A-League: HAL 8 (2012 - 2013 Season)
Round 3 Review
22/10/2012
Jeremy Ruane
(with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com)

'Three-Way Tie At Top In A-League'

Three teams are tied at the top of the Hyundai A-League after three rounds of action in the 2012-13 season, while just one team remains unbeaten in what is shaping up to be a closely contested competition once again.

Melbourne Victory, who began the round propping up the table, came from behind to upset early leaders Adelaide United 2-1 at Etihad Stadium, much to the delight of the 19,174 fans who kept faith with a side which suffered its heaviest ever defeat just a week earlier.

A revamped Melbourne line-up came out all guns blazing as they tore into the table-toppers, but it was United who troubled the scoreboard operators first, Dario Vidosic potting a penalty five minutes into the second half.

But within minutes, the home side were back on level terms courtesy a Mark Milligan header, and the boost that provided Melbourne was supplemented by a giant dollop of luck half-way through the second spell.

Adelaide defender Nigel Boogaard directed a cross against his own crossbar, with Marco Rojas heading the rebound against the same area of the target before the All White hooked home what proved to be a 67th minute winner.

That left big-spending Sydney FC in the dogbox at the bottom of the table, heading into the first-ever Harbour City derby with league newcomers Western Sydney Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium.

19,126 fans headed along to see this historic encounter, one which, like so many derby fixtures, had its moments without ever threatening to be a classic. The key moment in the battle came in the early stages of the second half, when Alessandro Del Piero was brought down in the penalty area.

Referee Strebre Delovski didn’t hesistate to point to the spot, from where the Italian sent Ante Covic the wrong way to open the scoring, only for the goal to be ruled out due to encroachment.

Take two, and this time Del Piero’s effort was parried by Covic. Sadly for the ‘keeper, the rebound was pounced on by Sydney’s marquee player, who smashed home the game’s only goal to the delight of the travelling Sky Blue army, and left Western Sydney still searching for their first goal and point of the season.

What that derby lacked in action the F3 affair earlier on Saturday evening more than made up. 15,289 fans witnessed a gripping game at Hunter Stadium, with Newcastle Jets prevailing 2-1 over Central Coast Mariners to fire them into a share of the league lead.

United’s Ruben Zadkovich set the tone for the evening when being booked inside the first sixty seconds. Six more players followed him into referee Ben Williams’ book, with the first offender very fortunate to remain on the park throughout the balance of the match.

The home team took the lead from the penalty spot in the fifth minute, Ryan Griffiths despatching the ball after Emile Heskey made the most of Michael McGlinchey’s minimal contact in the area to earn the opportunity.

The former Liverpool striker bagged his second goal in as many matches just after the hour mark, but his close-range finish owed much to a brilliant jinking run down the right by James Virgili.

Bernie Ibini-Isei halved the deficit twenty minutes from time to set up a grandstand finish, which would have been provided by Patrick Zwaanswijk’s header in the seventh minute of stoppage time, only for the Mariners’ celebrations to be cut short by the offside flag.

Wellington Phoenix are the only unbeaten team left in the league after they held reigning champions Brisbane Roar to a 1-1 draw at Westpac Stadium, where 9,182 fans delighted in Stein Huysegems’ sixteenth minute opener for the home side.

The rare sight of the title-holders being outplayed was the story of the first half, but Wellington were unable to maintain their early advantage until the break, Besart Berisha’s deft lob six minutes before half-time affording the visitors a share of the spoils from a game which, in truth, neither side deserved to win.

The final game of the round saw Perth Glory, to the delight of the 7,548 fans at NIB Stadium, score late goals in each half to overcome Melbourne Heart 2-0 and make it a three-way tie at the top of the table.

Dean Heffernan struck very much against the run of play seven minutes before half-time to give the home team the lead, but a profligate Perth only made the points safe five minutes from time when Billy Mehmet headed home from a corner.

A-League action across the final weekend of October kicks off on Friday evening, with Newcastle entertaining Melbourne Victory at Hunter Stadium. Twenty-four hours later, Wellington head to Adelaide’s Hindmarsh Stadium, while Brisbane welcome Western Sydney to Suncorp Stadium.

Sunday’s fare sees Melbourne Heart and Central Coast doing battle at AAMI Stadium, before Sydney and Perth wrap up the round at ANZ Stadium.

Details: Hyundai A-League, Round 3:

Melbourne Victory FC 2 (M. Milligan (52), M. Rojas (67)) - Adelaide United FC 1 (D. Vidosic (50 pen)); HT 0-0
Newcastle Jets FC 2 (R. Griffiths (5 pen), E. Heskey (62)) - Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (B. Ibini-Isei (71)); HT 1-0
Perth Glory FC 2 (D. Heffernan (38), B. Mehmet (85)) - Melbourne Heart 0; HT 1-0
Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (S. Huysegems (16)) - Brisbane Roar FC 1 (B. Berisha (39)); HT 1-1
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 0 - Sydney FC 1 (A. Del Piero (54)); HT 0-0

Details: Youth-League, Round 1:

Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (Cirjak 17, Kwasnik 23) - Newcastle Jets FC 1 (Oxborrow 47); HT 2-0
Melbourne Victory FC 3 - Adelaide United FC 0
Perth Glory FC 1 - Brisbane Roar FC 2
AIS - Sydney FC postponed)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 0 - Melbourne Heart FC 2

Details: Womens League, Round 1:

Canberra United FC 0 - Brisbane Roar FC 0
Adelaide United FC 4 (Racheal Quigley 34’, Sarah McLaughlin 77’/80’/88’) - Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3 (Servet Uzunlar 6’/ 21’, Jenna Kingsley 55’); HT 1-2
Perth Glory FC 2 (Kate Gill 75’, Marianna Tabain 88’) - Melbourne Victory FC 0; HT 0-0
Sydney FC 3 (Alanna Kennedy 35’, Sam Kerr 75’, 77’) - Newcastle Jets FC 3 (Emily van Egmond 17’, Tara Andrews 21’, Tori Huster 58’); HT 1-2

By Jeremy Raune, from NZ

 

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