Team of the Week, presented by Bunnings Warehouse – Matchweek 8
Macarthur FC set the standard and Central Coast Mariners accepted the challenge in delivering stand-out displays in Matchweek 8 – but which players made the Team of the Week, presented by Bunnings Warehouse?
Bulls forward Matt Derbyshire fired himself into the Golden Boot race with a quick-fire hat-trick in a 4-0 victory against Adelaide United, before Alen Stajcic's table-toppers made short work of Wellington Phoenix with a 2-0 triumph in the Kiwi club's temporary home in Wollongong.
Brisbane Roar and the Newcastle Jets then put on a showcase in Redcliffe, both sides pushing for a winner with defences coming out on top in a 0-0 draw, to wrap up a three-game matchweek, following the postponement of two games on Saturday due to Victoria's five-day lockdown.
But who made the cut for this edition of the A-League Team of the Week, presented by Bunnings Warehouse? Read on to find out.
Jack Duncan – Newcastle Jets
The Jets gloveman made a pair of full-length diving parries to stop Dylan Wenzel-Halls in each half, but was fortunate to survive a scare when Riku Danzaki fired past his legs before being ruled offside.
Duncan recovered his position quickly to push Jay O’Shea’s in-swinging corner away from his line and the 27-year-old was busy late on, clasping Danzaki’s drive and pushing Scott McDonald’s close-range header away with a brilliant reaction save to clinch the shut-out.
Johnny Koutroumbis – Newcastle Jets
Koutroumbis is looking increasingly more comfortable and confident as the third centre-back in Newcastle's back five and helped silence high-flying Brisbane Roar in Sunday's 0-0 stalemate.
Next to Newcastle's time-honoured veterans Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Nigel Boogaard, Koutroumbis held his own and then some, making team-high tackles (two) and duels won (eight), with two clearances and three interceptions to boot, as Newcastle kept back to back clean sheets.
Macaulay Gillesphey – Brisbane Roar
The Roar protector was flawless in a rare goalless draw in the A-League, shackling the often dangerous Roy O’Donovan and refusing the visitors any space to shoot or play a final pass in a commanding defensive display.
The 25-year-old’s distribution was excellent, completing 90.1% of his 66 passes and creating two chances as he pushed forward on the Brisbane left, while delivering a perfect nine out of nine duels won, in addition to recording a game-high eight clearances.
Nikolai Topor-Stanley – Newcastle Jets
The Jets veteran is a defensive master when his side's backs are against the wall, and Topor-Stanley turned in a typically robust defensive performance to preserve a clean sheet against Brisbane.
Topor-Stanley rose highest to repel Brisbane's late assault, making five clearances on the night and four interceptions, as Newcastle continued their steady recent run of four unbeaten matches.
Markel Susaeta – Macarthur FC
Susaeta was the pick of the right-sided midfielders in this A-League matchweek following a high-energy and creative performance in the Bulls’ hammering of Adelaide United.
The Spain international would have had an assist with a beautiful cross to Matt Derbyshire were it not for Jordan Elsey’s defensive heroics, one of Susaeta’s six deliveries. The veteran saw his fizzing shot pushed away as he hit the target with two of his three efforts, and won five duels as Macarthur controlled in Campbelltown.
Oliver Bozanic – Central Coast Mariners
Bozanic was the heartbeat of a Mariners team that were forced to ditch their usual counter-attacking ways and dictate the tempo for more than an hour against the ten men of Wellington Phoenix.
The 32-year-old ran the show at WIN Stadium with a match-leading 120 touches, completing 95.2% of his game-high 104 passes. Bozanic created three chances and struck three attempts on goal – two from distance and one from 12 yards, capping a dominant performance by converting the points-sealing penalty to notch his first A-League goal in five years.
Beñat Etxebarria – Macarthur FC
Macarthur’s metronomic master gets the edge ahead of his midfield partner Denis Genreau because of his additional cutting edge in the Bull’s commanding victory over Adelaide.
Beñat was oozing class for 90 minutes in Campbelltown, logging a game-high 108 touches and completing 94.4% of his 89 passes. The Spanish schemer created four chances, delivered seven crosses and fired in three shots – coming a shade away from getting himself on the scoresheet with a stunning long-range strike.
Tommy Oar – Macarthur FC
After Susaeta and Beñat's relentless play wore the Reds down, the Bulls inaugural signing came off the bench in the 57th minute and produced a devastating cameo worthy of Team of the Week honours, earning the left-midfield berth ahead of sparkling Mariners wide-man Daniel De Silva.
In 33 minutes, the 28-cap Socceroo put in five crosses, created four chances and claimed a pair of assists, one a superb searching pass for Derbyshire to open the scoring, the other a floated delivery for the Englishman to complete his treble. Oar almost got in on the act as well, smashing in two shots, one of which forced a fine save from James Delianov.
Matt Simon – Central Coast Mariners
Wily frontman Matt Simon was involved in all of the key moments during the Central Coast's win over Wellington. Unfortunately, he was on the receiving end of the foul that saw David Ball shown a straight red card, but the Mariners veteran picked himself up to score the opener before half-time.
The 35-year-old was a constant handful for the 'Nix defence and could have added to his tally with his four shots on target were it not for Stefan Marinovic's impressive string of saves. As the focal point of the league-leaders' attack, Simon won six duels and proved to be a danger in the box.
Matt Derbyshire – Macarthur FC
Matt Derbyshire launched his Golden Boot bid with a destructive 23-minute hat-trick to power the Bulls' first ever home victory and take his season tally to five, but in truth the English striker could have scored even more after running Adelaide's defence ragged.
Some extraordinary last-ditch defending denied Derbyshire an early double, but he ended up with three goals from his seven shots, all of them close-range poacher's efforts, suggesting the 34-year-old could be the player that fires the start-up club into the mix for trophies in their maiden season.
Marcos Ureña – Central Coast Mariners
Simon was gushing with praise for the Costa Rican World Cup star at full-time and the Mariners stalwart got a glimpse of how good his strike partner can be following a sensational through ball between two Wellington defenders to set up the opening goal.
Starting only his third game since arriving in Gosford, Ureña is quickly getting up to pace in the A-League and this was his most vibrant performance yet. The 30-year-old turned on the style to create three chances in his 77 minutes, showing he could be the player that pushes the table-toppers to another level.
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