Round 15 Review: Four points cover top five after leading duo beaten

by Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of

HAL Review

The top three teams in the Hyundai A-League all lost ground in the race for the title in fifteenth round action in the middle weekend of January, with the top two teams both being beaten, the leaders quite convincingly.

Reigning champions Melbourne Victory handed table-toppers Brisbane Roar an emphatic 4-0 hiding in front of 23, 207 fans at AAMI Park, where the game was all over inside the opening half-hour, thanks largely to defensive blunders by the visitors.

Fahid Ben Khalfallah took full advantage of the first of them to give Melbourne the lead in the fifth minute, and when Costa Barbarouses doubled their advantage six minutes later, again with the help of Brisbane’s rearguard, the writing was on the wall.

The Kiwi bagged his second and the home team’s third on the half-hour, crowning a splendid move with a headed finish, while Besart Berisha, who was later denied by a fine Jamie Young save, crowned the champions’ rampant display with a fourth goal early in the second spell.

Twenty-four hours later, 19,627 fans piled into Pirtek Stadium to see Sydney FC perform a smash-and-grab raid to draw level on points with Western Sydney Wanderers, who succumbed 2-1 in the derby thanks to Shane Smeltz’s stoppage time stunner for the visitors.

Wests bossed the game everywhere but on the scoreboard. Having weathered their opponents’ opening salvos, Sydney struck back via the best means possible, Jacques Faty heading home from point-blank range half-way through the first half following a corner, Sydney’s first attack of the contest.

More pressure from Wests followed, and they finally got the reward their efforts deserved when Dario Vidosic curled home a beauty just shy of the hour mark in a match which the home team should have gone on to win.

Instead, with the last of their handful of attacks throughout the course of proceedings, Sydney stole the points in stoppage time, Smeltz ramming home the winner to silence the natives and well and truly open up the A-League title race.

Melbourne City failed in their quest to close to within a point of the lead, but at least they picked up a point from their 2-2 draw at Perth Glory, where 7,021 fans at NIB Stadium saw Aaron Mooy’s free-kick turned home by Erik Paartalu to open the scoring on the half-hour.

Diego Castro replied on the stroke of half-time for Perth with a stunning free-kick which levelled the scores, but two minutes after the second half began, Mooy had City back in front after working a one-two with Bruno Fornaroli, the league’s leading marksman.

Perth weren’t to be denied, however, with Chris Harold crowning his 100th A-League appearance by netting their second equaliser on the hour. The home team were then forced to do it the hard way after Jacob Collard was sent off for his second bookable offence soon after, but they held on for a share of the spoils to prevent City from closing to within a point of the lead.

Adelaide United continued their resurgence with a 3-1 victory over Central Coast Mariners at Coopers Stadium, where 11,125 fans saw all four goals scored in the final half-hour of play, after both teams missed penalties in the first half.

Marcelo Carrusca cleared the crossbar with his effort for United, a feat matched by Fabio Ferreira for the visitors in the shadows of the half-time whistle. But at least the Central Coast player found the target half-way through the second spell, equalising Craig Goodwin’s opener which rewarded Adelaide’s domination of possession on the hour mark.

Ferreira’s equaliser sparked the visitors into life, with United’s debutant goalkeeper Daniel Margush producing a superb save to prevent Francesco Stella from giving Central Coast the lead.

Instead, they were undone inside the final ten minutes, Pablo Sanchez restoring United’s advantage nine minutes from time before substitute Mate Dugandzic struck in stoppage time to clinch the points for the home team, as the vanquished side revealed they had acquired the services of former Liverpool star Luis Garcia for the remainder of the season.

The final game of the round saw Newcastle Jets break their goalscoring drought and go on to stun Wellington Phoenix 3-1 in front of 7,595 fans at Hunter Stadium, where referee Jarred Gillett once more courted controversy when pointing to the penalty spot in the seventh minute, even though Enver Alivodic had put the ball in the net.

The official had seen a foul prior to the winger netting at the second attempt, and found himself surrounded by players of both teams before Milos Trifunovic finally did the honours from the spot, the first time in 565 minutes that Newcastle’s fans had celebrated a goal.

