A-League: HAL 8 (2012 - 2013 Season)
Round 2 Review
Jeremy Ruane
(with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com)

'Adelaide Go Top As Brisbane Make Statement'

Adelaide United are the only team boasting two wins after the opening two rounds of the Hyundai A-League, but it was title-holders Brisbane Roar who made the most emphatic statement of a round in which two of the competition’s biggest names scored goals which justified the efforts their clubs went to to secure their signatures.

The South Australians kicked off the round by maintaining their perfect start to the season, although it must be said their 1-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers wasn’t exactly riveting viewing.

The 8,950 who gathered at Hindmarsh Stadium witnessed a match light on scoring opportunities, although the home team squandered the best of them when Jeronimo Neumann’s 68th minute penalty was saved by Ante Covic.

But the villain became hero sixty seconds later when netting the game’s only goal to ensure the home team of maximum points from two rounds, while leaving the league newcomers with at least another week to endure before scoring their first A-League goal.

Twenty-four hours later, the two Saturday night encounters produced ten goals between them - one was a five-goal thriller, the other a five-goal hiding!

Reigning champions Brisbane took great delight in administering the fearful beating, former coach Ange Postecoglou heading home after seeing his old club give his new employers, Melbourne Victory, a right royal roasting at Suncorp Stadium, where 17,364 fans roared the home team on to a 5-0 victory, a record defeat for the beaten team.

The champions carved their rivals apart at will throughout proceedings, establishing their superiority half-way through the first half when Thomas Broich and Erik Paartalu netted within two minutes of each other.

The latter had already been denied a goal by the offside flag, a fate which was to befall Besart Berisha twenty minutes from time. But he had opened his account for the evening six minutes earlier.

After Mitch Nichols notched a fourth goal eight minutes from time, last season’s Golden Boot winner netted his second goal of the game in stoppage time, seconds before Ben Halloran was denied what would have been a stunning sixth strike by the crossbar.

Earlier in the day, 35,419 fans piled into Allianz Stadium to witness the season’s first New South Wales derby, and they weren’t disappointed, as marquee signings Emile Heskey and Alessandro Del Piero both scored in a thrilling encounter which saw Newcastle Jets edge Sydney FC 3-2.

The visitors set the cat amongst the pigeons when Ryan Griffiths rifled home the opening goal just eleven minutes into the contest, and when Craig Goodwin rattled the post soon after, the locals sensed another defeat was on the cards.

That pessimistic air changed instantly some fifteen minutes after the opening goal, that strike being cancelled out by a sumptuous twenty-five yard curling free-kick from Del Piero which left Ben Kennedy flailing at thin air as it arced into the top corner.

Not to be outdone, “Big Hes” restored Newcastle’s advantage four minutes before half-time with a blistering volley which set up a rip-roaring second spell, laden with chances at both ends.

Only two were taken, however, with Goodwin chipping home Newcastle’s third in delightful fashion just after the hour mark before Blake Powell reduced the arrears sixteen minutes from time, setting up a grandstand finish in the process. An equaliser proved beyond Sydney, however, and they find themselves sharing last place with Melbourne Victory after the opening two rounds of action.

Two of the opening round winners clashed on Sunday at AAMI Stadium, where 10,907 fans saw a decidedly under-strength Wellington Phoenix deservedly hold ten-man Melbourne Heart to a 1-1 draw.

After a spirited start by the visitors, who fielded four debutants in the absence of more regular starters due to international duty, Melbourne opened the scoring courtesy a fine Matt Thompson strike after twenty minutes.

They went close on a couple more occasions before the break, but paid the price for their profligacy within two minutes of the start of the second half. Simon Colosimo’s reflex save to deny Alex Smith’s goal-bound volley earned the defender a red card for denying a goalscoring opportunity, and allowed Paul Ifill to level the scores in emphatic fashion from the penalty spot.

The visitors then laid siege to their numerically challenged opponents’ goal, but failed to engineer a match-winning goal at the expense of John Aloisi’s team, who were only denied victory themselves thirteen minutes from time when Dylan MacAllister’s shot was cleared off the line by Michael Boxall.

The final game of the round saw Daniel McBreen’s goal twenty minutes from time earn Central Coast Mariners a 1-0 win over Perth Glory in front of 9,192 fans at Bluetongue Stadium.

The home team, resplendent in pink as they supported Pink Ribbon Day, edged a tight contest in which scoring chances were few and far between, unlike yellow cards, six of which were brandished by referee Jarred Gillett as he struggled to keep order throughout this repeat of last season’s preliminary final.

Melbourne Victory entertain Adelaide at Etihad Stadium on Friday evening to kick off third round action in the A-League. Twenty-four hours later, it’s derby day in New South Wales, with the F3 derby, between Newcastle and Central Coast at Hunter Stadium, followed by the inaugural Sydney derby, with Parramatta Stadium the venue for the clash of Western Sydney and Sydney FC.

Wellington welcome reigning champions Brisbane to Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon, while later that day Perth and Melbourne Heart square off at NIB Stadium.

Details: Hyundai A-League, Round 2:

Adelaide United FC 1 (J. Neumann (69)) - Western Sydney Wanderers FC 0; HT 0-0
Brisbane Roar FC 5 (T. Broich (21), E. Paartalu (23), B. Berisha (64, 90), M. Nichols (82)) - Melbourne Victory FC 0; HT 2-0
Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (D. McBreen (70)) - Perth Glory FC 0 HT 0-0
Melbourne Heart FC 1 (M. Thompson (20)) - Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (P. Ifill (48 pen)); HT 1-0
Sydney FC 2 (A. Del Piero (26), B. Powell (74)) - Newcastle Jets FC 3 (R. Griffiths (12), E. Heskey (41), C. Goodwin (62)); HT 1-2

Details: Youth-League, Round 1:

Commences next week

Details: Womens League, Round 1:

Commences next week

By Jeremy Raune, from NZ


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