R10: A far from dull round of Hyundai A-League action

Hyundai A-League – Season 2013/2014 – Round 10 Review
by Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com

A shock scoreline involving the champions, talk of a dressing room revolt, wins for the top two, a wild penalty miss … it was all on for young and old in the latest round of Hyundai A-League action on the penultimate weekend before Christmas.

Brisbane Roar continued on their merry way in front of 6,374 fans at Westpac Stadium, accounting for Wellington Phoenix 2-1 despite the home team having the better of the first half.

But they failed to take their chances – Jeremy Brockie, most notably, squandering an open goal from six yards – and paid the price when Matt Smith ghosted in on the far post to steer home Thomas Broich’s free-kick nine minutes before half-time.

Two minutes after the interval, Wellington were level courtesy a Carlos Hernandez penalty, although the spot-kick should never have been awarded – Kenny Cunningham conned referee Shaun Evans big-time with his Swan Lake audition!

The table-toppers could have regained the lead from the penalty spot in the 66th minute, after Albert Riera was harshly adjudged to have fouled Jack Hingert. But Besart Berisha’s spot-kick was well saved by Glen Moss – a rare miss from twelve yards for the Albanian.

Brisbane clinched the points sixteen minutes from time, Ivan Franjic capping off a fine pass-laden move with a gem of a dipping curler which beat Moss all ends up en route to the far corner of the net from the edge of Wellington’s penalty area, the home team’s efforts to restore parity in the time remaining being in vain.

Second-placed Western Sydney Wanderers headed up country to Hunter Stadium for the game of the round against Newcastle Jets, where 16,634 fans saw Mark Bridge’s goal just after the half-hour mark settle the contest in the visitors’ favour, 1-0.

Western Sydney’s defensive structure kept Newcastle at arm’s length throughout proceedings, while last season’s beaten Grand Finalists could well have won by a greater margin had Bridge converted the chances afforded him.

Melbourne Victory maintained their play-off prospects despite a display of profligate finishing against Perth Glory at AAMI Park, where 17,008 fans saw the home team prevail 2-0.

Goals nine minutes before half-time from Adama Traore – a cracker from the edge of the penalty area – and Guilherme Finkler in stoppage time proved suffice to secure the points for Kevin Muscat’s charges, but they should have won this by a far greater margin.

Perth were still in the contest until the stoppage time points-sealer, despite the fact they had few scoring opportunities throughout the match. There’s “trouble at mill”, however, with coach Alastair Edwards failing to attend the mandatory post-match media conference as matters came to a head in a dressing room dispute which threatens to significantly reshape the make-up of the Western Australian outfit.

The shock of the round took place at Coopers Stadium, where reigning champions Central Coast Mariners were given their come-uppances in a huge way by Adelaide United, whose second win of the campaign was an emphatic one – 4-0!

The title-holders weren’t without their chances against a side employing a new tactical arrangement, but it was Adelaide who did their talking where it counts, Bruce Djite opening the scoring twenty-five minutes into the match.

Fabio Ferreira doubled their advantage five minutes before the interval when driving a shot through the legs of Liam Reddy, who was horribly embarrassed ten minutes into the second spell when allowing a raking Eugene Galekovic clearance to run out of play.

Sergio Cirio chased the seemingly lost cause and nicked the ball away from the ‘keeper before poking it into an empty net, although replays showed that the sphere had crossed the dead-ball line before Cirio had secured possession.

While Central Coast were hard done by with the third goal, they were afforded no chance in stoppage time, substitute Jeronimo Neumann picking them off on the counter-attack to the undisguised delight of the 7,785 fans present, not to mention coach Josep Gombau, who has copped more than a wee bit of flak in recent times.

The final game of the round saw Sydney FC score twice in the dying minutes of the first half at Allianz Stadium to engineer a 2-1 victory over Melbourne Heart, who could have emerged with a share of the spoils from this encounter had not returning legend Harry Kewell missed the target completely from the penalty spot half-way through the second spell.

