Hyundai A-League Team of the Week - Round 13
Attacks were on full display in the Hyundai A-League this week as Melbourne Victory wrapped up the round with a dominant win, so how many of their stars made the Round 13 Team of the Week?
Victory thumped the Newcastle Jets 4-0 after the form teams in the competition, Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix, both clinched 2-1 wins against Adelaide and Central Coast respectively on Saturday.
Earlier in the week, Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City sealed much-needed victories over out-of-sorts sides Western Sydney Wanderers and Western United.
The best of Round 13 comes in a 4-3-3 formation. Read on for the a-league.com.au select XI.
Paul Izzo (Adelaide United)
Adelaide pushed Sydney FC all the way in the Harbour City but the runaway Hyundai A-League leaders would have been out of sight were it not for the Reds shot-stopper.
Izzo kept the Reds in touching distance in the first-half, stopping Kosta Barbarouses twice in one-on-one situations and parrying away Luke Brattan’s effort from distance.
When Paulo Retre finally beat Izzo, it was on a rebound after the gloveman had pushed away Harry Van der Saag’s header. The 24-year-old clocked up seven saves in total as the visitors almost snatched a share of the points in the 2-1 loss.
Anthony Lesiotis (Melbourne Victory)
Teenage full-back Anthony Lesiotis has established himself as a Melbourne Victory regular in recent weeks and he delivered another mature performance in his fifth Hyundai A-League start of the season.
Lesiotis dealt well with the threat of Dimitri Petratos and Angus Thurgate on the Newcastle left and showed smart positional discipline in defence to make four clearances and three interceptions.
In attack, the 19-year-old ran tirelessly, dropping in four crosses, including the delivery which brought the fourth goal off Matt Millar’s shins after making a lung-busting run the length of the AAMI Park pitch deep into the 86th minute.
Ryan McGowan (Sydney FC)
The Sydney FC stopper delivered a flawless performance as the Hyundai A-League Champions did enough to hold on and beat Adelaide Untied, 2-1.
The 30-year-old’s stat’s sheet read like the perfect game as he won 100% of all of the challenges he entered, three out of three tackles and seven out of seven duels, while adding a match-high six clearances.
McGowan barely allowed a Reds chance as the Sky Blues closed the game down in the second-half to clinch a competition record 10th straight home win.
Leigh Broxham (Melbourne Victory)
The wiley club stalwart once again came to Victory's call, switching positions to replace injured import Tim Hoogland at centre back and steading the ship against the Jets.
No only did his assured performance get the best from Marco Kurz's rearguard but Broxham was a playmaker from the back, launching attack after attack with searching balls and pin-point passes while creating two chances.
Broxham almost started the day with a goal when his back header drifted over, he made the opening goal for Kruse, and he then controlled the Jets attack, making seven clearances and three interceptions, while winning seven of his 13 duels.
Liberato Cacace (Wellington Phoenix)
The teenage full back continues to show why he is one of New Zealand football’s most promising young talents with another consummate showing in a front-to-back performance.
Defensively, he led the returns for the Phoenix by winning two tackles and a staggering 15 duels, twice as many of any other Nix player, across his 90 minute showing to prove crucial in holding off a late Mariners fightback.
But there was also plenty to like on the ball with his match-best 101 touches including a trio of created chances, one of which should have ben an assist for Ulises Davila. He also found time to fire two shots at goal.
Craig Noone (Melbourne City)
This was arguably Noone’s best performance in the Hyundai A-League.
United struggle to deal with the Englishman speed, dribbling and movement – especially in the first-half – of City’s 3-2 win at AAMI Park.
He capped a superb display with a classy chipped assist for Adrian Luna’s goal as City – and Noone – started 2020 with a bang.
Paulo Retre (Sydney FC)
With Milos Ninkovic watching from the stands, Sydney FC needed a new hero but few predicted it to be Paulo Retre.
The versatile midfielder struck two first-half goals in the space of six minutes. Both were the kind of crisp, composed finishes you would associate more with a prolific striker than a utility man with only one goal in 50 club appearances.
Retre’s bustling performance in the engine room throughout the rest of the game – winning six of eight duels – capped a memorable week for the 26-year-old, who signed a two-year contract extension only two days prior to the match.
REACTION: Corica praises redeemed Retre
Jay O'Shea (Brisbane Roar)
Shifted from his customary wide role to central midfield as Robbie Fowler turned to a back three against the Wanderers but if anything the positional switch demonstrated how important the canny O'Shea is to Brisbane's hopes this season.
No other Roar player made more touches (87), passes (61) or crosses (eight) than the Irishman, who also produced five chances on the night, and got through a mountain of defensive work to help lift Roar to a rare win outside of Queensland.
Mirza Muratovic (Brisbane Roar)
Robbie Fowler handed 19-year-old Muratovic another start after his debut in Newcastle last weekend and was handsomely rewarded with a promising performance in Roar's 2-1 win over the Wanderers.
The teenager's movement and combination play was excellent – as showed by his lovely one touch pass for Brad Inman's winner – and his work-rate and desire off the ball will have done Muratovic's chances of a permanent position in the first team the world of good.
Robbie Kruse (Melbourne Victory)
Kruse completely dominated against the Newcastle Jets, from his opening goal after nine minutes to the closing stages when Victory surged forward to score a fourth.
His vicious strike on 61 minutes was spilled by Glen Moss for Migjen Basha's strike, his run and cutback set up Andrew Nabbout's goal, and he played in Anthony Lesiotis on the overlap to cross for the fourth.
In between the goals, Kruse was a constant danger – putting in five crosses, creating five chances and taking four shots on goal while stretching the Jets with his rapid pace.
David Ball (Wellington Phoenix)
In short, Ball was simply outstanding for the Phoenix as they bossed the first half of their clash with the Mariners.
His third goal of the campaign was inspired – schooling two defenders before threading a shot through the traffic into the bottom corner – while the 30-year-old also delivered a crucial linking ball in the build-up to the Phoenix’s opener.
Throw in a flurry of further scoring chances and his tireless coverage of the pitch, and it's clear to see why the contest changed entirely when he was forced from the field with injury in the 52nd minute.
REACTION: Talay uncertain on Ball injury prognosis