Hyundai A-League Team of the Week - Round 14

Sydney FC, Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory all continued their strong Hyundai A-League form in Round 14 and their stars were battling for berths in the Team of the Week.

The Sky Blues put on a solid defensive display in a 2-1 win on the road against coach-less Newcastle Jets, while the Premiers, Glory, and Phoenix levelled club records with 3-0 and 2-0 wins over Adelaide and Western Sydney Wanderers respectively.

Brisbane Roar and Melbourne City both had their moments of quality in a 2-2 thriller in Queensland, and the Central Coast Mariners played out an epic 3-2 win against Melbourne Victory in the most dramatic finish imaginable.

This week's Team of the Week line up in a 4-3-3. Read on to find out who made it.

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Goalkeeper

Jamie Young (Brisbane Roar)

The Brisbane Roar gloveman made arguably the save of the weekend with a  double block to deny Jamie Maclaren and Lachlan Wales from Craig Noone’s inviting cross.

The quick-recovery stop came at a crucial time for Brisbane, after almost falling behind moments later Brad Inman put the Roar 2-1 up. 

Young made five saves in total with Glory under the pump throughout the match - including a full-length dive to parry away Lachlan Wales header and a big stop to thwart Adrian Luna as City began to take control.

The 34-year-old could do little about Noone’s close range strike or Nathanial Atkinson’s rocket in the 2-2 draw.

REPORT: In-form Inman strikes twice but City fight back to draw with Roar

Jamie Young

 

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Defenders

Harry van der Saag (Sydney FC)

The 20-year-old grew in confidence in his second Hyundai A-League start and delivered an assured display as the Sky Blues played the second half against the Jets with their backs against the wall.

Rhyan Grant may be returning for the Champions but Steve Corica could have asked for no more from the young right-back, who shut down the threat from Dimitri Petratos and Jason Hoffman.

Van der Saag was a natural in possession, getting the second most touches on his team (78) and completing 86% of his 49 passes, while winning five of six tackles, nine of 13 duels and adding three interceptions and a clearance.

REPORT: Sky Blues left clinging on to beat Jets and go 12 points clear

Harry Van der Saag


Alex Grant (Perth Glory)

It was a fourth clean sheet in five games for Tony Popovic’s solid-steel backline and Grant was the pick of the three Glory centre-halves in the shut out against the Reds.

The 25-year-old stood defiant when Adelaide were attacking, winning six of his seven duels and racking up a bumper seven clearances, along with an interception and a tackle.

Grant was a threat going forward on set pieces and headed just wide from Gregory Wüthrich’s flick, before he launched the long ball forward which substitute Chris Ikonomidis chased down to score Perth’s third. 

REPORT: Glory stars shine in record-levelling win over Reds

Alex Grant


Macauley Gillesphey (Brisbane Roar)

On three occasions, the left-sided centre back made crucial, last-ditch saving tackles to deny Jamie Maclaren a clear sight of goal. Were it not for Gillesphey, the Melbourne City hitman could have had a hatful.

It’s those kind of challenges that often go unnoticed as Gillesphey barely put a foot wrong while City dominated possession and territory at Suncorp Stadium.

The Englishman’s stat sheet outlined his solid display, winning two of two tackles, four of six duels and adding three clearances and two interceptions, without conceded a foul.

Macauley Gillesphie


Liberate Cacace (Wellington Phoenix)

The flying teenager seems to come to live late in matches and he punished Wanderers with an electric solo goal to make it 2-0 against Wanderers.

The 19-year-old left-back netted only his second Hyundai A-League goal in the closing stages of a game where the majority of his best work came in defence as Ufuk Talay’s side kept their second clean sheet of the season.

Western Sydney had Phoenix pinned back in the second half as Cacace won six duels and two tackles, before he showed his fantastic fitness and stamina with opposition legs tiring among the Red and Black ranks. 

REPORT: Clinical Wellington equal club record unbeaten run

WATCH: Cacace delivers a lung-busting run in the dying seconds to finish off Western Sydney.
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Midfielders

Cameron Devlin (Wellington Phoenix)

The 21-year-old terrier producer another relentless performance to remember, on and off the ball, in Wellington's 2-0 win against Western Sydney Wanderers.