Sydney climbed to third place on the table on the back of goals from Alessandro Del Piero – a splendid solo effort – and Ranko Despotovic, but it was goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic who ensured the home team of all three points with a number of vital saves.

He couldn’t keep everything out, however, with Michael Mifsud’s strike eighteen minutes from time setting up a grandstand finish. It wasn’t enough for Melbourne, however, and they remain firmly ensconced at the bottom of the table, and have still to win a game after ten rounds of action.

Prior to next weekend’s eleventh round action, the rescheduled sixth round affair between Central Coast and Wellington takes place at North Sydney Oval on Thursday evening. Twenty-four hours later, Brisbane and Newcastle lock horns at Suncorp Stadium.

The Melbourne derby – Heart enjoy home advantage against Victory at AAMI Park – is the lone Saturday fixture, while on Sunday, Wellington and Sydney draw swords at Westpac Stadium prior to Perth’s clash with Adelaide at NIB Stadium.

The round concludes on Monday night when Western Sydney and Central Coast clash at Pirtek Stadium in what will be the final A-League fixture before Christmas.

Match Details:

Adelaide United FC 4 (B. Djite (25), F. Ferreira (40), S. Cirio (55), J. Neumann (90)) – Central Coast Mariners FC 0; HT 2-0
Melbourne Victory FC 2 (A. Traore (36), G. Finkler (90)) – Perth Glory FC 0; HT 1-0
Newcastle Jets FC 0 – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (M. Bridge (33)); HT 0-1
Sydney FC 2 (A. Del Piero (43), R. Despotovic (45)) – Melbourne Heart FC 1 (M. Mifsud (72)); HT 2-0
Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (C. Hernandez (47 pen)) – Brisbane Roar FC 2 (M. Smith (36), I. Frantic (74)); HT 0-1

League table:
P W D L F A GD Pts
Brisbane Roar 10 8 0 2 19 7 +12 24
Western Sydney Wanderers 10 5 4 1 11 7 +4 19
Sydney FC 10 6 0 4 13 12 +1 18
Melbourne Victory 10 4 3 3 14 10 +4 15
Newcastle Jets 10 4 3 3 11 11 0 15
Central Coast Mariners 9 3 4 2 9 11 -2 13
Perth Glory 10 3 3 4 10 12 -2 12
Adelaide United 10 2 3 5 16 17 -1 9
Wellington Phoenix 9 0 4 5 9 15 -6 4
Melbourne Heart 10 0 4 6 8 18 -10 4

By Jeremy Ruane

National Youth League – Round 8

Melbourne Victory FC 4 (Cristaldo 32′, Miskulin 62′, Nabbout 64′, 90’+3) – Perth Glory FC 1 (O’Neill 72′)
AIS 4 (Dylan Smith 8’, Marc Marino 27’, Marc Ochieng 48’, Lachlan Jackson 70’ (og)) – Brisbane Roar FC 4 (Mitchell Hore 13’, Samad Altundag 23’, 72’, Brandon Borrello 80’)
Adelaide United FC 4 (Milesunic 59, Costa 65, Bladen 70, Konstandopoulos 83) – Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (Kwasnik 11, Fitzgerald 44)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (Lawrence Hanna 77′) – Sydney FC 4 (Corey Gameiro 28′, Anthony Tomelic 64′, Daniel Petkovski 71′, Joshua McDonald 86′)

W-League – Round 5
Newcastle Jets FC 0 – Canberra United FC 3 (Stephanie Ochs 11′, 62′, Michelle Heyman 12′)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3 (Helen Petinos 47+2’, Heather Garriock 61’, Jenna Kingsley 75’) – Perth Glory FC 0
Brisbane Roar FC 0 – Adelaide United FC 1 (Daniela Di Bartolo 75′)
Sydney FC 1 (Emma Kete 33′) – Melbourne Victory FC 1 (Jessica Fishlock 81′)