R17 Review: Premiers’ Plate is Sydney’s to lose

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

HAL Round Review

The Hyundai A-League Premiers’ Plate is Sydney FC’s to lose with ten rounds of action remaining, after they surged eleven points clear at the top of the table after recording a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory on Australia Day.

James Troisi gave the home team the perfect start in the eighteenth minute when netting the opener in front of 30,262 fans, the signal for both goals to come under attack.

Sydney’s leveller came twenty minutes later, Filip Holosko heading home an equaliser which the visitors somehow held onto over the next twenty-five minutes, as their hosts spurned some terrific chances, the best of them falling to Fahid Ben Khalfallah, who rattled the crossbar.

How Melbourne were to pay for their profligacy, as five minutes after entering the fray on the hour, substitute Bernie Ibini-Isei slalomed through the locals’ defence and gave Sydney an advantage which they never looked like relinquishing, particularly after James Donachie earned himself a red card for a tackle on Alex Brosque twenty minutes from time.

With that win, the Premiers’ Plate is very much Sydney’s to lose, something which looks highly unlikely as the focus increasingly turns to their pursuit of completing an unprecedented unbeaten premiership campaign – they are still unbeaten after seventeen rounds.

Melbourne City spurned the chance to close up on their cross-town rivals when stunned 2-1 by Newcastle Jets in front of 7,891 fans at the Coffs Harbour International Stadium.

Andrew Nabbout was City’s nemesis, breaking through the offside trap to open the scoring in the fourteenth minute, then doubling Newcastle’s advantage seven minutes into the second spell with a crisply struck twenty-five yarder against opponents who lacked their usual panache.

Bruno Fornaroli gave City hope with a controversial penalty twenty minutes from time, but they were unable to add to that tally, despite going close to levelling through Anthony Caceres, a miss which left the third-placed Melburnians some seventeen points behind the league leaders.

That result allowed Brisbane Roar to leapfrog City into third place on the table, but they left it very late to do so when overcoming Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1 at Suncorp Stadium, where Brett Holman grabbed the winner inside the final sixty seconds.

It was a deserved victory for the locals, who were cheered on to victory by 13,058 fans, although it looked like the league’s draw specialists were set to clock up their tenth tie of the season prior to Holman’s late late show.

Vedran Janjetovic had done much to keep Brisbane at bay throughout proceedings, with Jamie Maclaren and Tommy Oar having reason to begrudge the goalkeeper’s presence. He was beaten half-way through the first half by Brandon Borello, however, only for Jumpei Kusukami to level the scores ten minutes later, and on which Western Sydney hung their hopes on procuring yet another draw. ‘Twasn’t to be.

Perth Glory became the third team in the top five to come a cropper in this round when Central Coast Mariners scored a 2-0 win over the visitors to Central Coast Stadium in front of 7,205 fans.

Goals from Josh Bingham and Fabio Ferreira – a penalty – in a five-minute spell just after half-time sealed the deal for the victors, who were fortunate to finish with eleven men on the park after an early foul by Trent Buhagiar which left Joseph Mills in a considerable state of distress.

Ironically, it was Buhagiar who was taken out by Liam Reddy seven minutes from time, an act which saw Perth’s goalkeeper sent off late in a contest in which Diego Castro and Adam Taggart squandered great first half chances for the visitors, with the former twice denied in terrific fashion by Paul Izzo in the second spell, as Perth chased the game.

The win lifted Central Coast off the bottom of the table, with Adelaide United replacing them, although they had the chance to ensure that wasn’t the case against Wellington Phoenix on Sunday evening.

8,313 fans watched a Coopers Stadium encounter played in 39C heat, with a 2-2 draw the outcome. United got off to a flying start when Riley McGree thundered home an eighteen-yarder just seven minutes into the contest, but four minutes later Thomas Doyle scored a goal of the season contender, beating five men before battering a twenty-yarder past Eugene Galekovic via a post.

After this flurry, Adelaide were easily the more dominant team, but it was Wellington who went to the dressing rooms 2-1 to the good, Roy Krishna pouncing on the counter-attack to give the visitors the lead eight minutes before half-time.

Sergio Cirio squandered a couple of glorious chances for the home team either side of the goal their efforts richly deserved. It came ten minutes from time, half-time substitute Nikola Mileusnic heading home the rebound after Glen Moss had tipped a Ben Garuccio free-kick onto the post.

