Hyundai A-League Weekend Wrap
Advantage Melbourne Victory and Queensland Roar after week 1 of the Hyundai A-League 2009 Finals series.
Advantage Melbourne Victory and Queensland Roar after week 1 of the Hyundai A-League 2009 Finals series. Both clubs take a 2-0 scoreline back to their respective home grounds next weekend, with both Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United needing to pull a rabbit out of the hat, if they are to turn these semi finals around.
Results - Semi Finals Central Coast Mariners 0 lost QUEENSLAND ROAR 2 Adelaide United 0 lost MELBOURNE VICTORY 2 Game Wraps
Queensland Roar maintained its dominance over Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium, with a relatively comfortable 2-0 win. Having been unbeaten in their 6 previous encounters at Bluetongue Stadium, Queensland went into the game full of confidence on the back of an excellent run of results and they continued that form. The home side did start brightly enough with Dylan Macallister forcing a good save from Liam Reddy with less than a minute played. Reddy was fortunate to be in the way of a Matt Osman cannonball from 25 metres soon after, as the Mariners searched and probed for the opener. But it was Queensland that opened the scoring with Mitch Nichols getting a metre on Pedj Bojic at a corner and he glanced Matt McKay-s inch perfect corner delivery inside the far post. The Mariners controlled possession but rarely threatened for the rest of the half and were made to pay soon after the break when Nichols made his way into the box and as he cut back was tripped by Paul O-Grady and Ben Williams had no hesitation pointing to the spot. Sergio van Dijk made no mistake from the spot and the Mariners hopes in this tie were looking gloomy. Their was more drama to follow however when Roar defender Danny Tiatto, was sent off for his second yellow card and from the ensuing free kick, O-Grady powered a header goalward, which Reddy did superbly to tip onto the crossbar and out of play. Roar held on for a deserved win and will be confident of making it through to their second consecutive Preliminary Final in two weeks time.
Melbourne Victory is a step closer to hosting its second Hyundai A-League Grand Final, after a convincing 2-0 win over Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium. Melbourne has now made it four straight wins over Adelaide this season and must surely fancy their chances in the return leg, given Adelaide-s poor goalscoring record away from home this season. Adelaide were never really in the contest after Carlos Hernandez thundered a shot in off the crossbar after 14 minutes and Danny Allsopp added injury to insult, with a neat finish just two minutes from full time, to make Adelaide-s task just that touch more difficult. Melbourne should have led by more than just the one goal at the break, with an Archie Thompson shot somehow staying out after hitting one post and rolling across the goal line and hitting the other post, before being gathered by a grateful Eugene Galekovic. Adelaide tried desperately to get back into the game in the second half, controlling possession, but for their hard work they hardly threatened Michael Theoklitos in the Victory goal. Allsopp, who was initially accredited the opening after heading the rebound home from Hernandez-s effort, then made Adelaide pay when he held off Sasa Ognenovski and buried his shot past Galekovic.
Weekend Goals Tally: 4
Card Count: 8 yellows - 1 red
Attendances (total): 23,633
Goal of the Week He hasn-t scored as many as he would like this season, but Costa Rican Carlos Hernandez timed his third goal of the season to perfection, with a blistering run and strike from the edge of the box that he thundered home off the crossbar. That goal put Melbourne in front early and they looked in control from that point on.
Player of the Week He was faced with the unenviable task of replacing in form Scotsman Charlie Miller just before Christmas and Mitch Nichols has certainly delivered for Queensland Roar. He was at it again on Friday night, scoring one and creating the other after being fouled in the penalty area and was generally a terrific link in attack. With Miller still not fully fit, coach Frank Farina, at least knows that Nichols is a more than adequate replacement and will struggle to leave him out of the starting side based on this form.
One to Watch Finals is all about big players stepping up for their team and Craig Moore was again superb for Queensland Roar. He marshaled the defence superbly throughout and when Josh McCloughan and then Danny Tiatto went off, he kept them safe and secure. If Queensland is to win the title this season, there is no doubt that Moore will be the cornerstone to them achieving that success.
Leading Goalscorers 12 - Shane Smeltz (WP), Danny Allsopp (MV), Sergio Van Dijk (QR) 11 - Matt Simon (CCM) 10 - Eugene Dadi (PG), Nikita Rukavytsya (PG) 8 - Cristiano (AU), Archie Thompson (MV) 7 - Charlie Miller (QR), Travis Dodd (AU), Mile Jedinak (CCM), Joel Griffiths (NJ), 6 - Sasho Petrovski (CCM)