R15 Review: Split round lit up by Twenty-Seven goals
by Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com
A record twenty-seven goals scored in a single round of Hyundai A-League action was one of the highlights of a split fifteenth round in the competition, which saw Perth Glory retain their four-point lead after reigning champions Brisbane Roar overcame second-placed Wellington Phoenix.
Leaders Perth scored twice in the last twelve minutes to salvage a 3-3 draw at NIB Stadium against a Melbourne Victory team which stunned the 12,271-strong crowd courtesy Fahid Ben Khalfallah’s eighteenth minute thunderbolt.
Andy Keogh restored parity from the penalty spot four minutes later in a match which saw the clans gather on a couple of occasions. One of them was to show for concern for Chris Harold, who went down with suspected ankle ligament damage on the half-hour and was carried from the field, not to return.
It was the visitors who went to the dressing rooms in a happy mood at half-time after Besart Berisha restored their advantage just prior to it, and when Costa Barbarouses made it 3-1 twelve minutes after the resumption, all three points looked like they were heading east.
But the league leaders have character aplenty about them this season, and Rostyn Griffiths’ goal twelve minutes from time gave them hope. Cue local delight when Jamie MacLaren levelled the scores in stoppage time, salvaging a point and denying Melbourne the chance to close to within a point of their hosts on the table.
Adelaide United made no race of the opening match of the round, romping to a resounding 7-0 rout of a Newcastle Jets side which looked and played as if it was still on holiday.
From the moment Bruce Djite struck the second minute opener, the visitors weren’t in the match, and the 10,960 fans present – it’s unknown if this figure includes the Newcastle players – looked on with glee as the title-chasers put their hapless rivals to the sword.
Marcelo Carrusca grabbed a five-minute brace before the half-hour mark – his second was a twice-taken penalty – while Nigel Boogaard also got in on the act before the half-time whistle.
Djite’s second goal of the game, nine minutes into the second half, maintained the pressure, as did Sergio Cirio’s penalty twenty minutes from time. While Isaias added the cherry to the cake with a sumptuous seventh in stoppage time, curling the ball home from twenty-five yards to ensure United equalled the record for the biggest victory in Hyundai A-League history.
Later that evening, Sydney FC joined in the goalscoring fun by battering Central Coast Mariners 5-1 in Gosford, where 12,102 fans saw Marc Janko and Christopher Naumoff score for the visitors in a two-minute burst just after the quarter hour mark.
Bernie Ibini-Isei left the home team with a mountain to climb on the stroke of half-time, and when Janko made it 4-0 three minutes into the second spell, the game was up for Central Coast.
Debutant substitute Travis Major netted a consolation goal for the home team half-way through the second spell, but Alex Brosque restored Sydney’s four-goal winning margin with eighteen minutes remaining to confirm their first win in eight games and give their flagging campaign a very welcome boost.
A week later, and a night after the Socceroos created history by winning the Asian Cup, Melbourne City came from behind to down Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1 in front of 7,561 fans at AAMI Park.
The visitors, who have still to win this season, took the lead after just five minutes via debutant Yojiro Takahagi’s free-kick, but could not resist a Melbourne side inspired by former Wanderer Aaron Mooy.
It was his cross which invited Jacob Melling to head home the equaliser in the 24th minute, and Mooy himself delivered the coup de grace seventeen minutes from time, a swerving effort struck from inside the ‘D’ to leave City well on course for the play-offs.
The final match in a goal-laden round never looked like being a five-goal thriller at its half-way point, with Brisbane and Wellington heading to the Suncorp Stadium dressing rooms without having forced a save worthy of the name from Glen Moss and Michael Theo.
All that changed in the second spell, however, with the reigning champions coming from behind to prevail 3-2 in front of 9,263 fans, who saw Roy Krishna break the deadlock for the visitors five minutes into the second half.
Brisbane levelled via a James Donachie header from a pinpoint Thomas Broich corner, and the playmaker was again the provider as Brandon Borrello fired Brisbane in front fourteen minutes before half-time.
An absolute howler by Theo gifted Wellington their equaliser nine minutes from time, the goalkeeper’s clearance cannoning off fast-closing substitute Kenny Cunningham straight into the net to level the scores once more.
But Brisbane weren’t to be denied, and revived their play-off hopes in stoppage time when Jean Carlos Solorzano volleyed home Jerome Polenz’s cross to clinch victory by the odd goal in five for the home team, and bring to an end Wellington’s seven-match unbeaten run.
The next round of action kicks off on Friday, with Newcastle entertaining Brisbane at Hunter Stadium, prior to another three-match feast on Saturday evening, with Central Coast and Adelaide kicking things off at Central Coast Stadium.
The Melbourne derby at Etihad Stadium is next in line, while Perth and Sydney meet at NIB Stadium to wrap up the triple treat, the round concluding with the clash of Western Sydney and Wellington at Penrith’s Sportingbet Stadium.
Adelaide United FC 7 (B. Djite (2, 54), M. Carrusca (23, 28 pen), N. Boogaard (35), S. Cirio (70 pen), Isaias (90)) – Newcastle Jets FC 0; HT 4-0
Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (T. Major (66)) – Sydney FC 5 (M. Janko (16, 48), C. Naumoff (18), B. Ibini-Isei (44), A. Brosque (72)); HT 0-3
Perth Glory FC 3 (A. Keogh (22 pen), R. Griffiths (78), J. MacLaren (90)) – Melbourne Victory FC 3 (F. Khalfallah (18), B. Berisha (42), C. Barbarouses (57)); HT 1-2
Melbourne City FC 2 (J. Melling (24), A. Mooy (73)) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (Y. Takahagi (5)); HT 1-1
Brisbane Roar FC 3 (J. Donachie (60), B. Borrello (76), J. Solórzano (90)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 2 (R. Krishna (50), K. Cunningham (81)); HT 0-0
P W D L F A GD Pts
Perth Glory 15 10 3 2 28 18 +10 33
Adelaide United 15 9 2 4 29 14 +15 29
Melbourne Victory 15 8 5 2 31 18 +13 29
Wellington Phoenix 15 9 1 5 40 17 +13 28
Sydney FC 15 5 7 3 20 16 +4 22
Melbourne City 14 5 4 5 22 25 -3 19
Brisbane Roar 14 4 3 7 17 21 -4 15
Central Coast 15 2 6 7 13 26 -13 12
Newcastle Jets 15 1 5 9 12 35 -23 8
Western Sydney 13 0 4 9 8 20 -12 4