R16 Review: Lead reduced to a point as cellar dwellers win at last

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

Review

Key results at both ends of the Hyundai A-League table in the Waitangi weekend round of action saw leaders Perth Glory suffer a shock reversal at the hands of Sydney FC, which saw their lead reduced to a point, while Western Sydney Wanderers finally scored their first win of the season at the fourteenth attempt.

The shock of the round came at NIB Stadium, where ten-man Perth were upstaged 3-1 by nine-man Sydney, a result which saw the table-toppers’ advantage reduced to a solitary point.

Sydney opened the scoring on the half-hour through Marc Janko’s penalty, but four minutes later both teams were reduced to ten men after Perth’s Dino Djulbic and Sydney’s Jacques Faty indulged in a bit of silly stuff which referee Kris Griffiths-Jones deemed worthy of a straight red card.

He issued a third red card later in the game after Nikola Petkovic had committed his second bookable offence, two minutes after the visitors had doubled their lead through Milos Dimitrijevic’s 69th minute penalty.

The nine men’s resistance lasted two minutes, Denis Kramar’s strike bringing Perth right back into the contest and setting up a grandstand finish as they pursued an equaliser and a potential winner.

But they failed in their quest, and ended up suffering a last-minute sucker-punch as Bernie Ibini-Isei caught Michael Thwaite in possession and struck on the counter-attack at the death to clinch Sydney’s 3-1 win.

The Melbourne derby was a largely one-sided affair, with Victory trouncing City 3-0 at Etihad Stadium in front of 40,042 fans, who saw Besart Berisha open the scoring for the title-chasers just ten minutes into the contest.

The game was played under a closed roof, which meant the playing conditions weren’t ideal for either side, but second half goals in a nine-minute spell around the hour mark from Costa Barbarouses – he also had a hand in the other two strikes – and Fahid Ben Khalfallah wrapped up a comprehensive victory for the home team, whose fans will enjoy bragging rights for quite some time following this display.

Adelaide United began the round in second place, and looked on course to hold that position after Awer Mabil gave them the lead on the half-hour at Central Coast Stadium, in front of just 4,508 fans.

But Central Coast Mariners turned on the late late show to delight the natives, Nick Fitzgerald firing home the rebound after his penalty had been saved by Eugene Galekovic eleven minutes from time, with Joshua Rose rattling home the winner four minutes later as the home team came from behind to prevail 2-1 – a welcome victory which revives their play-off hopes.

It came twenty-four hours after Brisbane Roar had prevailed by the same scoreline at Newcastle Jets, who were denied the opening goal just two minutes into the clash at Hunter Stadium when Edson Montano’s header crashed against the crossbar.

The home team have endured upheavals aplenty in recent times, with players being sacked and doubts being raised about their ownership yet again, but they had the better of this encounter until Jean Carlos Solorzano gave Brisbane the lead ten minutes before half-time.

Despite that blow, Newcastle continued to make all the running, and were rewarded when substitute Radovan Pavicevic struck a deserved equaliser eighteen minutes from time.

But the hopes the 6,944 fans present held for the home team earning a share of the spoils were dashed in stoppage time, when Allan Welsh inadvertently turned Thomas Broich’s corner into his own net to gift Brisbane all three points and leave Newcastle wondering what might have been.

On Sunday, 12,663 fans piled into Penrith’s Sportingbet Stadium to see Western Sydney finally record their first win of the season. Their 2-0 triumph came at Wellington Phoenix’s expense, the visitors falling behind to a Nikita Rukavytsya goal in the eighteenth minute before bombarding their hosts’ goal in search of an equaliser, only to cop a stoppage time sucker punch from Brendan Santalab.

Next week’s round kicks off with a key clash between Central Coast and Brisbane on Friday at Central Coast Stadium, with both teams requiring the points for their respective play-offs charges.

It’s another triple trio on Saturday, kicking off with the clash of Wellington and Melbourne City at the Hutt Recreational Ground, with Westpac Stadium out of action due to the Cricket World Cup.

Newcastle and Western Sydney meet in the battle of the cellar-dwellers at Hunter Stadium, while Sydney’s clash with Melbourne Victory at Allianz Stadium wraps up a lively Saturday evening. On Sunday night, Adelaide and Perth will want to bounce back to winning ways when they meet at Coopers Stadium – that, too, should be a doozie!

Match details:

Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (N. Fitzgerald (79), J. Rose (83)) – Adelaide United FC 1 (A. Mabil (29)); HT 0-1

Melbourne Victory FC 3 (B. Berisha (10), C. Barbarouses (53), B. Khalfallah (62)) – Melbourne City FC 0; HT 1-0

Newcastle Jets FC 1 (R. Pavicevic (72)) – Brisbane Roar FC 2 (J. Solórzano (35), “oggie” (90)); HT 0-1

Perth Glory FC 1 (D. Kramer (73)) – Sydney FC 3 (M. Janko (30 pen), M. Dimitrijevic (69 pen), B. Ibini-Isei (89)); 0-1

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (N. Rukavytsya (18), B. Santalab (90)) – Wellington Phoenix FC ;0 HT 1-0

Ladder:

P    W    D    L    F    A    GD    Pts

Perth Glory    16    10    3    3    29    21    +8    33

Adelaide United    16    9    2    5    30    14    +14    29

Melbourne Victory    16    9    5    2    34    18    +16    32

Wellington Phoenix    16    9    1    6    30    19    +11    28

Sydney FC    16    6    7    3    23    17    +6    25

Melbourne City    15    5    4    6    22    28    -6    19

Brisbane Roar    15    5    3    7    19    22    -3    18

Central Coast    16    3    6    7    15    27    -12    15

Newcastle Jets    16    1    5    10    13    37    -24    8

Western Sydney    14    1    4    9    10    20    -10    7