Weekend Wrap - Hyundai A-League Round 8
It was a weekend of upsets, with the bottom three all recording important victories
It was a weekend of upsets, with the bottom three all recording important victories over there top four rivals, with Adelaide the only top-4 side recording a win, as they now take a lot of confidence into their AFC Champions League semi final 2nd leg clash against Bunyodkor of Uzbekistan.
Results - Round 8 Queensland Roar 0 lost ADELAIDE UNITED 1 NEWCASTLE JETS 1 beat Melbourne Victory 0 Central Coast Mariners 0 lost WELLINGTON PHOENIX 1 PERTH GLORY 2 beat Sydney FC 1
Adelaide United continued Queensland Roar-s miserable home record with a 1-0 win at Suncorp Stadium. In what has become a broken-record for Queensland-s loyal supporters, they could only watch as their team dominated the game including the clear chances on offer, but couldn-t convert and saw Adelaide-s Robert Cornthwaite score from one of their very few they had on goal during the match. Matt McKay had several opportunities come his way in the first half, but never tested young goalkeeper Mark Birighitti, who was making his Hyundai A-League debut. The breakthrough came midway through the second half, when a cross found Cristiano at the back post; he headed back into the middle and Cornthwaite was able to head home. McKay thought he had leveled it up just minutes later, when he headed home, but his goal was ruled away for offside. Queensland tried hard to find an equaliser, but Adelaide-s defence held firm in a good test for Wednesday-s ACL semi final showdown in Tashkent against Bunyodkor.
Newcastle Jets have unearthed another youngster to watch in Marko Jesic, the striker popping up to score a magnificent volley to hand his side a valuable victory against the league leaders Melbourne Victory. Jesic-s goal, scored in his starting debut, rounded out a terrific performance, by not him, but from the Jets team that had lost earlier in the season to Victory 5-0 at the Telstra Dome. Jets coach Gary Van Egmond made some bold changes including that of Jesic, but it worked early as they gained the upper hand, with Jesic forcing a smart save from Michael Theoklitos in the Victory goal. The Jets continued to dominate and things didn-t get any easier for Melbourne when national team striker Archie Thompson was sent off for dissent early in the second half. Jesic-s winner was just reward for himself and the Jets, his volley on the turn going in off the bottom of the crossbar.
Wellington Phoenix caused a major boil over, when they recorded a valuable 1-0 win over Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium. Played in very hot conditions, the match itself never reached too many great heights, for the 9,000+ fans. The Mariners enjoyed the bulk of the play, but never really threatened Phoenix keeper Mark Paston. The match came to life soon after the break; when Shane Smeltz forced a terrific reflex save from returning Mariners keeper Danny Vukovic, with Mark Bosnich forced to sit on the bench for his final game in his short-term guest stint with the club. From the ensuing corner however, Karl Dodd managed to get in front of two Mariners defenders to glance his header inside the unguarded far post for the opening goal. Shortly after Mariners midfielder Mile Jedinak went closest to getting an equalising goal for his side, with a thunderous shot from 30 metres that rattled against the crossbar.
The upsets kept coming in Round 8, with Perth Glory getting the points against a disappointing Sydney FC at Members Equity Stadium. Perth came out of the blocks quickly, with Jamie Harnwell just missing with a shot after two minutes, but then opened the scoring in the 5th minute after receiving a great ball from Nikita Rukavytsya. It was all level again six minutes later, when Brendan Santalab turned Jimmy Downey near the by-line and struck a fierce shot underneath the body of Tando Velaphi, who was making his first start for Glory this season. Both sides traded chances, with Velaphi making terrific saves to deny Mark Bridge and Steve Corica, while Rukavytsya should have scored when clear through, but pushed his shot just wide. Two minutes after the break, Harnwell made it 2-1 for the home side when headed home and Rukavytsya should have wrapped it up but was denied by Ivan Necevski in Sydney-s goal. Santalab thought he had scored late in the match, but couldn-t believe that Velaphi somehow managed to get across and grab his firm header. Any chance of Sydney getting a late equaliser was pretty much gone, when Iain Fyfe was dismissed for striking at Adrian Trinidad in injury time.
Weekend Goals Tally: 6 Card Count: 15 yellows - 2 reds Attendance/Average: 39,271 / 9,818
Goal of the Week Most players would be happy to just get a toe-poke for their first goal in professional football. However for Marko Jesic it couldn-t have been scripted better; late in the game and his side needing three points. Positioned 15 yards out in the left channel of the penalty box, when Ben Kantarovski-s touch saw the ball bounce his way, Jesic, with pure striker-s instinct, swiveled and volleyed a left foot shot past a stunned Michael Theoklitos. He was even able to go and celebrate in front of the Jets main supporter group - the Squadron.
Player of the Week Crisis times call for big name players to come to the fore and in Perth, there is no bigger name than Jamie Harnwell. Celebrating a testimonial in the Hyundai A-League weekend off, Harnwell at the last minute was asked to step up and lead the attack after Eugene Dadi was hurt in the warm up. As he has done so often before, he lead from the front and scored two vitally important goals that led to his sides second win of the season and remarkably Glory are just three points from the top four.
One to Watch Not arguments about this week-s player to watch and that-s Marko Jesic. After just one appearance off the bench, Gary Van Egmond put a lot of pressure on the kid against the league leaders by starting him. Jesic proved more than capable and was a constant threat throughout and duly popped up to score a terrific winner for the Jets.
Leading Goalscorers 6 - Danny Allsopp (MV), Shane Smeltz (WP) 5 - Charlie Miller (QR), Cristiano (AU), Matt Simon (CCM) 4 - Eugene Dadi (PG), Mile Jedinak (CCM)