R17 Review: Brisbane only winners in draw-laden round

by Jeremy Ruane:

with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com

Review

Reigning Hyundai A-League champions Brisbane Roar were the only victors in the seventeenth round of action on Valentine’s Day weekend, with all the other games in the round ending in draws.

League leaders Perth Glory held Adelaide United to a 1-1 draw as third hosted first at Coopers Stadium, where Pablo Sanchez gave the home team an eleventh minute lead in delightful fashion in a match United dominated.

Sergio Cirio missed an open goal soon afterwards as United pressed, and a string of fine saves by Danny Vukovic ensured they were restricted to just the one goal in this contest.

The 9,711 fans present had to applaud Perth’s 53rd minute equaliser, however – Njebosa Marinkovic’s twenty yard curler was a gem, and earned the leaders another week on the top rung of the ladder, although this is a game they should really have lost.

Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory don’t do run-of-the-mill clashes, and their latest duel on Valentine’s Day was no exception – a 3-3 thriller at Allianz Stadium in which both teams took the lead at various stages of the contest.

From the moment Marc Janko put the home team in front from the penalty spot in the eighth minute, you knew you needed to buckle in your seat-belt and hold on for the ride. Sure enough …

Melbourne turned things round in the ten minutes before half-time, Costa Barbarouses and Guilherme Finkler doing the honours. The scoreline stayed that way until seventeen minutes from time, when referee Strebre Delovski stamped his mark on proceedings by awarding Sydney a penalty for what was the most innocuous of incidents.

The visitors were raging as Shane Smeltz levelled the scores from the spot, but channelled their aggression to regain the lead five minutes later, Nick Ansell leading celebrations which looked to have clinched victory for Melbourne.

Smeltz, however, had other ideas, and five minutes from time he levelled the scores once more, this time from open play, to bring about the final 3-3 scoreline, another breathless encounter between these juggernauts witnessed, on this occasion, by 17,356 fans.

Brisbane kicked off the round by winning 2-0 at Central Coast Mariners in front of 6,021 fans, who saw the visitors squander some gilt-edged first half chances before finally taking the lead from the penalty spot six minutes into the second spell, Jean Carlos Solorzano doing the honours.

He was to depart the fray fifteen minutes from time with a hamstring injury, but his replacement, new signing Andrija Kaluderovic, proved just as adept from twelve yards when clinching the points with a stoppage time penalty at Central Coast Stadium.

Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne City played out a scoreless draw in front of 9,232 fans at the Hutt Recreation Ground, which Wellington is using with their usual home, Westpac Stadium, having been hijacked for a cricket tournament.

The home team certainly had the better of the chances throughout the match – Roy Krishna, in particular, spurned a couple of great openings, but neither goalkeeper, Wellington’s Glen Moss and Melbourne’s Tando Velaphi, was tested too often throughout proceedings, with City falling out of the play-off spots as a result of this draw.

Parity was also in evidence at Hunter Stadium, where the late late show enabled Newcastle Jets to clinch a share of the spoils in their 1-1 draw with Western Sydney Wanderers in their bottom-of-the-table tussle.

The points looked to be heading Wests’ way when Brendon Santalab potted a “Panenka” penalty four minutes from time, but in stoppage time, the home team were also awarded a spot-kick, and Ki Je Lee did the honours from the spot to level the scores with seconds remaining.

Brisbane and Melbourne Victory kick off next weekend’s action at Suncorp Stadium on Friday, while Sydney and Central Coast clash at Allianz Stadium twenty-four hours later, but prior to the clash of Adelaide and Western Sydney at Coopers Stadium.

On Sunday, Wellington and Newcastle meet at the Hutt Rec, while AAMI Park is where Melbourne City and Perth will lock horns in the final fixture of the eighteenth round.

Match details:

Central Coast Mariners FC 0 – Brisbane Roar FC 2 (J. Solórzano (51 pen), A. Kaluderovic (90 pen)); HT 0-0

Newcastle Jets FC 1 (K. Lee (90 pen)) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (B. Santalab (86 pen)); HT 0-0

Sydney FC 3 (M. Janko (8 pen), S. Smeltz (73 pen, 85)) – Melbourne Victory 3 (C. Barbarouses (34), G. Finkler (41), N. Ansell (78)); HT 1-2

Wellington Phoenix FC 0 – Melbourne City FC 0

Adelaide United FC 1 (P. Sanchez (11)) – Perth Glory FC 1 (N. Marinkovic (53)); HT 1-0

Ladder:

P W D L F A GD Pts

Perth Glory 17 10 4 3 30 22 +8 34

Melbourne Victory 17 9 6 2 37 21 +16 33

Adelaide United 17 9 3 5 31 15 +14 30

Wellington Phoenix 17 9 2 6 30 19 +11 29

Sydney FC 17 6 8 3 26 20 +6 26

Brisbane Roar 16 6 3 7 21 22 -1 21

Melbourne City 16 5 5 6 22 28 -6 20

Central Coast Mariners 17 3 6 8 15 29 -14 15

Newcastle Jets 17 1 6 10 14 38 -24 9

Western Sydney Wanderers 15 1 5 9 11 21 -10 8