Team of the Week, presented by Bunnings Warehouse - Matchweek 18
Melbourne City emerged on top of the A-League table after an eight-game Matchweek 18 came to its conclusion on Wednesday night.
City drew with Macarthur FC on Saturday, April 24. The result sent Patrick Kisnorbo's side one point above both Central Coast Mariners - who took just one point from games against Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar - and the Sky Blues, who drew level with the Mariners after notching four points from two games in Matchweek 18.
The battle for sixth spot escalated thanks to positive results earned by Western United, Wellington Phoenix and Brisbane Roar throughout the Matchweek. Warren Moon's Roar won 4-0 against the Mariners on Wednesday in the statement victory of Matchweek 18, climbing into seventh spot - just one point behind Western United in sixth.
Melbourne Victory reacted positively to a 7-0 loss to City in Matchweek 17 by beating Western Sydney Wanderers 5-4 on Friday night, before losing 1-0 in the Big Blue on Tuesday. The Victory players gave a solid account of themselves in the tight affair with Sydney FC, offering a glimmer of hope looking ahead to the rest of the 2020/21 campaign.
Read on to see which 11 players feature in a 4-4-2 formation for Team of the Week, presented by Bunnings Warehouse.
READ: How to watch A-League Matchweek 19
MORE: Thursday night preview: Melbourne City v Newcastle Jets - April 29
Matt Acton - Melbourne Victory
The Victory gloveman saved his best work until late in Matchweek 18, when putting on a Player of the Game performance against the Sky Blues.
Acton made nine saves in the Big Blue, keeping his side in the game until the final whistle as Victory fell to a slender 1-0 defeat. The shot-stopper denied Kosta Barbarouses on multiple occasions whilst producing a pair of stunning saves to keep both Bobô and Miloš Ninković off the scoresheet.
Macaulay Gillesphey - Brisbane Roar
Brisbane Roar's immense defensive display against Central Coast Mariners was led by Macaulay Gillesphey, who offered backline solidity and efficiency in attack as his side romped to a 4-0 win away from home.
Gillesphey scored the first of Brisbane's four goals, ghosting in at the back post to tuck home a deflected Jay O'Shea cross.
Gillesphey won possession seven times, making one clearance and interception in the impressive Roar win.
Andrew Durante - Western United
A pair of composed performances from Andrew Durante helped Western United to a win and a draw in Matchweek 18. In a 1-1 draw with Wellington Durante played 54 passes at 96.3% accuracy, won five of 11 duels, made one clearance and one interception.
He followed that showing with an even better display in a 1-0 win over Newcastle Jets, retaining a clean sheet whilst making three clearances and interceptions and raising his passing accuracy to 97%, winning six of nine duels against the likes of Valentino Yuel and Roy O'Donovan.
Alex Wilkinson - Sydney FC
Sydney FC notched a draw against the Mariners and win over Melbourne Victory in Matchweek 18, and Alex Wilkinson played a commanding role in both Sky Blue outings.
Wilkinson made a combined eight clearances and three interceptions across the two games, keeping a clean sheet against a stubborn Victory outfit as Sydney FC took second spot on the A-League table by the end of the Matchweek.
Ryan Strain - Adelaide United
The Reds right-back was unfortunate to be on the losing side after putting in a terrific showing in a 2-1 loss to Wellington Phoenix on Sunday, April 25.
Strain created two chances against the Phoenix, assisting Stefan Mauk's 51st-minute goal and enjoying a 93.5% passing accuracy throughout the game. Strain also won eight of 11 duels and made one interception.
Connor Metcalfe - Melbourne City
While Melbourne City's star-studded strike force failed to find the back of the net against Macarthur FC, midfielder Connor Metcalfe stepped forward to alleviate the pressure with a well-taken strike which earned Goal of Matchweek 18 honours.
Metcalfe created one chance, scored from one of his three shots, won seven of nine duels and made a pair of clearances and intercepts throughout his side's 1-1 draw with the Bulls.
Jay O'Shea - Brisbane Roar
Jay O'Shea played a key role in Brisbane Roar's magnificent 4-0 win over Central Coast in Matchweek 18.
The Irishman provided a cross which deflected into Gillesphey's path to score the opener, and created a pair of chances for his side including an assist for Joey Champness' second-half goal.
Luke Brattan - Sydney FC
Sydney FC's conductor excelled in his side's two Matchweek 18 fixtures, notching an assist in both appearances against Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory.
The midfielder created three chances against the Mariners, played 11 crosses and 61 passes at 90.2% accuracy, before creating four chances and passing 98 times at 88.8% accuracy against Victory.
MATCH REPORT: Sydney FC 1-0 Melbourne Victory
James Troisi - Western Sydney Wanderers
James Troisi excelled in a losing Wanderers outfit when the Red and Black travelled to face Melbourne Victory on Friday, April 23.
Troisi showed no nerves against his former side, scoring Western Sydney's opening goal and assisting Mitchell Duke late in the second half. The inventive midfielder created the most chances (seven) of any player in a single game throughout Matchweek 18.
Ben Folami - Melbourne Victory
Folami scored his first two goals in Melbourne Victory colours in his side's 5-4 win over Western Sydney Wanderers early in Matchweek 18.
The forward has looked lively for Victory in recent times, and carried his sparkling form against the Wanderers into Victory's second game of the Matchweek against Sydney FC.
Folami created three scoring chances and played in four crosses on the night, combining with fellow Victory wide-man Lleyton Brooks to great effect as the Victory fought hard against the Sky Blues.
Ben Waine – Wellington Phoenix
The teenage attacker wrote his name into the Kiwi club's history books in Matchweek 18, scoring in four consecutive games to become only the fourth Phoenix player to do so, after Jeremy Brockie, Roy Krishna and Ulises Davila.
The 19-year-old showed maturity beyond his years, opening the round by breaking the deadlock with a smart volley in the 1-1 draw with Western United, then grabbing the equaliser in the 2-1 win over Adelaide United with an ice cold finish, skipping around keeper Joe Gauci and slotting into an unguarded net.
Featured NewsRead more
Around the grounds: A-League clubs ramping up pre-season preparations
WITH the 2021/22 A-League campaign kicking off on October 30, players from around the league are returning to their clubs as pre-season regimes accelerate through early August. Some players return to familiar surroundings, whilst others embark on exciting new journeys in pastu
Young ready to "go through brick walls" for Aloisi at Western United
JAMIE Young says the allure of working under John Aloisi once again was an opportunity he couldn't pass up, as Western United secured the experienced goalkeeper's services on a two-year deal. The 35-year-old called time on his seven-season stint at Brisbane Roar to join United
Reds legend Marrone departs club for fresh challenge
ADELAIDE United stalwart Michael Marrone has called time on his second Reds stay, joining NPL SA outfit Sturt Lions FC. The defender departs the club with 193 total appearances to his name, second only to Eugene Galekovic in total league appearances for the Reds. At 34 year