R2 Review: Perth alone at top after two A-League rounds

Hyundai A-League – Season 10 – 2014/2015

Round 2 Review

by Jeremy Ruane:

with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com

Perth Glory are the only team boasting a perfect records after the opening two rounds of the Hyundai A-League, with reigning champions Brisbane Roar their latest victims after the Western Australian outfit came from behind to win 3-2 at NIB Stadium on 19 October.

A tight affair, watched by 8,789 fans, saw Brisbane break the deadlock six minutes before half-time through Mensur Kurtishi, but an Andy Keogh penalty put Perth back on level terms four minutes into the second spell.

Parity was short-lived, however, for within six minutes, a howitzer from Henrique restored the title-holders’ lead. But with fifteen minutes remaining, James Donachie’s efforts to direct a Keogh shot to safety saw the ball ricochet into the net off the unfortunate defender – his second “oggie” in as many weeks!

A grandstand finish begged for a winner, and Keogh provided it in stoppage time, clinching a come-from-behind victory for Perth over the reigning champions, who prop up the table in company with last season’s runners-up, Western Sydney Wanderers.

They bottled a two-goal lead in going down 3-2 to Sydney FC in front of a venue record 41,213-strong crowd at the Allianz Stadium derby on Saturday evening, a contest which had a little bit of everything to spice it up from go to woe.

Pre-match, Western Sydney’s fans threw flares onto the pitch, and their charges provided plenty of flair on it inside the opening half-hour, with Mark Bridge opening the scoring before Sydney goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic put through his own net to leave his side with a mountain to climb.

But climb it they did, Corey Gameiro’s goal on the stroke of half-time giving them a lifeline which the temperamental Sasa Ognenovski’s equaliser five minutes into the second spell – it was later credited as an own goal, and should really have been ruled out by an offside flag – further built upon.

Cue a red card – always a must-have in a feisty encounter such as this one – and it was administered to Western Sydney’s Vitor Saba twenty minutes from time for a studs-up challenge which felled Terry Antonis.

Ten minutes later, the ten men fell behind, Alex Brosque firing Sydney in front for the first time in the match, prompting a pitch invasion by approximately 100 of “The Cove”’s finest which caused a delay in proceedings.

It served Western Sydney no good, however, and the AFC Champions League finalists head into next weekend’s showdown in that competition showing anything but Champions League-winning form in their domestic competition.

Opening round victors Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory kicked off the round on Friday evening, drawing 1-1 at Coopers Stadium in front of a South Australian record 33,126-strong crowd for a football match.

They had to wait until the last five minutes for the goals to materialise in this tense battle, with Sergio Cirio breaking the deadlock five minutes from time for United before Ben Khalfallah rammed the equaliser into the roof of the home team’s net with a minute left on the clock.

That scoreline was repeated at AAMI Park, where 15,717 fans saw David Villa’s late equaliser earn Melbourne City a point after Newcastle Jets had opened the scoring just after the hour mark through Edson Montano, who broke the deadlock in a contest which had its fair share of goalscoring chances, most of them going the way of the home side.

It wasn’t a good night for the home team at Central Coast Stadium, where Wellington Phoenix came from behind to upset the Mariners 2-1 in front of 7,237 fans, who saw the visitors’ Thomas Doyle put through his own net to open the scoring in the twelfth minute.

This sparked a good spell from the home team, but Wellington fought their way back into the contest, only for Jeremy Brockie to squander the chance to equalise from the penalty spot ten minutes before half-time.

Fortunately for the visitors, former Mariner Michael McGlinchey reacted quickest to his team-mate’s crossbar rattler, ramming home the rebound to provide his new club with the foundation on which they built their win.

Victory was secured eight minutes into the second half, with the game’s first half goalscorers combining with Brockie for Nathan Burns to drive home the goal which ultimately accounted for Central Coast, who piled on the pressure for an equaliser late on in the match, to no avail.

With Western Sydney’s continental commitments this week, just four A-League matches are scheduled. Brisbane and Sydney kick things off at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night, while the Melbourne derby graces Etihad Stadium twenty-four hours later.

On Sunday, Wellington welcome Newcastle to Westpac Stadium, while Adelaide entertain the table-topping Perth team at Coopers Stadium in the final match of the round, with the clash between Western Sydney and Central Coast having rescheduled to a mid-November date.

Match details:

Adelaide United FC 1 (S. Cirio (85)) – Melbourne Victory FC 1 (B. Khalfallah (89)); HT 0-0

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (“oggie” Doyle (12)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 2 (M. McGlinchey (35), N. Burns (53)); HT 1-1

Melbourne City FC 1 (D. Villa (87)) – Newcastle Jets FC 1 (E. Montano (62)); HT 0-0

Perth Glory FC 3 (A. Keogh (49 pen, 90), “oggie” (74)) – Brisbane Roar FC 2 (M. Kurtishi (39), Henrique (55)); HT 0-1

Sydney FC 3 (C. Gameiro (45), “oggie” (50), A. Brosque (79)) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (M. Bridge (19), “oggie” (24)); HT 1-2