And just like buses, they all came at once! Ryan Kitto doubled the home team’s lead nineteen minutes later after David Carney’s shot had been parried by Glen Moss, who was beaten all ends up by Carney half-way through the second half as he netted a third goal against the run of play for a team by now reduced to ten men.

Ben Kantarovski committed his second bookable offence just shy of the hour mark as Wellington piled on the pressure in search of a way back into the match. And while they eventually found the net through substitute Matthew Ridenton, Newcastle’s resolute defensive effort ensured they would finish the evening level on points with the beaten team, who have won just twice in their last twelve matches.

Brisbane and Adelaide’s Friday night engagement at Suncorp Stadium kicks off the Australia Day weekend round, which sees one game per day taking place until Tuesday.

Central Coast and Wests meets at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday night, while twenty-four hours later, Newcastle and Perth lock horns at Hunter Stadium. Monday night sees Melbourne City welcoming Wellington to AAMI Park, while at Etihad Stadium twenty-four hours later, it’s “The Big Blue”, with Melbourne Victory and Sydney squaring off to wrap up sixteenth round action.

Match details:

Adelaide United FC 3 (C. Goodwin (60), P. Sanchez (81), M. Dugandzic (90)) – Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (F. Ferreira (67)); HT 0-0

Melbourne Victory FC 4 (F. Ben Khalfallah (5), C. Barbarouses (11, 30), B. Berisha (52)) – Brisbane Roar FC 0; HT 3-0

Newcastle United Jets FC 3 (M. Trifunovic (7 pen), R. Kitto (26), D. Carney (66)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (M. Ridenton (81)); HT 2-0

Perth Glory FC 2 (D. Castro (45), C. Harold (60)) – Melbourne City FC 2 (E. Paartalu (31), A. Mooy (47)); HT 1-1

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (D. Vidosic (58)) – Sydney FC 2 (J. Faty (22), S. Smeltz (90)); HT 0-1


P    W    D    L    F    A    GD    Pts

Brisbane Roar    15    8    4    3    22    16    +6    28

Western Sydney Wanderers    15    8    3    4    23    15    +8    27

Sydney FC    15    7    6    2    21    13    +8    27

Melbourne City    15    7    4    4    37    26    +11    25

Melbourne Victory    15    7    3    5    24    18    +6    24

Adelaide United    15    5    5    5    19    20    -1    20

Wellington Phoenix    15    4    4    7    18    25    -7    16

Newcastle Jets    15    4    4    7    12    19    -7    16

Perth Glory    15    3    4    8    17    25    -8    13

Central Coast Mariners    15    2    3    10    19    35    -16    9

By Jeremy Ruane

Westfield W-League – Season 8 – 2015 /2016 – Round 14

Brisbane Roar set up a semi-final meeting with Melbourne City after holding off Newcastle Jets in a final-round battle for the remaining available spot in the Westfield W-League finals series.

The other semi-final will see second-placed Canberra United host third-placed Sydney FC at Belconnen’s McKellar Park on Sunday 24 January.

Melbourne City will play host to the Roar at AAMI Park on Monday 25 January, with the two winners to meet in the Westfield W-League Grand Final on Sunday 31 January.

All finals series matches will be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports and ABC TV.

Match details

Adelaide United FC 1 (Abby Dahlkemper 43’) – Canberra United FC 1 (Veronica Perez 23’ pen)

Melbourne City FC 2 (Alanna Kennedy 52’ own goal, Marianna Tabain 85’) – Sydney FC 1 (Princess Ibini 71’)

Western Sydney Wanderers FC  2 (Erica Halloway 87’, Hannah Beard 91’) – Perth Glory FC 0

Newcastle Jets FC 0 – Brisbane Roar FC 0

BYE –  Melbourne Victory FC


Foxtel National Youth League – Version 2 – 2015/20106 – Round 10

Match details

Conference A

Melbourne Victory FC 1 – Brisbane Roar FC 5

Perth Glory FC 3 – Melbourne City FC 1  

Conference B

Central Coast Mariners FC 2 – Newcastle Jets FC 3

Sydney FC 3 – FFA Centre of Excellence 2
The National Youth League 2016 Final between Adelaide United FC and Sydney FC will be played as a double header; prior to the Hyundai A-League encounter between Central Coast Mariners and Western Sydney Wanderers FC on Saturday 23 January 2016 at Central Coast Stadium