R10 Review: Mixed form for Cup Finalists as arch-rivals draw 3-3

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

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

There were contrasting fortunes for the inaugural FFA Cup Finalists during tenth round action in the Hyundai A-League, despite the fact both enjoyed home advantage in their matches on December 12.

League leaders Perth Glory maintained their position atop the pile with a 2-0 win over ten-man Newcastle Jets at NIB Stadium, where 9,233 fans delighted in seeing Richard Garcia open the scoring after eleven minutes, despite a strong hint of offside in the build-up to the goal.

There were no doubts about the clincher, however, Nebojsa Marinkovic slamming home a snorter four minutes from time to punish Newcastle in the best manner possible after Kew Jaliens was shown a straight red card for an over-the-top tackle on Scott Jamieson four minutes prior.

Adelaide United, meanwhile, rested a couple of key players ahead of Tuesday’s Cup Final, and paid the price as reigning champions Brisbane Roar, courtesy another stunning strike from Henrique, downed the home team 1-0 in front of 11,241 fans at Coopers Stadium.

The Brazilian’s eighteenth minute goal was sandwiched by a couple of post-rattlers as Brisbane finally got their act together. Tarek Elrich turned the ball against his own post when under pressure inside the first five minutes, while Dmitri Petrakos thrashed a shot against the woodwork three minutes after Henrique had done the damage.

United spurned chances to level the scores in the later stages of the second spell, their second defeat of the season – and first home defeat in over a year – leaving them five points behind Perth, with both teams eager to be crowned the inaugural winners of the FFA Cup when they meet at Coopers Stadium on Tuesday evening.

In between the pair on the table are Melbourne Victory, who found themselves involved in an absolute humdinger of a duel with Sydney FC at Etihad Stadium, where both sides enjoyed the lead before settling for a thrilling 3-3 draw.

The latest chapter in this great “Big Blue” rivalry was watched by 25,203 fans, and they got their money’s worth in a big way, as Archie Thompson scored a hat-trick for the home team, the first of them coming in the twelfth minute after Vedran Janjetovic had found a Besart Berisha strike too hot to handle.

Sydney levelled five minutes later through Marc Janko, who was played in by the most delightful of flicks from Shane Smeltz. The visitors were denied by the post soon after, much to Alex Brosque’s disappointment, but by the time that happened, Melbourne should have been down to ten men.

Captain Mark Milligan led with the elbow when colliding with Sydney’s Terry Antonis, who was left with a nasty cut after an incident which referee Peter Green did nothing about – expect retrospective action to be determined by the Match Review panel, ‘cause this was not pretty.

Nor, from Sydney’s perspective, was the sight of Thompson restoring Melbourne’s lead on the stroke of half-time, but the visitors had just six minutes of the second half to wait before drawing level again, Smeltz heading home an Alex Gersbach corner.

The scores remained level until fourteen minutes from time, when Kiwi Smeltz turned the Melbourne defence to fire Sydney in front for the first time in the match. But their joy was short-lived, Thompson completing his hat-trick just three minutes later to earn his side a share of the spoils on a night both teams could have claimed all three points in the dying minutes.

Wellington Phoenix spurned enough chances to win three matches at Eden Park, as they came from behind to draw 1-1 with Central Coast Mariners in front of their biggest crowd of the season, albeit a disappointingly small 11,051-strong gathering – near double that figure is targeted when they play in Auckland.

Those who made the effort saw chances aplenty for the home side go begging, before Matt Simon silenced the natives five minutes before half-time, pouncing on the rebound after Glen Moss had parried a Nick Fitzgerald drive.

Wellington piled on the pressure in the second spell, and were rewarded fourteen minutes from time when Roy Krishna – he had missed more than his fair share – finally got the mix right and tucked home the equaliser to secure his side a well deserved point.

The clash between Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne City was postponed due to the home team’s involvement in the FIFA Club World Cup Finals, currently taking place in Morocco. Wanderers’ trip to Brisbane next weekend is postponed for the same reason.

Next weekend’s action kicks off on Friday night, with Newcastle entertaining Adelaide at Hunter Stadium. Saturday evening’s action is dominated by the Melbourne derby at AAMI Park, before Perth take on Central Coast at NIB Stadium. And on Sunday night, Sydney and Wellington square up at Allianz Stadium in what will be the last match prior to the hectic festive season schedule.

Match details:

Adelaide United FC 0 – Brisbane Roar FC 1 (Henrique (18)); HT 0-1

Melbourne Victory FC 3 (A. Thompson (12, 45, 79)) – Sydney FC 3 (M. Janko (17), S. Smeltz (51, 76)); HT 2-1

Perth Glory FC 2 (R. Garcia (11), N. Marinkovic (86)) – Newcastle Jets 0; HT 1-0

Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (R. Krishna (76)) – Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (M. Simon (40)); HT 0-1

P    W    D    L    F    A    GD    Pts

Perth Glory    10    8    1    1    17    10    +7    25

Melbourne Victory    10    6    4    0    24    11    +13    22

Adelaide United    10    6    2    2    15    8    +7    20

Sydney FC    10    4    5    1    15    10    +5    17

Wellington Phoenix    10    5    1    4    19    13    +6    16

Brisbane Roar    10    3    1    6    11    13    -2    10

Melbourne City    9    2    3    4    13    19    -6    9

Central Coast    10    1    4    5    6    14    -8    7

Newcastle Jets    10    0    4    6    8    21    -13    4

Western Sydney    9    0    3    6    6    15    -9    3