We take a look at the star performers in Round 19 of the Hyundai A-League.
Mark Birighitti (Newcastle Jets)
Newcastle continued their excellent recent record against the Roar & Mark Birighitti can take a lot of the plaudits for the results. The Jets custodian thwarted the Roar at every opportunity, much to the bemusement of the home team. Brisbane launched 15 shots in the match, and of the five that were on target, Birighitti was always at the port of call. Birighitti kept a fourth clean sheet of the season in the win that has re-ignited their finals campaign.
Osama Malik (Adelaide United)
Left wingers beware; Osama Malik is in a rich vein of form right now. The perennial nomad is putting a mortgage down on the right back position for the competition-s in form team. On a difficult pitch, Malik was an integral member both offensively and defensively. His ability on the ball is utilised to its potential under Josip Gombau-s possession based plan. With the recent injury to Rhys Williams, constant performances of this ilk mean a trip to Brazil may not be out of the cards.
Sasa Ognenovski (Sydney FC)
In his return match to the A-League, Ognenovski showed why he has been rated so highly, with a dominant performance, even though he gave away an indirect free-kick. Despite his side ceding possession for much of the contest, the Socceroo alongside Nikola Petkovic made sure Vedran Janjetovic was rarely threatened. One particular block in the second half from Nebojsa Marinkovic proved critical in the scheme of the contest.
Joshua Mitchell (Newcastle Jets)
The 29 year-old defender has had a tough year, although few would have guessed after the dominating display he put on against Brisbane. In only his fourth match of the season, Mitchell made 11 clearances and won 100% of aerial duals he contested. Mitchell was also proficient with the ball at his feet completed 82% of his passes for the day.
Michael Zullo (Adelaide United)
Despite being played further defensively this week, Zullo was industrious self, as he glided up and down the field. To this author, his playing style is similar to that of England-s Leighton Baines. Seemingly doing endless shuttle runs for 90 minutes, Zullo provides an extra number in attack for Adelaide. His three interceptions also showed that his doesn-t shirk any of his responsibilities at the less glamorous end of their field.
Marcelo Carrusca (Adelaide United)
The Argentinian is another Red to thrive under Josip Gombau and the tiki-taka football the club is trying to produce. Given licence to roam forward, Carrusca opened the scoring at Coopers Stadium with an assured finish. It was one of three clear chances he had to score, not bad for a midfielder.
Terry Antonis (Sydney FC)
Making his first start of the season following recovery from a potentially career ending injury, Antonis bossed the midfield battle from the base of the Sydney diamond. Whilst he will quite rightly get plaudits for his stunning match winner, his defensive work will most please the Sydney coaching staff. 5 tackles, three clearances and 100% success from aerial duels are all impressive figures.
Orlando Engelaar (Melbourne Heart)
Like Antonis, injury has ruined Englelaar-s season. Returning from suspension, the former Dutch international provided his most complete performance, scoring a goal and providing an assist in the Heart-s romp over Wellington. Engelaar demanded the ball constantly, with team-mates finding him on 84 occasions. His goal was venomous, as he thundered a reaping shot past Glen Moss. Showing his full array of weapons, the giant then showed terrific finesse to find David Williams for the strikers first goal.
Ali Abbas (Sydney FC)
The tenacious Iraqi has been Sydney-s best player this season without a shadow of a doubt. Reverting to his preferred left midfield role, Abbas gave Josh Risdon a torrid time. In collaboration with Matt Jurman, Abbas constantly provided attacking thrust down the flank. He would constantly cut inside Risdon with ease to provide a goal scoring threat. He provided the final pass to three shots on target and only misplaced one pass on a night where mistakes were all to frequent.
Fabio Ferreira (Adelaide United)
The energetic character is starting to show why he was once on the books of Chelsea as a youngster. In the past he has been accused of being an enigma, but recently his performances have consistent for the whole of the match. Floating, Ferreira found himself spending time on the right flanks and centrally. His goal was the end of a swift counter-attack that could easily feature on any highlights reel.
David Williams (Melbourne Heart)
Simply outstanding. After proving a capable super-sub over previous weeks, Williams was back in the starting team with a bang, scoring a career defining hat-trick. Each goal was a thing of beauty, and worthy of any league in the world. The richly talented front-man seems hell-bent on securing finals football with the Heart, having 8 shots on goal during the match, as well as completing 80% of his 45 passes during the match.