R18: Advantage Brisbane after top four tussles

by Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com

Hyundai A-League – Season 2013/2014 – Round 18 Review

Brisbane Roar cemented their advantage in the race to take out the premiership phase of the Hyundai A-League after clashes between the top four teams in the second weekend of February, which also saw a new contender appearing in the play-off spots for the first time this season.

A late equaliser from Western Sydney Wanderers’ Labinot Haliti prevented Brisbane from opening up a nine-point advantage at the top of the Hyundai A-League on 7 February, although the leaders still have a game in hand on their closest rivals.

The home team were the better side throughout this close-fought contest at Pirtek Stadium, but found themselves trailing after just fourteen minutes when Besart Berisha struck his eighth goal of the campaign to silence the natives among the 16,401-strong crowd.

Brendan Santalab hit the post for Wests as last season’s premiership winners forged their way back into the contest, their efforts being rewarded six minutes from time when Haliti swooped on the far post to earn a share of the spoils for a team which, in truth, deserved all three points from this match.

Melbourne Victory scored a much-needed come-from-behind 3-1 victory over title-holders Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium to draw level with the vanquished side on the table, although the champions have a game in hand.

They also had the lead in the eleventh minute, Bernie Ibini-Isei delighting the 9,138 fans present with his first goal since his return to the club. Bu Melbourne weren’t to be denied on this occasion, and after squandering several chances, drew level on the stroke of half-time through James Troisi, who turned home the rebound after Guilherme Finkler’s free-kick hit the woodwork.

Archie Thompson fired the visitors in front five minutes into the second spell, but Central Coast should have had the chance to draw level from the penalty spot two minutes later – referee Matthew Gillett in determining that Pablo Contreras fouled Mile Sterjovski outside the area.

Ten minutes after being denied the chance to draw level, Central Coast fell further behind when Troisi tucked home his second of the night to return him to the top of the Golden Boot charts – this was his ninth of the season – and ensure a return to winning ways for Melbourne, who had collected three points just once in the six games prior to this match.

That result eased the pressure on coach Kevin Muscat, but his counterpart at Sydney FC, Frank Farina, is well and truly under the microscope again after watching his charges slump to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Adelaide United at Allianz Stadium, their tenth loss of the campaign.

Before the kick-off, “The Cove”, Sydney’s most notorious supporters, made their feelings known by unfurling a sizable banner reading “We Want Farina Gone”. Later, another supporter threw a drink over the under-fire coach, who oversaw Sydney’s third successive home defeat.

Adelaide leap-frogged Sydney on the table with this win, which was founded on goals inside the opening half-hour from Bruce Djite and Fabio Ferreira, their efforts sandwiching a post-rattler from Marcelo Carrusca.

Jeronimo Neumann made the points safe ten minutes from time in a match in which Sydney had their chances – Alessandro Del Piero in particular. But the behaviour of their fans, who continued their protests outside the ground during the match, was the major talking point following a match which saw the home team drop out of the play-off spots once more.

The beneficiaries of their demise on this occasion are Wellington Phoenix, who’ve moved into the top six for the first time this season on the back of a thrilling 3-2 win at Newcastle Jets, where 10,406 fans witnessed five splendid goals at Hunter Stadium.

Carlos Hernandez feinted his way past two defenders before rifling home a twentieth minute twenty-yarder past an unsighted Mark Birighitti to put the visitors in front, but within five minutes, Newcastle levelled through Craig Goodwin – an unstoppable shot on the run which had ‘goal’ written all over it from the moment the ball left his boot!

Unperturbed, Wellington retorted eight minutes later, Stein Huysegems outfoxing the defence cleverly to restore his team’s advantage, one they maintained until 47 seconds into the second spell, when Goodwin struck again, this time with some outstanding individual play which saw him beat two defenders through sleight of foot, and two more with a shot which swerved round Glen Moss and into the far corner of the net.

The winning goal came nineteen minutes from time, and again, individual brilliance was its hallmark. Substitute Jason Hicks received a pass from Hernandez, jinked inside one defender and outside another before curling a gem of a shot into the bottom corner of the net to give Wellington a 3-2 win, their sixth triumph in the last eight games.

