Aussies spotlight: Three youngsters star in Hyundai A-League
There were some fabulous performances across the Hyundai A-League in Round 21 with a number of Aussies strengthening their claims for a Caltex Socceroos call-up.
We take a look at some of the best performing Aussies from the weekend's action.
ARZANI FIRES FOR CITY
Daniel Arzani, 19, continued to boost his stocks with an absolute peach of a goal on Saturday night.
In just his seventh Hyundai A-League start, the talented attacker received the ball wide on the left before cutting in and curling an unstoppable shot past Liam Reddy in the Perth goal.
DE SILVA THE DIFFERENCE
Another young star proved the difference for the Central Coast Mariners as they secured their first Hyundai A-League victory since early December.
Australian under-23s attacker Daniel De Silva, 20, was on hand to tuck home the only goal of Friday night’s bottom-of-the-table clash with Wellington Phoenix in Gosford.
The result lifted the Mariners three points clear of Wellington at the foot of the ladder and keeps Paul Okon’s side alive in the race for the top six.
JOEY DOES THE JOB
Newcastle always find a way to score and yet another 20-year-old talent was at the forefront of their twelfth win of the Hyundai A-League campaign.
Australian under-23s winger Joseph Champness came off the bench to score the only goal of a tight tussle with Brisbane Roar, taking the Jets past the 40-point mark for the first time ever.
Another young Australian Steven Ugarkovic threaded a precise through ball into the path of Champness, who finished with aplomb past the advancing Jamie Young.
Newcastle’s victory margin would have been far more comfortable had it not been for another superb goalkeeping display from Roar custodian Jamie Young.
The Jets mustered an incredible 20 shots on goal, 11 of which were on target and yet it was only the late strike from Champness that denied Roar a share of the points.
Young, 32, was in Herculean form and is shaping as the favourite for the Hyundai A-League’s goalkeeper of the season gong.
SYDNEY’S DYNAMIC DUO
Sydney FC’s big stars may have again earned the plaudits, but it was their midfield workhorses who may well have received the biggest pats on the back from Graham Arnold last night.
A brace from standout attacking midfielder Adrian Mierzejewski and a 21st goal of the season for Bobo were enough to succumb the Wanderers in a sodden Sydney derby.
But former Australian under-23s midfielder Brandon O’Neill and five-time Caltex Socceroo Josh Brilliante continued to show the consistency which has seen them become absolutely crucial cogs in the Sky Blues’ sublime form of the past two seasons.
Revelling in the wet conditions, 23-year-old O’Neill and 24-year-old Brilliante tore into their work, winning every 50/50 duel and passing possession on to their lethal team-mates.
See these star players in action next weekend. Click here to buy tickets for the upcoming Hyundai A-League fixtures!