Stats review: Honda and Toivonen's ominous Big Blue impact, Glory equal eight-season record

This is the sort of impact Hyundai A-League marquees can have.

The stats and figures were not on Melbourne Victory's side for their Big Blue trip to Sydney FC in Sunday's thrilling encounter. 

But aided by their two superstar pre-season signings, Victory came up with a triumph that might truly ignite their title defence.

That left ladder-leading Perth Glory and Chris Ikonomidis primed to pounce and retain pole position, equalling an eight-season club record in the process.

We take a look at that and more thanks to Opta data.

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TALKING POINTS: Superstar quality shines across Hyundai A-League
HEROIC MOMENTS: Stoppage-time hero Ikonomidis proves lightning does strike twice
PAPER TALK: Victory's Honda receives incredible reception

How star power got Victory over the line against rivals

Ola Toivonen has played just 78 minutes for Melbourne Victory, but he's already having a huge impact for Kevin Muscat's side.

With a goal and assist in his two maiden Hyundai A-League appearances, the big Swede looks like a focal point upon which the reigning Champions can stake their title defence.

Evidently, the same can be applied to Keisuke Honda, who now has three goals and three assists in his five league matches following his decisive second half penalty in Victory's 2-1 win.

What may please Muscat and the Victory faithful most is that they managed to grind their way to a result with their Japanese maestro effectively shackled by the Sydney FC defence.

Honda, the Hyundai A-League's most effective play-maker with 17 chances created, failed to create a single one for the first time this campaign on Sunday.

Despite that, the reigning Champions were canny enough to get over the line and register just their fourth away success in 19 games against the Sky Blues.

Hyundai A-League’s fast-starters pull it out of the fire again

For the second time this season, Perth Glory left it until stoppage time to secure a massive three points.

Almost a month after his late heroics against Melbourne Victory in Round 2, Chris Ikonomidis was the hero in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Central Coast Mariners.

Another late show for Tony Popovic’s side demonstrates the Glory possess both the physical drive and mentality to turn wins into draws late in the day.

And incredibly, Ikonomidis’ injury-time strike cuts a contrast against what has been a typically fast-starting Glory outfit this season.

The attacker’s 12th minute match opener marked the fifth time Tony Popovic’s side have struck in the opening half-hour in 2018/19.

That result means Glory are unbeaten in the first five games of a campaign for the first time since the 2010/11 season. Is there something special unfurling in Western Australia?

Andy Keogh and Chris Ikonomidis

Brisbane's long drought broken by goal-scoring hero

It was not just by chance that Brisbane Roar’s clash against Melbourne City on Saturday night felt like a must-win encounter.

Had the Roar failed to get over the line against City, they would have equalled their longest wait for a win to start a Hyundai A-League season.

Only once in the club’s history have Brisbane begun a campaign by failing to win any of their first five matches.

Fortunately, Adam Taggart was not about to let that happen.

The Roar marksman scored a brace for the Roar, tallying his fourth and fifth strikes of the campaign to get John Aloisi’s side off the mark.

Adam Taggart

Marco Kurz’s gate-crashers spoil Phoenix party

It could have been a landmark moment for Wellington Phoenix.

The New Zealanders brought up 300 games in the Hyundai A-League against Adelaide United on Saturday, with fan-favourite Roy Krishna tallying a century of matches for the Phoenix.

Unfortunately for Mark Rudan’s side, a symbolic celebration which may have kick-started a new era was curtailed by familiar failings.

The Phoenix have now failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 17 home matches, and slipped to their third defeat of the campaign thanks to a Ken Ilso-inspired Adelaide.


Wasteful Wanderers punished by Jets at Spotless

Western Sydney Wanderers are blowing hot and cold in the fledgling weeks of the Markus Babbel era.

And perhaps no other player has embodied teething problems for the Wanderers more so far than their hot-shot Spanish striker.

Oriol Riera has already accounted for three Hyundai A-League goals this season, but he could have doubled that total in Friday’s encounter with the Jets.

Riera let eight shots loose at Spotless Stadium, the most of any player in a game this season, and hit the target just twice.

In total the 32-year-old has mustered a league-high 12 shots off target this campaign – the most of any player.

Oriol Riera