Plenty of talking points in Round 17 of the Hyundai A-League. How did your club do? Here's your Monday morning wrap of the weekend action across the competition.
Central Coast Mariners
A tame "Freaky Friday" for the Yellow Army, losing at home to Brisbane Roar FC 2-0 on Friday night. After last week’s victory over the Reds hopes were high in Gosford but Phil Moss’s men rarely threatened all night. The club now sit eighth on the ladder six points off the six with ten rounds left.
Brisbane Roar FC
The Roar revival is in full swing after their 2-0 win on the Central Coast. It may not be as slick as in previous years but this Roar side under Frans Thijssen is gaining in confidence and proving harder to beat after goals from in-form Solorzano (who later limped off) and Andrija Kaluderovic with a confidently taken penalty shortly after coming on as a substitute.
In the wind and on an unfamiliar surface at Lower Hutt, Phoenix pushed and pushed but couldn’t blow the City house down. Plenty of good work going forward but the physical nature of the visitors’ defence disrupted Ernie Merrick’s side, who had to settle for their first point from nine in this 0-0 draw. After the weekend, the NZ outfit are still in the hunt for the six in fourth spot but they need to regain their winning mojo.
Melbourne City FC
Coach John van’t Schip praised his side’s character and commitment after holding Phoenix to a dour 0-0 draw in blustery conditions in Wellington. The injury to star winger Damien Duff, however, a worry for the Citizens who have a mounting injury toll going into the final ten rounds of the league as they drop out of the six into seventh spot following this weekend's round.
A point against the current Asian champions could be seen as a positive at the strife-torn club - especially after they battled back from a late goal to equalise in time added on. The 1-1 draw hailed by under-fire coach Phil Stubbins who singled out his goal-scorer – Korean Lee Ki-Ji – for special praise after the game. The Jets remain second bottom.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC
Tantalisingly close to a second win on the spin, the red and black had to be content with a point after conceding in time added on in this 1-1 draw at Hunter Stadium. Brendon Santalab with the audacious penalty goal - and cute celebration - looked to have sealed the three points. Coach Tony Popovic later rued a lack of ruthlessness in not seeing off the Jets. They remain on the bottom of the ladder.
In an epic battle with their long-time rivals Victory, Sydney twice came back to end with a point in this memorable 3-3 draw. Goals to Janko and a classy double to Smeltz did the damage in one of the best games of the season. It maintains the Sky Blues’ resurgence; that’s seven points from the last nine and and 11 goals scored in the previous three games. The club is in fifth spot on the ladder.
Kevin Muscat fumed after his side’s 3-3 draw in Sydney with the Sky Blues. A penalty decision may’ve cost his side all three points though the attacking flair and fluency of his side was there for all to see in a thriller at Allianz. The Big V’s scorers were Barbarouses, Finkler and defender Nick Ansell. Victory are now second in the league, a point behind the Glory boys.
How this was not three points to the Reds? Glory keeper Danny Vukovic kept the league-leaders in the game when the home side was ripping them apart with their trademark superb lead up play. The Reds were irresistible – particularly in the first half with Pablo Sanchez the scorer – but they couldn’t kill off the Glory conceding in the second half to draw 1-1. Adelaide now in third, three points behind second placed Victory.
Kenny Lowe’s men withstood the storm that was the Reds in the first half to come back thanks to a super equaliser from Nebo Marinkovic. Keeper Danny Vukovic with a stunning series of saves kept the Glory in the game in one of the greatest individual performances by a shot-stopper this season. Perth remain on top of the league by a point with Victory breathing down their necks.