R1 Review: Champs downed as Victory make a statement

by Jeremy Ruane:

with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com

Hyundai A-League, Season 10 – 2014/2015

Round 1 review

Reigning Hyundai A-League champions Brisbane Roar got off to the worst possible start to their pursuit of back-to-back titles on 12 October, with Adelaide United conquering them 2-1 at Suncorp Stadium in front of 16,195 fans.

After surviving a couple of early scares, Brisbane opened the scoring through Thomas Broich’s twentieth minute free-kick, but Bruce Djite cancelled that out with a scorching twenty yarder thirteen minutes later.

When James Donachie put through his own net eleven minutes into the second spell, it left Brisbane facing an uphill struggle, a task which became Everest-like eighteen minutes from time when Matt McKay incurred the wrath of referee Ben Williams, who dished out a straight red card for dissent as the midfielder disputed a non-decision.

That left Adelaide on the verge of a victory which was confirmed twenty minutes later, but only after Henrique had gone close to levelling the scores in stoppage time for the ten men.

Anyone who had any concerns that the tenth season of the Hyundai A-League would get off to a quiet start had those thoughts quickly quelled on the opening night of the new season, as Melbourne Victory mauled AFC Champions League finalists Western Sydney Wanderers 4-1 in front of 30,083 fans at Etihad Stadium.

The home team hit the ground running against last season’s runners-up, storming to a three-goal lead inside the opening half-hour en route to inflicting Western Sydney’s heaviest ever defeat upon the visiting team.

Matthieu Delpierre struck a technically superb volley following an eighth minute free-kick to open the scoring, and after the visitors had been denied a stonewall penalty at one end, Melbourne were awarded one virtually straight away at the other, allowing Besart Berisha to open his account for his new club in typically emphatic fashion.

Leigh Broxham made it three just before the half-hour, a goal which owed much to some brilliant close control in the penalty area from All White Costa Barbarouses. Western Sydney pulled one back just before half-time through Mark Bridge, but once the evergreen Archie Thompson restored Melbourne’s three-goal advantage into the second spell, there was no doubt where the three points would be heading.

The F3 derby was the second cab off the rank in the opening round of action, and Central Coast Mariners once again edged Newcastle Jets at Central Coast Stadium, although the 1-0 scoreline flattered the victorious home team.

Mitchell Duke’s last gasp winner settled the contest in which Central Coast had played second fiddle to their local rivals for long periods. Edson Montano had a goal disallowed by the offside flag, while Irish recruit Jonny Steele spurned a glorious chance just before the hour, his chip of the stranded Liam Reddy landing on the roof of the net.

Central Coast’s chances were restricted to just one of note, Malik Mane having an effort cleared off the line by Sam Gallagher in a match from which the visitors deserved at least a point for their efforts.

Later on Saturday, Melbourne City, formerly Melbourne Heart, made their A-League debut under their new moniker, and a “traditional” Sydney FC greeting was afforded them by the members of “The Cove” at Allianz Stadium.

Within five minutes, the visitors had hit the crossbar through James Brown, while Mate Dugandzic squandered a glorious chance fifteen minutes later as Sydney’s defence produced a performance which suggested they’d only met for the first time in the dressing room pre-match!

Melbourne introduced surprise substitute David Villa – many had expected the Spanish international to start – early in the second spell, to which Sydney responded by taking the lead through Corey Gameiro, a gem of a finish which delighted the bulk of the 25, 525 present.

They were treated to some genuine quality fifteen minutes after Villa’s introduction to the fray, the newcomer producing a classy finish to level the scores in a match which Sydney came within inches of winning in stoppage time, Terry Antonis thundering a shot against the crossbar in this 1-1 affair.

Perth Glory got their campaign off to a winning start when downing Wellington Phoenix 2-1 in front of 7,767 fans at Westpac Stadium, where both teams enjoyed chances to break the deadlock before Andy Keogh’s glancing header guided the visitors in front just after the half-hour mark.

A ding-dong battle ensued, with Wellington’s persistence deservedly meriting the equaliser Michael McGlinchey steered home seventeen minutes from time. But there was a twist in the tale, Perth substitute Jamie MacLaren delighting the visiting supporters in the stand with an unerring shot on the run four minutes from time.

Next Friday evening, opening round winners Adelaide and Melbourne Victory go head-to-head, while on Saturday Central Coast take on Wellington at Central Coast Stadium before the Sydney derby takes place at Allianz Stadium, with FC and Western drawing swords.

Sunday’s fare sees the first home game of Melbourne City. AAMI Park will be the venue for the visit of Newcastle, while Brisbane make the journey west to Perth’s NIB Stadium home.

Match details:

Melbourne Victory FC 4 (M. Delpierre (8), B. Berisha (19 pen), L. Broxham (28), A. Thompson (54)) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (M. Bridge (42)); HT 3-1

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (M. Duke (90)) – Newcastle Jets FC 0; HT 0-0

Sydney FC 1 (C. Gameiro (54)) – Melbourne City FC 1 (D. Villa (63)); HT 0-0

Brisbane Roar FC 1 (T. Broich (20)) – Adelaide United FC 2 (B. Djite (33), “oggie” (56)); HT 1-1

Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (M. McGlinchey (73)) – Perth Glory FC 2 (A. Keogh (32), J. MacLaren (86)); HT 0-1