Round 2 Review: Melbourne City and Sydney lead the way

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

HAL Round Review

Melbourne City and reigning Hyundai A-League champions Sydney FC are the only teams boasting perfect records after two rounds of this season’s competition, the most recent of which saw every travelling team score two goals!

City didn’t have to travel for their match, a Melbourne derby with Victory at Etihad Stadium. But it was the team occupying the visitors’ dressing room which emerged victorious in front of 35,792 fans, leaving those in the home shed to ponder upon what might have been.

Victory were certainly the side more deserving of the points, but after a fiery card-laden opening stanza – referee Peter Green booked eight players in this derby, Marcin Budzinski gave City the lead on the stroke of half-time.

It took Victory just ten second half minutes to get back on level terms via Leroy George, but as they pounded away in search of the winner, they got caught on the counter-attack nine minutes later by Bruce Kamau, who dashed downfield before delivering the coup de grace past Lawrence Thomas.

Sydney were made to work surprisingly hard for their 3-2 win at Allianz Stadium in front of 11,284 fans on Sunday evening by a dogged Wellington Phoenix team which may well have nicked a point but for an incorrect offside call late in the contest.

The visitors began brightly, but Sydney gradually warmed to the task, and when Bobo and Michael Zullo scored in a five-minute spell around the half-hour mark, a routine home win looked to be on the cards.

Wellington had other ideas, however, pulling themselves back into the contest on the stroke of half-time thanks to Andrija Kaludjerovic, then netting a second comeback goal on the hour through Dario Vidosic, Bobo having restored Sydney’s two-goal cushion four minutes into the second half.

Adelaide United opened the round with a come-from-behind 2-1 win at Brisbane Roar, stunning the 11,178 fans at Suncorp Stadium with two late goals to turn the game around.

Massimo Maccarone gave the home team the ideal start in the eighth minute, and but for the exploits of Paul Izzo they would have at least doubled their tally in the minutes that followed.

Adelaide weathered the storm before giving as good as they got, George Blackwood’s post rattler the closest they came to equalising until substitute Ryan Kitto levelled the scores with two minutes to go.

Not satisfied with a share of the spoils, the visitors kept on coming, and were rewarded in stoppage time when Johan Absalonsen netted his second goal in as many matches to secure all three points for the South Australian outfit.

The other matches ended in 2-2 draws, with Western Sydney Wanderers and Central Coast Mariners sharing the spoils at Spotless Stadium, where the visitors made much of the running in front of 11,650 fans.

Felix Asdrubal deservedly opened the scoring for Central Coast half-way through the first half, but referee Chris Beath awarded Wests a dubious penalty which Oriol Riera converted to ensure parity at the interval.

Daniel De Silva restored the visitors’ lead just after the hour mark on receipt of a through ball from Andrew Hoole, who was sent off for committing his second bookable offence five minutes from time, by which time Wests had levelled the scores for a second time, Roly Bonevacia firing home his first goal for the club with twenty minutes to go.

Newcastle Jets, meanwhile, were pegged back at the death by Adam Taggart’s second goal of the game for Perth Glory, the marksman having opened the scoring eight minutes into the contest at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Urged on by a terrific Novocastrian crowd some 14,833 strong, the home team fought back strongly, Roy O’Donovan levelling the scores on the half-hour before Ben Kantarovski tucked home the rebound after Nikolai Topor-Stanley had headed against the post from a corner on the hour.

They sought more goals, but two was their lot, and it looked to be enough to win the game until Taggart’s stoppage time strike stunned the natives and earned the Western Australians their first point of the season.

Third round action kicks off on Friday with Adelaide entertaining Melbourne Victory at Adelaide Oval. On Saturday evening, Wellington head to AAMI Park to take on Melbourne City, prior to the Sydney derby at Allianz Stadium, with FC welcoming Western Sydney to their home ground.

Sunday’s fare sees Brisbane and Newcastle squaring off at Suncorp Stadium before Perth and Central Coast meet in the final game of the round, way out west in the wild blue yonder at NIB Stadium.

Match details

Brisbane Roar FC 1 (M. Maccarone (8)) – Adelaide United FC 2 (R. Kitto (88), J. Absalonsen (90)); HT 1-0

Melbourne Victory FC 1 (L. George (55)) – Melbourne City FC 2 (M. Budzinski (45), B. Kamau (64)); HT 0-1

Newcastle United Jets FC 2 (R. O‘Donovan (30), B. Kantarovski (60)) – Perth Glory FC 2 (A. Taggart (8, 90)); HT 1-1

Sydney FC 3 (Bobo (29, 49), M. Zullo (34)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 2 (A. Kaludjerovic (44), D. Vidosic (60)); HT 2-1

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (O. Riera (39 pen), R. Bonevacia (69)) – Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (F. Asdrubal (21), D. De Silva (63)); HT 1-1

League ladder

P W D L F A GD Pts

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