Hyundai A-League Weekend Wrap
Adelaide United goes to the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan in a position as the current No.1 team in Australia and in a confident frame of mind after its 6-1 thrashing of Wellington Phoenix at Hindmarsh Stadium.
Adelaide United goes to the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan in a position as the current No.1 team in Australia and in a confident frame of mind after its 6-1 thrashing of Wellington Phoenix at Hindmarsh Stadium. It was an intriguing Round 14, with last-placed Perth Glory upsetting previous league leaders Melbourne Victory 3-1, while young Brendan Gan handed Sydney FC a priceless late winner to consign defending champions Newcastle Jets to outright bottom spot on the ladder. Central Coast Mariners confirmed its status as this season-s draw specialists, salvaging another late point against Queensland.
Results - Round 14 ADELAIDE UNITED 6 beat Wellington Phoenix 1 Central Coast Mariners 1 drew Queensland Roar 1 PERTH GLORY 3 beat Melbourne Victory 1 Newcastle Jets 1 lost SYDNEY FC 2
Adelaide United moved to top spot on the ladder after a blistering performance against Wellington Phoenix. With Adelaide to miss the next two matches (most likely) of the season, because of its participation at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, they were looking for a good going away win against the inform Phoenix, who beat Melbourne the previous week. Adelaide dominated from the start and it was defender Sasa Ognenovski, who made it a goal in each of his past three games with a stinging shot through a crowded goalmouth. Cristiano, back in the starting side, made it 2-0 just before the break, heading home a corner. After the break Fred threatened a Phoenix comeback when he poked home from close range, but within a couple of minutes the two-goal advantage was restored by Cassio, with a thunderous shot from the left channel of the box. The Brazilian repeated the dose in almost identical fashion with 20 minutes to go, as Adelaide went rampant, with Cristiano grabbing a second from close range and Travis Dodd firing home a deserved goal close to full time.
Central Coast Mariners once again lived up to their name as the comeback kings, after a thoroughly absorbing 1-1 with Queensland Roar at Bluetongue Stadium. Adrian Caceres almost had a goal for the home side after six minutes, when he went on a long run through a counter-attack, his shot from the edge of the area, forcing a good save from Roar keeper Liam Reddy. However it was Queensland that took the early lead, thanks to a wicked strike from Serginho van Dijk from all of 30 metres. His low and swerving shot after a free kick lay-off gave Danny Vukovic no chance. Queensland then held the upper hand for the rest of the first half, but couldn-t make there possession and dominance count again. As expected the Mariners picked up their game in the second half, as the game came to life. Mile Jedinak and Saso Petrovski both had good chances to score, but it was left to fans favourite Andre Gumprecht to bring the house down, when he latched onto a weak clearance from Brad Porter-s free kick, hitting it low and hard through a crowd of players, Reddy this time unable to save. John Hutchinson was inches away for a dramatic winner in injury time for the Mariners, his shot curling agonisingly past the far post to leave it all square at the end.
League leaders Melbourne Victory were stung for the second week in a row, this time going down to bottom side Perth Glory 3-1 at Members Equity Stadium. Despite missing key striker Nikita Rukavytsya, Perth looked hungry, especially after they took the lead after 18 minutes through Eugene Dadi. Both sides had traded chances prior to this, but it was Dadi, meeting a cross from Adrian Trinidad, with a powerful shot that went in off the underside of the crossbar that sent Perth on its way. Four minutes later it was Dadi who doubled the advantage, when he was allowed to turn and shoot in a crowded box. Melbourne-s play was disjointed at best, but Tom Pondeljak should have brought a goal before the break but somehow put his shot over the bar from 3 metres out. Ten minutes into the second half, the Victory did pull a goal back, when Ney Fabiano steamed into the box and unleashed a powerful shot past Tando Velaphi. With 12 minutes remaining, Adriano Pellegrino sealed a terrific win for Perth, with a magnificent goal from 20 metres out with a bullet-like shot that left Michael Theoklitos clutching at thin air. The win moved Perth off the bottom of the table and still kept their slim finals hopes alive.
Young Sydney striker Brendan Gan came off the bench to give Sydney FC a much-needed win and consign Newcastle Jets to sole bottom spot on the ladder. Sydney was forced to come from behind after conceding an early goal to Jobe Wheelhouse, the Jets midfielder-s strike from the edge of the area after 11 minutes too good for recalled Sydney keeper Clint Bolton. Sydney-s response though was quick, just four minutes in fact, when Iain Fyfe finished off a series of headers by Beau Busch and John Aloisi, after a wicked free kick from Shannon Cole. The rest of the first half was dominated by Newcastle with striker Marko Jesic looking particularly dangerous on the right, with Matt Thompson and James Holland both going close. Sydney looked better in the second half with Aloisi-s deft chip just clearing the crossbar, while Ante Covic did ever so well to deny Steve Corica a certain goal when he stuck a leg out to block the FC captain-s shot. But there was nothing Covic could do to stop Gan-s shot after he was given too much space in the box and he curled his first time shot from Corica-s pass, neatly into the top corner from 10 yards out. The win moved Sydney into third place; such is the congestion and tightness of this competition.
Weekend Goals Tally: 16
Card Count: 11 yellows - 0 reds
Attendance/Average: 32,930 / 8,232.5
Goal of the Week There were two special goals at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday, but it was on the other side of the country we will head for this week-s goal of the week. He-s been an unsung hero for Perth Glory this season, as the midfield workhorse, but his first goal in the Hyundai A-League will be one to saviour. Adrian Pellegrino in picking up the ball 30 metres out, moved sideways, beating several Melbourne players before unleashing a thunderbolt with his non-preferred left foot, which gave Michael Theoklitos no chance and sealed a memorable win for the Glory.
Player of the Week Several players were outstanding this week, but it-s hard to go past Adelaide-s Cassio this week. Having had to sit out several weeks, Cassio returned with a vengeance to score two crucial goals in the second half that set his team onto a record win over Wellington. He was a constant threat down the left and his two strikes, while very similar, were executed with tremendous power and composure.
One to Watch Sydney-s poor run of form came to end on the weekend and they can thank second gamer Brendan Gan, for the much needed three points. Gan, the reigning NSW Premier League Player of the Year, came off the bench for just the second time, but to good effect when he latched onto Steve Corica-s pass and gave Ante Covic no chance from 10 metres out. John Kosmina has big wraps on the kid and don-t be surprised to see more of him in the latter half of the season.
Leading Goalscorers 9 - Shane Smeltz (WP) 8 - Matt Simon (CCM), Nikita Rukavytsya (PG) 7 - Charlie Miller (QR), Danny Allsopp (MV), Travis Dodd (AU), Cristiano (AU), Eugene Dadi (PG), 5 - Joel Griffiths (NJ), Archie Thompson (MV), Mile Jedinak (CCM), Sasho Petrovski (CCM)