R3 Review: Three-way tie at top after Perth toppled

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

A-League Season 10 – 2014/2015 – Round 3 Review

Three teams lead the way in the Hyundai A-League after third round action during the last weekend of October, in which the previous outright leaders, Perth Glory, suffered their first defeat of the season.

Adelaide United toppled the table-toppers 2-0 at Coopers Stadium, and did so in convincing fashion. They were all over the visitors like a red rash in the first half-hour, and such was their dominance that Perth should have been grateful that they only trailed by one goal at that point, Sergio Cirio’s eighteenth minute effort separating the sides.

Perth started to come back into the contest after this extended spell of dominance, but it would have been a travesty had they equalised before half-time through Andy Keogh, so superior had Adelaide been throughout the majority of the half.

Normal service, as far as the 11,473-strong crowd was concerned, resumed in the second spell, with Adelaide’s dominance confirmed by a second goal half-way through the half.

Substitute Awer Mabil scored it, and should have another later on – how he contrived to sky the ball over an open goal from three yards only he will know! And how Perth concluded the game with eleven players on the park only referee Kris Griffiths-Jones will know.

Midfielder Jamie MacLaren, in particular, should buy himself a Tatts ticket this week after escaping a red card for an incident which left Isaias writhing in agony late in the piece.

The win allowed Adelaide to leap-frog Perth on the table, and join Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory on seven points. The former eased past title-holders Brisbane Roar 2-0 at Suncorp Stadium to leave the reigning champions without a point to their name after three rounds of action.

Both goals were stunners, with the first, an audacious thirty yard volley from Marc Janko upon receipt of a poor clearance by Brisbane ‘keeper Jamie Young in the 28th minute, guaranteed to be a contender for “Goal of the Season”.

Matt Smith had already cleared off the line from Janko by this point, and the 14,141 fans present were left rubbing their eyes in disbelief nine minutes into the second spell, as the visitors doubled their advantage through Milos Dimitrijevic in devastating fashion, a vicious curling long-range strike which caught Young off his line.

That win left Sydney topping the table on Friday evening, but by the same time on Saturday night they were trailing Melbourne Victory on goal difference, as they came from behind to down Melbourne City 5-2 and claim bragging rights in Victoria’s capital.

A whopping 43,729 settled into their seats at Etihad Stadium for this one, and they weren’t disappointed, with Rob Wielaert heading City in front after just thirteen minutes, to which the Victory responded via Archie Thompson ten minutes later.

Parity lasted a mere four minutes, at which point City regained the lead through Jason Hoffman, who headed them back in front just shy of the half-hour mark. City had chances to extend their lead, but were pegged back on the stroke of half-time by Besart Berisha, who struck his second goal of the game twenty seconds into the second half to give Victory the advantage for the first time in the match.

Back came City, only for Damien Duff to be denied a penalty when he was felled in the area. Patrick Kisnorbo then hit the crossbar – his own one, as it happened, the desire to avert the danger posed by a Costa Barbarouses cross prompting the defender to use any means possible to clear his lines.

A contribution from another City defender, substitute James Brown, was to prove decisive half-way through the second spell, as his foul on Matthieu Delpierre invited Berisha to complete his hat-trick from the penalty spot, a chance the striker did not spurn.

4-2 became 5-2 in the dying minutes as Thompson tucked home his second goal of the game to ensure Melbourne Victory would end the role on top of the pile, ahead of Sydney and Adelaide on goal difference.

A point behind this trio lies Wellington Phoenix, who scored a convincing 4-1 victory in front of 7,802 fans at Westpac Stadium over a Newcastle Jets team which was only prevented from taking the lead inside the first sixty seconds by the width of a post – Joel Griffiths’ diving header ricocheted off the woodwork to safety.

Three minutes later, Wellington were celebrating the first of Nathan Burns’ two goals, the second of which was scored three minutes before half-time to leave the visitors with a mountain to climb in the second spell.

They attempted to scale it, but were left dangling from the cliff-face when Burns set up Michael McGlinchey to make it 3-0 after 64 minutes. Burns himself could have completed his hat-trick a minute from time, but he was thwarted by some stubborn defending, which prompted Newcastle to launch a counter-attack from which Griffiths headed home a consolation goal.

Wellington weren’t best pleased at this development, and before the final whistle restored their three-goal advantage through former Newcastle player Andrew Durante, who headed home an Alex Rodriguez free-kick to the delight of the natives.

Western Sydney Wanderers’ match with Central Coast Mariners was postponed, as is their clash this weekend with Brisbane. Instead, they’ll be in Riyadh, where they take a 1-0 advantage into the second leg of the Asian Champions League final against Al Hilal, thanks to Tomi Juric’s second half goal.

Melbourne City and Adelaide meet at AAMI Park on Friday evening, a match which is likely to be the last of David Villa’s loan spell with City.

Perth and Newcastle meet at NIB Stadium on Saturday evening, while Sydney and Central Coast clash at Allianz Stadium on Sunday before Melbourne Victory and Wellington square off at AAMI Park on Monday, Melbourne Cup eve.

Match details:

Adelaide United FC 2 (S. Cirio (18), A. Mabil (68)), Perth Glory 0; HT 1-0

Brisbane Roar FC 0 – Sydney FC FC 2 (M. Janko (28), M. Dimitrijevic (54)); HT 0-1

Melbourne Victory FC 5 (A. Thompson (23, 87), B. Berisha (45, 46, 67 pen)) – Melbourne City FC 2 (R. Wielaert (13), J. Hoffman (27)); HT 2-2

Wellington Phoenix FC 4 (J. Burns (4, 42), M. McGlinchey (64), A. Durante (90)), Newcastle Jets FC 1 (J. Griffiths (90)); HT 2-0

TABLE
P    W    D    L    F    A    GD    Pts

Melbourne Victory    3    2    1    0    10    5    +6    7

Sydney FC    3    2    1    0    6    3    +3    7

Adelaide United    3    2    1    0    5    2    +3    7

Wellington Phoenix    3    2    0    1    7    4    +3    6

Perth Glory        3    2    0    1    5    5    0    6

Central Coast    *    2    1    0    1    2    2    0    3

Melbourne City        3    0    2    1    4    7    -3    2

Newcastle Jets        3    0    1    2    2    6    -4    1

Brisbane Roar        3    0    0    3    3    7    -4    0

Western Sydney *    2    0    0    2    3    7    -4    0

(* game deferred due to ACL)