R4 Review: Top Three all win as A-League celebrates success

by Jeremy Ruane

with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com

Hyundai A-League – Season 10 – 2014/2015 – Round 4 Review

The Hyundai A-League had reason to celebrate this weekend as Western Sydney Wanderers, thanks in part to a stunning late save from Ante Covic, eked out a scoreless draw at Al Hilal to prevail 1-0 on aggregate and win the AFC Champions League, just three years after their founding.

It’s a real feather in the cap for the Australian competition, which saw its leading three teams so far this season all record victories this weekend to increase the gap between themselves and the rest of the contenders.

Adelaide United kicked off the weekend’s action by downing Melbourne City 2-1 in front of 13,083 fans at AAMI Park, where former World Cup winner David Villa made his final appearance on loan for the home side before returning to New York City.

Melbourne got off to a flying start, Patrick Kisnorbo heading them in front after nine minutes, prior to which Damien Duff had rattled a post with a powerful volleyed effort which proved too hot for Eugene Galekovic to handle.

United’s ‘keeper then denied Villa a farewell goal before Adelaide levelled things up through Bruce Djite just before half-time. And with ten minutes remaining, having gone close with an audacious chip from half-way during the second spell, Marcelo Carrusa fired home the winner from the penalty spot, following a foul on replacement winger Bruce Kamau by Andrew Redmayne, who was fortunate to escape a red card.

Perth Glory kept pace with the South Australians, coming from behind to down Newcastle Jets 2-1 at NIB Stadium, a contest which the home team dominated throughout the first half of proceedings.

Thanks to some Mark Birighitti saves, however, they had nothing to show for their superiority on the scoreboard, a situation which was starkly highlighted sixteen minutes from time when Jeronimo Neumann fired the visitors in front.

That goal silenced the natives, but they were soon cheering again, with substitute Jamie MacLaren turning the game around inside the next five minutes, scoring twice to secure the points for Perth.

On Sunday, 17,761 fans saw Sydney FC see off Central Coast Mariners 2-0 at Allianz Stadium, where the scoring was topped and tailed in a five-minute spell half-way through the first half.

Terry Antonis unleashed a scorcher to break the deadlock in the 21st minute, while Saso Ognenovski also had reason to lead the celebrations five minutes later in at times tempestuous affair which also featured a penalty save late on by Vedran Janjetovic to deny Mitchell Duke a consolation goal for the visitors.

The pre-Melbourne Cup match at AAMI Park saw an under-strength Melbourne Victory team overcome Wellington Phoenix 2-0 to return to the top of the table on goal difference, much to the delight of the 23,827 fans present – they created a terrific atmosphere too, it must be said.

Guilherme Finkler opened the scoring half-way through the first half with a fine free-kick, while half-way through the second spell, Connor Pain, with his first touch after coming on as a substitute, sealed the deal in a lively encounter, but one blessed with few goalscoring opportunities.

Next week’s action kicks off in New Zealand’s capital on Friday evening, with Wellington welcoming bottom-placed Western Sydney to Westpac Stadium. Later that night, Adelaide and Sydney clash at Coopers Stadium, while on Sunday, Central Coast Stadium plays host to the Mariners’ clash with Perth.

In between those matches, both Melbourne teams face road trips on Saturday. Victory head to Hunter Stadium to take on Newcastle, while Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium is City’s destination.

Match details:

Melbourne City FC 1 (P. Kisnorbo (9)) – Adelaide United FC 2 (B. Djite (38), M. Carrusca (80 pen)); HT 1-1

Melbourne Victory FC 2 (G. Finkler (24), C. Pain (68)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 0; HT 1-0

Perth Glory FC 2 (J. MacLaren (77, 79)) – Newcastle Jets FC 1 (J. Neumann (74)); HT 0-0

Sydney FC 2 (T. Antonis (21), S. Ognenovski (26)) – Central Coast Mariners FC 0; HT 2-0

Western Sydney Wanderers v. Brisbane Roar, postponed due to ACL

Table (after round 4, with deferred games)

P W D L F A GD Pts

Melbourne Victory 4 3 1 0 12 4 +8 10

Sydney FC 4 3 1 0 8 3 +5 10

Adelaide United 4 3 1 0 7 3 +4 10

Perth Glory 4 3 0 1 7 6 +1 9

Wellington Phoenix 4 2 0 2 7 6 +1 6

Central Coast 3 1 0 2 2 4 -2 3

Melbourne City 4 0 2 2 5 9 -4 2

Newcastle Jets 4 0 1 3 3 8 -5 1

Brisbane Roar 3 0 0 3 3 7 -4 0

Western Sydney 2 0 0 2 3 7 -4 0

By Jeremy Ruane