R3 Review: Sydney alone at the top after Perth stun City

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

HAL Round Review

Sydney FC rule the roost after three rounds of the Hyundai A-League this season, maintaining their perfect start to the campaign with a last-gasp 1-0 win over bottom-placed Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on October 23.

Milos Ninkovic struck an injury time winner to the despair of the locals, who, urged on by 7,365 fans, produced their best display of the season to date, with Tom Doyle hitting the crossbar and two offside calls ruling out first half strikes from Michael McGlinchey and Roy Krishna as Wellington went scoreless for the third successive game. The Fijian was level when the ball was played – it was a harsh call, no question.

Perth Glory’s Andy Keogh stunned Melbourne City at AAMI Stadium, his hat-trick earning the visitors a 3-2 win in front of 8.076 fans, who were silenced as early as the seventh minute by the Irishman, who struck following a free-kick.

It took the home team quite some time to get back into the contest, but right on the stroke of half-time, Bruno Fornaroli earned then converted a penalty which levelled the scores, an incident which Perth coach Kenny Lowe protested so vehemently that he was banished to the stands for the second half.

What he saw unfold below him pleased Lowe no end. A Nebojsa Marinkovic corner picked out Dino Djulbic, whose header was blocked on the line by Luke Brattan. Djulbic directed the rebound to Keogh, who made no mistake from close range to restore Perth’s lead four minutes into the second spell.

Back came City, and it came as no surprise when Fernando Brandan equalised half-way through the second spell. But five minutes from time, the home team were done for by Keogh’s hat-trick-clinching strike, a lobbed finish which took full advantage of a defensive blunder to earn all three points for the Western Australian outfit.

A stirring comeback inside the last ten minutes earned Newcastle Jets a 2-2 draw at Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday evening, with the 13,247 fans at Spotless Stadium also witness to the 20,000th goal in the history of the Australian National Soccer League competition.

Aritz Borda headed the home team in front half-way through the first half, and when Dimas doubled their advantage from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time, the game appeared to be up for Newcastle, especially when Jumpei Kasukami bore down on goal with just Jack Duncan to beat in the second spell.

The ‘keeper stood firm, however, and his save proved the catalyst for the visitors to find a way back into the contest, with Nigel Boogard’s history-making header nine minutes from time – goal number 20000 – supplemented seven minutes later by Andrew Hoole’s free-kick, which levelled the scores and maintained Newcastle’s unbeaten start to the season.

On Saturday evening, Brisbane Roar edged Central Coast Mariners 1-0 in front of 7,073 fans at Central Coast Stadium, courtesy Thomas Kristensen’s goal just after the half-hour mark.

Jamie Maclaren was only denied a second goal by the crossbar as the visitors eked out a hard-fought win over opponents who enjoyed the better of possession, but spurned numerous set-piece opportunities to turn that advantage into goals.

Later that night, 14,908 fans piled into Coopers Stadium to see reigning champions Adelaide United bid to end their winless start to the season at home to Melbourne Victory, but it was the visitors, thanks to an injury time strike from Marco Rojas, who prevailed 2-1.

Besart Berisha’s first goal of the season gave Melbourne the lead after twenty minutes, but Tarek Elrich countered that with a superb curling effort half-way through the second spell.

Danny Choi and Sergi Guardiola both had chances to clinch a come-from-behind win for United in the time remaining, but hit the woodwork, unlike Rojas, whose stoppage time clincher left the title-holders with just one point to their name from three matches, and facing an injury crisis, with Henrique joining Sergio Cirio on the sidelines.

The Melbourne Cup weekend round of action kicks off on Friday evening with City entertaining Adelaide at AAMI Park, and concludes with Victory welcoming Wellington to Etihad Stadium on Monday night.

In between times, all attention is on New South Wales on Saturday, with Newcastle and Sydney squaring off at McDonald Jones Stadium prior to the clash of Western Sydney and Central Coast at Spotless Stadium. And on Sunday, Brisbane and Perth lock horns at Suncorp Stadium.

Match details:

Adelaide United FC 1 (T. Elrich (69)) – Melbourne Victory FC 2 (B. Berisha (20), M. Rojas (90)); HT 0-1
Central Coast Mariners FC 0 – Brisbane Roar FC 1 (T. Kristensen (33)); HT 0-1
Melbourne City FC 2 (B. Fornaroli (44 pen), F. Brandan (60)) – Perth Glory FC 3 (A. Keogh (7, 49, 85)); HT 1-1
Wellington Phoenix FC 0 – Sydney FC 1 (M. Ninkovic (90)); HT 0-0
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (A. Borda (24), Dimas (45 pen)) – Newcastle United Jets FC 2 (N. Boogaard (81), A. Hoole (88)); HT 2-0

P W D L F A GD Pts

Sydney FC 3 3 0 0 9 0 +9 9
Perth Glory 3 2 1 0 8 5 +3 7
Melbourne City 3 2 0 1 7 4 +3 6
Newcastle Jets 3 1 2 0 7 3 +4 5
Melbourne Victory 3 1 1 1 4 6 -2 4
Western Sydney Wanderers 3 1 1 1 4 7 -3 4
Brisbane Roar 3 1 1 1 2 5 -3 4
Adelaide United 3 0 1 2 3 5 -2 1
Central Coast Mariners 3 0 1 2 3 8 -5 1
Wellington Phoenix 3 0 0 3 0 4 -4 0