R16 Review: Sydney extend lead after Melbourne Victory’s defeats
By Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com
HAL Round Review
Two defeats in five days for Melbourne Victory have allowed Sydney FC to open up an eight-point lead at the top of the Hyundai A-League standings, with eleven rounds to go in the premiership phase of the competition.
Wellington Phoenix produced arguably the shock of the season at Westpac Stadium by crushing Melbourne Victory 3-0 in their rescheduled seventh round encounter on Tuesday evening.
The 5,865 fans present were delighted when Roly Bonevacia gave the home team a deserved lead just after the half-hour mark, but Melbourne fought back well, and were denied a Leigh Broxham equaliser on the hour by a magnificent full stretch save from Glen Moss, who tipped away a fifteen yard volley bound for the top corner.
That was the trigger Wellington needed to up their game again, and after Besart Berisha had a goal ruled out by the offside flag, the home team piled on the pressure in the final minutes.
Lawrence Thomas made two splendid saves to deny both Michael McGlinchey and Alex Rodriguez, but Wellington weren’t to be denied, and stoppage time goals from Jacob Tratt and Costa Barbarouses – against his old club – fired the victors into fifth place on the table heading into the weekend’s sixteenth round of action.
Wellington were unable to back up that win on Saturday evening, however, Jamie Maclaren’s late strike separating the sides as Brisbane Roar prevailed 1-0 in front of 6,449 fans at Westpac Stadium, where a contest unfolded which saw both teams cancelling each other out in this battle for fourth place.
Jack Hingert hit the post in the ninth minute for the visitors, who were able to take advantage of Wellington’s tiring physical and mental state as their third game in eight days drew to a close.
The win allowed Brisbane to keep pace with Melbourne City, who remain in third spot after a brace of Tim Cahill goals secured a 2-1 victory over ten-man Central Coast Mariners, whose marksman, Roy O’Donovan, was sent off for violent conduct half-way through the first half.
The Irishman’s ninth minute goal had cancelled out Cahill’s third minute opener for City, but the home team took advantage of their numerical superiority six minutes before half-time, Cahill striking again after Osama Malik’s header had been cleared off the line.
City should have given the 8,784 fans at AAMI Park more reason to celebrate during proceedings, with Nicolas Colazo twice hitting the post on a night Fernando Brandan headed wide from three yards with the goal at his mercy after coming on as a substitute.
Table-toppers Sydney, meanwhile, continued on their unbeaten way at Allianz Stadium, overcoming Adelaide United 2-0 in front of 11,255 fans thanks to two goals in three minutes around the hour mark.
The home team should have been reduced to ten men as early as the seventeenth minute when Rhyan Grant committed an over-the-top tackle on Marcelo Carrusca, but not for the first time this season, referee Shaun Evans failed to properly apply the Laws of the Game, and only booked the defender.
Within ten minutes, Filip Holosko had been harshly denied the opening goal of the game by the offside flag, but they got the mix right early in the second half, as Alex Brosque and Milos Ninkovic struck in a three-minute spell to ensure the table-toppers would extend their unbeaten run to sixteen games, this time at the expense of the title-holders.
That win allowed Sydney to increase their lead to eight points over Melbourne Victory, who failed to make in-roads into the front-runners’ advantage when Perth Glory came from behind to overcome the second-placed team 2-1 in front of 11,271 fans at NIB Stadium on Saturday evening.
On the stroke of half-time, Besart Berisha squandered a great chance to give the visitors the lead when Liam Reddy saved his penalty. But the league’s leading marksman made no mistake from twelve yards when a second spot-kick was awarded Melbourne just before the hour mark.
Melbourne’s heavy week of travel – a return trip across the Tasman, followed by a trip out west – caught up with them in the last fifteen minutes, however, and that was all the incentive Perth needed to turn the game on its head.
Nebojsa Marinkovic levelled the scores in style thirteen minutes from time with a gem of a free-kick, and seven minutes later Adam Taggart delivered the coup de grace, heading home a Josh Risdon cross to extend the victors’ unbeaten run to five matches.
The round concluded on Sunday evening with one of those rare occasions in the A-League this season – a match involving Western Sydney Wanderers which they didn’t draw!
Indeed, they recorded just their third win of the season when overcoming Newcastle Jets 2-0 at Campbelltown Stadium, Lachlan Scott breaking the deadlock in the dying minutes of an uninspiring first half.
That stung Newcastle into action, but half-way through the second half they were knocked sideways by a Jaushua Sotirio strike for Wests, a goal which knocked the stuffing out of the visitors as the home team dragged themselves back into a share of sixth spot on the standings.
The top two meet in the match of the round on Australia Day, with Sydney making the trip to Etihad Stadium to take on Melbourne Victory. Twenty-four hours later, Newcastle and Melbourne City meet at Coffs Harbour International Stadium.
Saturday’s fare sees Central Coast and Perth meeting at Central Coast Stadium prior to the clash of Brisbane and Western Sydney at Suncorp Stadium, before Adelaide and Wellington wrap up the round when they meet at Coopers Stadium on Sunday night.
Wellington Phoenix FC 3 (R. Bonevacia (32), J. Tratt (90), C. Barbarouses (90)) – Melbourne Victory FC 0; HT 1-0
Melbourne City FC 2 (T. Cahill (3, 39)) – Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (R. O’Donovan (9)); HT 2-1
Perth Glory FC 2 (N. Marinkovic (77), A. Taggart (84)) – Melbourne Victory FC 1 (B. Berisha (58 pen)); HT 0-0
Sydney FC 2 (A. Brosque (58), M. Ninkovic (61)) – Adelaide United FC 0; HT 0-0
Wellington Phoenix FC 0 – Brisbane Roar FC 1 (J. Maclaren (87)); HT 0-0
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (l. Scott (44), J. Sotirio (68)) – Newcastle Jets FC 0 HT 1-0
P W D L F A GD Pts
Sydney FC 16 12 4 0 36 7 +29 40
Melbourne Victory 16 10 2 4 36 21 +15 32
Melbourne City 16 7 5 4 26 21 +5 26
Brisbane Roar 16 6 6 4 21 20 +1 24
Perth Glory 16 5 6 5 28 31 -3 21
Wellington Phoenix 16 5 3 8 18 21 -3 18
Western Sydney Wanderers 16 3 9 4 19 24 -5 18
Newcastle Jets 16 4 5 7 22 28 -6 17
Adelaide United 16 2 4 10 12 28 -16 10
Central Coast Mariners 16 2 4 10 17 34 -17 10
Other review information
W-League ‘Round’ 13 Details
A number of ‘upsets’ in the penultimate round has set up a thrilling finale to the W-League’s regular season, with the premiership as well as the fourth and final semi-final berth still up for grabs. Constant finalists Brisbane misses out.
The game in Coffs Harbour on Friday between Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City will be the focus of attention (though not that of TV viewers). BOTN will bring an on the spot report.
Sydney FC 1 (Kyah Simon 93’) – Newcastle Jets FC 3 (Arin Gilliland 57’, 74’, 79’)
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Katie Stengel 43’) – Canberra United 0
Melbourne City FC 3 (Marianna Tabain 18’, Rebekah Stott 62’, 92’) – Brisbane Roar FC 1 (Katrina Gorry 67’)
Perth Glory FC 1 (Rosie Sutton 10’) – Adelaide United FC 2 (Danielle Colaprico 15’, 84’)
Melbourne Victory FC – BYE
National Youth League Round 10 Details
Final round – Conference finals next weekend