Local Aussies: Unheralded Deng spectacularly steals the limelight

Goal-scoring defenders came to the fore in the Hyundai A-League over the weekend while a two-time FIFA World Cup attendee exhibited all of his international class.

In our Local Aussies wrap, we shine a light on four homegrown products that made a big impression in Round 25.


Not many at AAMI Park would have expected Thomas Deng to pick out the bottom far corner when he shaped to strike Terry Antonis' cross on Saturday night.

But the young defender did just that, wowing fans with a thumping volley.

It was a stunning way for the defender to grab the headlines and earned praise from Melbourne Victory boss Kevin Muscat.

"It was an unbelievable strike. It won't get the credit it deserves because Tommy's not a glamour name," Muscat said.

"I was really happy for him and I dare say he was happy with it as well."

Deng's goal is the high point of a promising campaign for the 21-year-old, who returned from a stint with Ajax at the end of last season.

The Australia youth international has adjusted well to right-back following the departure of Jason Geria and looks set to play a big part in the Finals Series.


Deng's goal merely followed a trend established by Ben Garuccio on Friday night.

The incisive left-back scored for just the second time in his Hyundai A-League career in Adelaide United's 3-1 victory over Wellington Phoenix.

It was spectacular, too - a thumping finish into the top far corner after bustling into the box.

Garuccio's goal capped a fine all-round display at Coopers Stadium, with three tackles, two key passes and a 90 per cent passing accuracy also to his credit.

The 22-year-old - who, like Deng, was part of the Olyroos' squad at the AFC U23 Championship - has been a canny acquisition since returning to his native South Australia from Melbourne City.


Melbourne City are beginning to look like a team that can do some real damage in the Finals Series, thanks in no small part to Dario Vidosic.

The attacking midfielder has been integral to City's transformation into a side capable of dispatching Newcastle Jets 3-0.

Vidosic scored twice in the eyebrow-raising result including a sublime free-kick that put three points beyond doubt.

He now boasts nine in total for the campaign - five for City and four at Wellington Phoenix - exhibiting the class that made him a FIFA World Cup squad member in 2010 and 2014.

And the 30-year-old's value extends well beyond the pitch, according to City coach Warren Joyce.

"The way he conducts himself not only as a player but as a man around the club, he's been a tremendous asset to us," Joyce said.


Perth Glory’s Hyundai A-League finals hopes may have almost extinguished after their 3-2 defeat to Sydney FC on Thursday night but the return to form of striker Adam Taggart is encouraging.

The classy striker almost single-handedly sparked a late fightback in the west, scoring two second-half goals after coming off the bench at half-time.

And the second of those goals was an absolute screamer, worthy of gracing any league right around the world.

While injury has meant it’s been a stop-start campaign for the 24-year-old, there’s no doubt he’s a genuine goal-scorer and one of the best finishers in the Hyundai A-League on his day.

Taggart went to the 2014 FIFA World Cup with the Caltex Socceroos and if he can keep banging in the goals and possibly get Glory on a deep run into the finals, he might convince Bert van Marwijk to pick him in his preliminary squad next month.

For now, Taggart is just focused on Glory and his deadly partnership with teammate and skipper Andy Keogh.

"Once we're on the park together it becomes second nature," he said.

"It’s just nice to be on the park. He's a good player to play with.

"Obviously we linked up well last year. It's good to finally be able to do it for a little bit this year."