R2 Review: Brisbane alone at top after two rounds

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

Review of Round 2 Hyundai A-League

Brisbane Roar are the only team boasting a perfect two-from-two record after the opening couple of rounds in the Hyundai A-League, following their 2-1 defeat of Central Coast Mariners at Suncorp Stadium on the penultimate weekend in October.

Brandon Borrello struck both goals for the outright leaders, his second coming on the hour after he opened the scoring on the quarter hour with a snorter! Josh Bingham pulled one back for the visitors late on, but the 14,471 fans in attendance had long been celebrating another Brisbane win before that goal halved their winning margin.

Adelaide United began the round by drawing their second consecutive home game of the campaign, Western Sydney Wanderers returning home from Coopers Stadium with a point from a 1-1 draw.

The home team didn’t even have to score themselves to earn it! Andreu Guerao put through his own net halfway through the first half, much to the delight of the 9,442-strong crowd, but balanced the ledger seven minutes from time to keep his employers happy.

Before Andreu struck at the right end, Adelaide came close to doubling their lead via Craig Goodwin, whose shot crashed against the crossbar fifteen minutes from time, the closest of a number of chances which went begging in this well contested affair.

Saturday night was derby night in New South Wales and Victoria. 12,173 fans piled into Hunter Stadium to see Alex Brosque’s dramatic late headed winner earn Sydney FC the chocolates as they edged Newcastle Jets 1-0.

Brosque hit the woodwork prior to his 89th minute strike, while he and his team-mates would have won by more had Newcastle ‘keeper Mark Birighitti not been in fine form, at least until he had to leave the fray fourteen minutes from time after copping Shane Smeltz’s boot in his face, an event which has left Birighitti requiring dental surgery.

It wasn’t the only incident which left Newcastle fuming. Jason Hoffman was denied a goal by the offside trap, while an untimely challenge forced Labinot Haliti’s premature departure with a knee injury on a day Sydney set a new A-League record – this was their sixteenth successive game on the road without defeat.

Down the road at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne Victory earned the early season bragging rights in Australia’s sporting capital as they edged Melbourne City 3-2 in a thriller watched by 40,217 fans.

Goals from Fahid Ben Khalfallah, half-way through the first half, and just shy of the hour mark from Costa Barbarouses, and Victory well on course to clinch victory heading into the final twenty minutes of the match.

City had other ideas, however, and two goals in as many minutes from Bruno Fornaroli and Stefan Mauk – the latter the beneficiary of a superb Aaron Mooy free-kick – set up a grandstand finale. Besart Berisha duly provided it, his stoppage time winner earning three points for the reigning champions at the expense of their cross-town rivals.

The derby theme extended to Sunday, with Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix meeting at NIB Stadium for The Long Distance Derby Cup, an honour which recognises the over 5,000 kilometres between the A-League’s two most far-flung clubs.

Wellington gained the upper hand in the first encounter with the new silverware on the line, coming from behind to prevail 2-1 after Gyorgy Sandor struck a seventh minute volley.

The visitors equalised through Roy Krishna two minutes later, and after Ben Sigmund was denied a goal by the offside flag after Thomas Doyle had directed a header against the post, Vince Lia proved to be Wellington’s unlikely hero, his last-minute, deftly steering the ball home to the dismay of the 9,135-strong crowd.

Newcastle and Melbourne Victory kick off third round action when they meet at Hunter Stadium on Friday evening, twenty-four hours before the leaders travel across the Tasman, Wellington’s Westpac Stadium Brisbane’s destination.

Sydney bragging rights go on the line later that evening as Wanderers visit Allianz Stadium, while on Sunday, Melbourne City welcome Central Coast to AAMI Park before NIB Stadium hosts the clash of Perth and Adelaide.

Details

Adelaide United FC 1 (“oggie” (21)) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (A. Guerau (83)); HT 1-0

Brisbane Roar FC 2 (B. Borrello (14, 60)) – Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (J. Bingham (88)); HT 1-0

Melbourne Victory FC 3 (F. Khalfallah (23), C. Barbarouses (57), B. Berisha (90)) – Melbourne City  FC 2 (B. Fornaroli (69), S. Mauk (71)); HT 1-0

Newcastle Jets FC 0 – Sydney FC 1 (A. Brosque (89)); HT 0-0

Perth Glory FC 1 (G. Sandor (7)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 2 (R. Krishna (9), V. Lia (88)); HT 1-1

League points table

P    W    D    L    F    A    GD    Pts

Brisbane Roar        2    2    0    0    5    2    +3    6

Melbourne Victory    2    1    1    0    4    3    +1    4

Sydney FC        2    1    1    0    2    1    +1    4

Central Coast Mariners    2    1    0    1    4    4    0    3

Wellington Phoenix    2    1    0    1    3    3    0    3

Newcastle Jets        2    1    0    1    2    2    0    3

Adelaide United    2    0    2    0    1    1    0    2

Melbourne City        2    0    1    1    3    4    -1    1

Western Sydney    2    0    1    1    2    4    -2    1

Perth Glory        2    0    0    2    3    5    -2    0