R7 Review: Status quo at top as top four all win

by Jeremy Ruane:

with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com

The top four teams in the Hyundai A-League all scored victories on the penultimate weekend in November, meaning Perth Glory maintain their one-point lead over Adelaide United with Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC two points further adrift.

Perth maintained their table-topping perch in front of 9,322 at NIB Stadium, where the ten men overcame Wellington Phoenix 2-1 despite having substitute Ruben Zadkovich sent off for an over-the-top tackle just seventeen seconds after entering the fray.

By that time, Perth were two goals to the good, courtesy Daniel De Silva’s opener – after just 83 seconds – and Andy Keogh’s strike on the hour mark. Nebosja Marinkovic hit the crossbar for the home team, who held on to win despite Roy Krishna’s penalty five minutes from time giving Wellington brief hope of earning parity.

Earlier on Friday evening, Melbourne Victory edged Brisbane Roar 1-0 in front of 23,740 fans at Etihad Stadium, a result which ended the coaching tenure of Mark Mulvey – he was sacked by Brisbane on Sunday afternoon, with former Ipswich Town and Holland midfielder Frans Thijssen being mooted as his replacement.

On a night a flare in the stand caused more problems for the authorities than the flair in evidence on the pitch – two spectators were injured, and an arrest made, the lone goal of this decidedly disappointing spectacle came thirteen minutes from time.

Fahid Ben Khalfallah picked out Besart Berisha with a free-kick which the former Brisbane striker headed goalwards, the ball ricocheting into the net off the unfortunate Jade North.

Twenty-four hours later, in the same city, Sydney FC’s Marc Janko gave his team a tenth minute advantage at AAMI Park over Melbourne City, and hit the post with another header soon afterwards as the visitors got off to a flying start.

The striker also proved a dab hand as a defender in the second spell, clearing one City attack off the line, before taking advantage of some poor Melbourne defending to double Sydney’s lead seven minutes from time.

A late Erik Paartalu goal gave the 9,474 fans hope that the home team could pull the game out of the fire, but Sydney held on for the three points to maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign.

On Sunday night, two goals in as many minutes in the shadows of the half-time whistle from Pablo Sanchez earned Adelaide a 2-0 win over Central Coast Mariners at Central Coast Stadium.

Nick Montgomery’s second half sending-off left the home team with ten men on the park for the final twenty minutes of a match which left the Mariners winless in six games, much to the chagrin of the 6,404-strong crowd in attendance.

Newly crowned AFC Champions League winners Western Sydney Wanderers finally got their A-League campaign off the ground with two draws this week, a scoreless affair against Central Coast Mariners being followed by a 1-1 stalemate with Newcastle Jets.

14,691 fans saw both teams create chances aplenty at Pirtek Stadium on Wednesday evening, while at the same venue three days later, the home team could have been two goals to the good before Tomi Juric volleyed home a twelfth minute opener, to the delight of the 14,136 fans present.

But Marco Flores’ equaliser for Newcastle fifteen minutes later – soon after he had hit the crossbar – prompted a well-contested affair in which Juric rattled the woodwork in the second spell as both teams sought their first win of the campaign, to no avail.

Melbourne Victory and Adelaide kick off the eighth round of action on the final weekend in November when they meet at AAMI Park on Friday evening in what should be a terrific contest.

Twenty-four hours later, the reigning champions entertain the league leaders as Brisbane and Perth lock horns at Suncorp Stadium, a match followed by the Sydney derby at Pirtek Stadium, where Western Sydney and Sydney FC will do battle.

Sunday’s fare sees Wellington and Melbourne City meeting at Westpac Stadium, while Newcastle and Central Coast clash at Hunter Stadium, with the home team targeting their first win of the campaign at the expense of their near-neighbours.

Match details:

(Deferred game) Western Sydney Wanderers FC 0 – Central Coast Mariners FC 0

Central Coast Mariners FC 0 – Adelaide United FC 2 (Pablo Sanchez (40, 42)); HT 0-2

Melbourne City FC 1 (E. Paartalu (88)) – Sydney FC 2 (M. Janko (10, 83)); HT 0-1

Melbourne Victory FC 1 (“oggie” (77)) – Brisbane Roar FC 0; HT 0-0

Perth Glory FC 2 (D. De Silva (2), A. Keogh (60)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (R. Krishna (85)); HT 1-0

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (T. Juric (12)) – Newcastle Jets FC 1 (M. Flores (27)); HT 1-1

Ladder:

P W D L F A GD Pts

Perth Glory FC 7 6 0 1 12 8 +4 18

Adelaide United FC 7 5 2 0 11 4 +7 17

Melbourne Victory FC 7 4 3 0 15 6 +9 15

Sydney FC 7 4 3 0 10 4 +6 15

Wellington Phoenix FC 7 3 0 4 10 10 0 9

Melbourne City FC 7 1 3 3 11 14 -3 6

Central Coast Mariners FC 7 1 2 4 4 9 -5 5

Brisbane Roar FC 6 1 0 5 8 11 -3 3

Newcastle Jets FC 7 0 3 4 6 15 -9 3

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 6 0 2 4 5 11 -6 2