Round 3 Review: Melbourne City go three from three

by Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

HAL Round Review

Melbourne City maintained their perfect start to the Hyundai A-League season at AAMI Park on 21 October, overcoming Wellington Phoenix 1-0 in a tight contest played in front of 9,091 fans to become just the seventh team to win their first three games of the season in the competition’s history.

Ross McCormack’s 69th minute firecracker of a free-kick – in off the post from thirty-two yards – proved to be the difference between the sides, with Wellington denied what would have been a deserved equaliser six minutes from time when Roy Krishna’s shot crashed against the post, with Andrija Kaludjerovic heading the rebound against unsuspecting City goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic.

Reigning champions Sydney FC, co-leaders going into the round, fought back from two goals down to hold Western Sydney Wanderers to a 2-2 draw in front of 34,810 fans at Allianz Stadium.

Oriol Riera gave Wests the perfect start when heading home in the third minute, and doubled their advantage on the half-hour when Brendan Hamill headed home, a goal which left the title-holders on the brink.

But they fought back well, Bobo belting home a penalty seven minutes before half-time, sparking a flurry of opportunities at both ends of the park right up until the final whistle.

Only one of them found the net, however, Josh Brillante’s blockbuster drawing Sydney level and ensuring parity against their cross-town rivals in a match neither set of fans wants to lose.

That result mirrored that recorded in the opening game of the round, in which Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory also fought out a 2-2 draw before 19,416 fans at Adelaide Oval, where the visitors hit the ground running and opened the scoring through Besart Berisha after just thirteen minutes.

Quite how Melbourne defender Rhys Williams escaped punishment for an incident which saw him tangling with both Ben Garuccio and Isaias defies logic, but it roused United into action, with the outstanding Vince Lia belting home the first of two scorchers moments later.

His second came just after the hour mark, by which time George Blackwood had gone close for the home side, and Berisha had escaped a red card for an incident involving Jordan Elsey and the fourth official.

Adelaide couldn’t hold onto their advantage, however, with Mitchell Austin levelling the scores eight minutes from time for a Melbourne team recording their first point of the campaign – a slow start by their standards, that’s for sure.

Sunday’s fare saw 10,104 fans inside Suncorp Stadium, but the vast majority of them were disappointed as Brisbane Roar slumped to their third successive defeat in going down 2-1 at the hands of Newcastle Jets, in a match which saw all the goals scored before half-time.

Roy O’Donovan’s fifth goal of this fledgling campaign broke the deadlock twelve minutes in, as Newcastle enjoyed the better of the early exchanges. They were pegged back just before half-time, however, Nigel Boogaard unable to avoid turning a cross into his own net.

Parity lasted just two minutes, Dimitri Petratos’ screamer from outside the area on the stroke of half-time ultimately proving decisive in a match marred by what looked like a serious injury to Newcastle’s Ronny Vargas, following a collision with Brisbane’s Matt McKay just after the hour mark.

Across the continent, 12,167 fans saw Perth Glory come home with a wet sail at NIB Stadium to overcome Central Coast Mariners 2-1, after the visitors had started superbly. They should have struck twice inside the first six minutes, but instead had to settle for Wout Brama’s fourteenth minute opener to reflect their early superiority.

Perth gradually worked their way back into the contest, however, and twenty minutes from time deservedly earned parity through Andy Keogh, a strike which set up a grandstand finish. Sure enough, Adam Taggart stepped up to the plate five minutes from time to delight the natives by securing Perth’s first win of the season with a rip-roaring winner.

The action on the final weekend in October kicks off with Sydney welcoming Perth to Allianz Stadium on Friday. Wellington and Brisbane do battle at Westpac Stadium on Saturday evening, prior to the clash of Adelaide and Melbourne City at Coopers Stadium.

On Sunday, Newcastle and Western Sydney lock horns at McDonald Jones Stadium, with Central Coast and Melbourne Victory renewing their rivalry at Central Coast Stadium in the final match of the round.

Match details

Adelaide United FC 2 (V. Lia (23, 62)) – Melbourne Victory FC 2 (B. Berisha (13), M. Austin (82)); HT 1-1

Melbourne City FC 1 (R. McCormack (69)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 0; HT 0-0

Sydney FC 2 (39′ Bobô, 61′ Brillante,) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (3′ Riera, 31′ Hamill); HT 1-2

Brisbane Roar FC 1 (“oggie” (42)) – Newcastle United Jets FC 2 (R. O’Donovan (12), D. Petratos (44)); HT 1-2

Perth Glory FC 2 (A. Keogh (70), A. Taggart (85)) – Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (W. Brama (14)); HT 0-1

League ladder
P W D L F A GD Pts

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