Lavington Sports Ground in the New South Wales outpost of Albury became the latest venue for Hyundai A-League action on Sunday, the prevailing heat forcing a two-hour delay to the kick-off of Melbourne Heart’s clash with Perth Glory.

It also contributed to a sluggish first half in which neither side rarely threatened, but five minutes after the break Patrick Kisnorbo headed Melbourne in front from an Iain Ramsay corner.

Seventeen minutes from time, another set-piece brought about Perth’s equaliser, Steven McGarry doing the honours, but with eight minutes remaining, David Williams struck Melbourne’s winner for the second successive week, the bottom-placed side prevailing 2-1 in stifling conditions to close to within five points of Newcastle.

Adelaide and Central Coast get the nineteenth round of action under way at Coopers Stadium on Friday night, twenty-four hours before Sydney and Perth clash at Allianz Stadium.

Sunday’s two games, which wrap up the round – Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney have already played their match – sees Wellington welcoming Melbourne Heart to Westpac Stadium before Brisbane seek success at Suncorp Stadium against Newcastle.

Match details:

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (B. Ibini-Isei (11)) – Melbourne Victory FC 3 (J. Troisi (45, 62), A. Thompson (50)) HT 1-1
Melbourne Heart 2 (P. Kisnorbo (50), D. Williams (82)), Perth Glory 1 (S. McGarry (73)) HT 0-0
Newcastle Jets 2 (C. Goodwin (25, 46)), Wellington Phoenix 3 (C. Hernandez (20), S. Huysegems (33), J. Hicks (71)) HT 1-2
Sydney FC 0, Adelaide United 3 (B. Djite (16), F. Ferreira (27), J. Neumann (80)) HT 0-2
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (L. Haliti (84)), Brisbane Roar 1 (B. Berisha (14)) HT 0-1

Ladder:
P W D L F A GD Pts
Brisbane Roar 18 12 2 4 33 16 +17 38
Western Sydney Wanderers 19 8 7 4 23 19 +4 31
Central Coast Mariners 18 7 6 5 19 20 -1 27
Melbourne Victory 19 7 6 6 26 29 -3 27
Adelaide United 18 6 6 6 28 24 +4 24
Wellington Phoenix 18 6 5 7 26 23 +3 23
——————
Sydney FC 18 7 1 10 23 27 -4 22
Perth Glory 18 5 6 7 18 20 -2 21
Newcastle Jets 18 5 5 8 19 25 -6 20
Melbourne Heart 18 3 6 9 18 30 -12 15

By Jeremy Ruane

National Youth League – Round 15

Congratulations to Sydney FC who have won the Premiership with 3 rounds to spare.

Sydney FC 2 (Terry Antonis 9′, Mitch Mallia 21′) – Brisbane Roar FC 1 (Samuel Sibatuara 57′)
Melbourne Victory FC 5 (Cristaldo 20′,33′,40′, Makarounas 50′,90+2′) – Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (Bingham 11′, 31’pen)
Newcastle Jets FC 4 (Pavicevic 54′, 80′, Bradbery 57′, Cowburn 87′) – Adelaide United FC 1 (Costa 9′, Mileusnic 61′)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3 (Fofanah 7′, Cindric 34′, Perkatis 70′) -Australian Institute of Sport 0
Melbourne Heart FC 5 (Kaya 6′, Espindola 19′ 59′, Dao 43′, O’Dea 55′) – Perth Glory FC 1 (Edwards 28′)

Womens National League – Round 12 (end of regular league)

Congratulations to Canberra United FC edged a tense 2-1 win over Sydney FC to finish as season 6 Premiers in a thrilling conclusion to the Westfield W-League regular season – setting up the Finals Series with Sydney, Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar.

Well done to Newcastle Jets FC who grabbed a lasp gasp goal to record a single point for the season, eclipsing their opponent Adelaide’s former wooden spoon crown of no points in a season.

Newcastle Jets FC 2 (Hannah Beard 32, Gema Simon 91) – Adelaide United FC 2 (Kristy Moore 10, 28)
Perth Glory FC 2 (Kate Gill 48′, 84′) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (Emily Van Egmond 15′)
Brisbane Roar FC 1 (Katrina Gorry 41) – Melbourne Victory FC 0
Sydney FC 1 (Sam Kerr 24) – Canberra United FC 2 (Caitlin Munoz 13’pen, Stephanie Ochs 60)