The centre of the field is Devlin's yard and he patrolled the Sky Stadium pitch in dominant fashion on Saturday, with a game-high total of 124 touches, 36 more than second highest (Ulises Davila), and completed 84% of his 93 passes. Luke DeVere was the 'Nix second highest passer on 69. 

Devlin was equally as tenacious without the ball, winning a game-high 13 duels and landing a game-high four interceptions, as he made his presence in the Wellington engine room.

Cameron Devlin


Anthony Caceres (Sydney FC)

After switching from a wide position to a deeper central role in place of the suspended Luke Brattan, Caceres staked his claim to be a massive part of Steve Corica’s future plans.

The 27-year-old put his stamp on the game at McDonald Jones Stadium with a team-high 91 touches, and he delivered a metronome-like display as Sydney held to to win 2-1, completing a team-high 96% of his 72 passes.

Off the ball, Caceres made an even bigger impact – winning a match high 12 duels from the 14 he contested – and landing four tackles as Sydney closed out their ninth win in 10 Hyundai A-League matches.

REACTION: Sydney will be at full-strength by February, says Corica

Anthony Caceres


Milos Ninkovic (Sydney FC)

The Serbian schemer schooled the Newcastle Jets defence in the Sky Blues’ 2-1 win, firstly by setting Kosta Barbarouses away to lay on Adam Le Fondre’s opener at McDonald Jones Stadium. 

The 34-year-old punished the hosts again after Ben Kantarovski switched off and Ninkovic strolled into acres of space and set up Kiwi marksman Barbarouses for the second.

It was all about defence in the second-half for the Champions and Ninkovic played a big part, completing 93% of his 42 passes and making two clearances to make sure Sydney got over the line.

WATCH: Ninkovic strolls through the Newcastle defence to lay on a goal for Kosta Barbarouses.
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Forwards

Diego Castro (Perth Glory)

There's little that can be said about Castro that hasn't been said before, but Glory talisman produced another masterful display in the 3-0 win against Adelaide.

The ageless wonder recorded two assists from driving forward runs, but it's the little touches and quick flicks, often thinking two or three moves ahead of his opposition marker, that makes him stand head and shoulders above the rest.

The sublime Spaniard tied Ryan Kitto in knots during one moment in the 65th minute, leaving the Reds defender unaware of which state he was in as Castro streaked away with the ball. For the record, he led the team in touches (82), created a match-high five chances and won a match-high 10 duels in a complete display that was only lacking a goal.

REACTION: 'Ultimate optimist' Popovic believes Glory can get even better

WATCH: Castro's driving run set up Bruno Fornaroli as the Spanish maestro logged his second assist of the game.

Ulises Davila (Wellignton Phoenix)

The Mexican showed his class by producing another moment of magic to net the decisive goal as Wellington matched their club record unbeaten run of nine games with a 1-0 win against Western Sydney.

Davila’s ninth goal of the season was the highlight of a close-fought game but whenever Wellington looked dangerous, their talisman was at heart of it. In fact, Wanderers could only find one way to stop him –  he won a game-high six free-kicks.

His 88 touches was Phoenix’s second highest, he combined well with Garry Hooper to fire in three shots on goal, and he also put a shift in off the ball: winning a game-high 13 duels.

WATCH: Davila shows his quality by striking Wellington ahead from the edge of the area

Brad Inman (Brisbane Roar)

Ever since coach Robbie Fowler claimed Inman can be among the Hyundai A-League’s best on his day, the Aussie attacker has risen to the challenge and he put City to the sword on two occasions on Saturday.

Both were crisp, clinical finishes, with the second goal on the brink of half-time the highlight. His silky footwork to beat Josh Brillante and send a low shot into the corner was a touch of class.

The brace, from four attempts at Suncorp Stadium, was in-form Inman’s fourth goal in three matches. He also put in two crosses and won six duels.

REACTION: Sideline spell motivating Inman, says Fowler

WATCH: Inman shows fast feet to leave Josh Brillante standing before doubling his tally against Melbourne City.
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