss sees them remain rock bottom of the A-League.