United finished the game with ten men when substitute Ryan Kitto succumbed to a hamstring strain with Adelaide already having used their full quota of replacements. But it was the ten men who deserved to emerge victorious in conditions which were extremely unhealthy for football, footballers and spectators alike.

The first game in February sees Brisbane entertaining Sydney at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night. On Saturday evening, Wellington welcome Western Sydney to Yarrows Stadium in New Plymouth, before the Melbourne derby unfolds at Etihad Stadium – it promises to be a crucial weekend for the top four teams.

Perth will look to take advantage of any slip-ups when they entertain Newcastle at NIB Stadium in the final game of Saturday night’s triple-header, while on Sunday evening, it’s the battle between the bottom two, with Central Coast hosting Adelaide at Canberra’s GIO Stadium.

Match details:

Adelaide United FC 2 (R. McGree (7), N. Mileusnic (80)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 2 (T. Doyle (11), R. Krishna (37)); HT 1-2

Brisbane Roar FC 2 (B. Borello (22), B. Holman (90)) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (J. Kusukami (32)) HT 1-1

Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (J. Bingham (47), F. Ferreira (52 pen)) – Perth Glory FC 0; HT 0-0

Melbourne Victory FC 1 (J. Troisi (18)) – Sydney FC 2 (F. Holosko (38), B. Ibini-Isei (65)); HT 1-1

Newcastle United Jets FC 2 (A. Nabbout (14, 52)) – Melbourne City FC 1 (B. Fornaroli (69 pen)); HT 1-0

P W D L F A GD Pts

Sydney FC 17 13 4 0 38 8 +30 43
Melbourne Victory 17 10 2 5 37 23 +14 32
Brisbane Roar 17 7 6 4 23 21 +2 27
Melbourne City 17 7 5 5 27 23 +4 26
Perth Glory 17 5 6 6 28 33 -5 21
Newcastle Jets 17 5 5 7 24 29 -5 20
Wellington Phoenix 17 5 4 8 20 23 -3 19
Western Sydney Wanderers 17 3 9 5 20 26 -6 18
Central Coast Mariners 17 3 4 10 19 34 -15 13
Adelaide United 17 2 5 10 14 30 -16 11

Other review information

From Chris Dunkerley

W-League ‘Round’  14 (end of regular season) Details

A drama filled final round to the W-League regular season has seen Canberra United FC secure the premiership for a record third time, while Perth Glory FC overhauled Sydney FC to earn a home semi-final.

Sydney FC started the final round on top but an Adriana Jones double helped Adelaide United to a comprehensive 5-2 win over the Sky Blues on Sunday.

That result meant that Canberra United’s 5-1 win against Melbourne Victory on Saturday was enough to overhaul Sydney FC by a single point.

There was further pain for Sydney FC as an injury-time Caitlin Doeglas winner for Perth Glory against Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday lifted the Western Australians to second behind Canberra on goal difference.

Melbourne City locked up the fourth and final semi-final berth with a 2-0 win over Newcastle Jets in a winner-takes-all meeting in Coffs Harbour on Friday.

Newcastle United Jets FC 0 – Melbourne City FC 2 (Erika Tymrak 57’, Amy Jackson 90’+4)

Canberra United FC 5 (Ash Sykes 40’ pen, 92’, Yukari Kinga 48’, 93’, Grace Maher 77’) – Melbourne Victory FC 1 (Christine Nairn 45’)

Adelaide United FC 5 (Racheal Quigley 47’, Adriana Jones 48’, 68’, Emily Hodgson 61’, Sofia Huerta 87’) – Sydney FC 2 (Remy Siemsen 55’, 58’)

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 0 – Perth Glory FC 1 (Caitlin Doeglas 92’)

Brisbane Roar FC – BYE

Semi Final details announced:

Perth Glory FC host Sydney FC at NIB stadium Perth on Saturday 4 Feb – Kickoff at 4:00pm (7:00pm AEDT)
Canberra United FC host Melbourne City FC at GIO stadium Canberra on Sunday 5 Feb – Kickoff at 2:00pm AEDT


National Youth League Final Details

Melbourne City FC are the National Youth League 2017 Champions after a thrilling 3-2 win over Sydney FC in the season decider at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford.

Melbourne City FC 3 (Crowley 22’, 90+11’ (pen), Arzani 81’ (pen)) – Sydney FC 2 (Timotheou 58’, Lokolingoy 68’)