Round 10 Review: Contrasting wins for Top Two As Sydney boss derby

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

HAL Round Review

The top two teams in the Hyundai A-League scored contrasting victories on the second weekend in December, as reigning champions Sydney FC maintained their five-point advantage atop the table by hammering cross-town rivals Western Sydney Wanderers 5-0 in front of a bumper 36,433-strong crowd at ANZ Stadium.

The title-holders hit the ground running, Adrian Mierzejewski firing them in front on the quarter hour, although they went close on a few more occasions in the first twenty minutes.

Wests hit back hard, with Alvaro Cejudo’s superb curling effort being thwarted by the combination of Andrew Redmayne’s fingertips and the crossbar on the half-hour. Sydney’s response? Two goals in the final five minutes of the half, Alex Brosque capping off a splendid build-up for the second, with Mierzejewski rifling home a free-kick on the stroke of half-time.

They should have scored another in between times – Bobo missed a sitter! – but it mattered not to the league leaders, whose fourth goal came eight minutes after the interval as Lachlan Scott headed into his own net.

Michael Zullo was denied a fifth goal for Sydney when the Video Assistant Referee spotted a handball in the build-up to his strike, but Graham Arnold’s team weren’t to be denied a nap hand, Brandon O’Neill belting home a beauty fifteen minutes from time.

Wests didn’t have the consolation of a consolation goal, the post denying Brendon Santalab seven minutes from time as Sydney fans delighted in their charges’ five-star display, which cemented their five-point lead at the top.

Second-placed Newcastle Jets played their ‘get out of jail’ card at NIB Stadium, coming from behind to down Perth Glory 2-1 with two goals in the dying minutes to silence the 8,063 locals in attendance.

Debutant Joe Knowles fired the home team in front with a well-taken twentieth minute volley, an advantage Chris Harold narrowly failed to double either side of the half-time whistle.

How those misses came back to haunt the hosts, as with two minutes remaining, John Koutroumbis volleyed home an unlikely equaliser, before Newcastle stole all three points in stoppage time when Jeremy Walker sliced an attempted clearance into his own net.

Vying with Sydney for performance of the round honours are Adelaide United, who edged out Melbourne Victory 2-1 in front of 16,778 fans at Etihad Stadium, despite having two players sent off for committing two bookable offences.

Papa Babacar Diawara headed the visitors in front after seventeen minutes, but Besart Berisha should have had Melbourne on level terms just before half-time, only for the outstanding Paul Izzo to save his penalty.

That wasn’t his only denial, as he pulled off a string of saves, particularly late on, to earn Adelaide all three points. Mark Milligan found a way past him with a splendid strike just shy of the hour mark, but substitute George Blackwood restored United’s lead eighteen minutes from time.

Then came the drama, with both Daniel Adlung and Benjamin Garrucio earning their marching orders to leave the visitors with nine men on the park for the duration. They somehow held out their hosts to escape with an unlikely three points.

Melbourne City consolidated third place with a 1-0 win over Central Coast Mariners in front of 7,170 fans at AAMI Park, who witnessed a string of Ben Kennedy saves which kept the visitors in contention.

Ross McCormack finally found a way past the ‘keeper on the hour to clinch the points for City, for whom Stefan Mauk’s vital challenge late on prevented Connor Pain from restoring parity and giving the visitors a share of the points.

In a match which can most kindly be described as underwhelming, Brisbane Roar and bottom-placed Wellington Phoenix battled out a scoreless draw in front of 5,192 fans at Robina’s CBUS Super Stadium, where Casey Gameiro was denied at the death by Lewis Italiano as his current and former clubs produced a performance which reflected the injury-hit nature of both squads.

Next week’s action kicks off on Friday evening with the clash of two of the top three at Allianz Stadium, as Sydney entertains Melbourne City. Then it’s second against fourth on Saturday as Newcastle welcome Adelaide to McDonald Jones Stadium.

Later that night, Central Coast and Western Sydney meet in Gosford, while completing the Saturday night triple-header is the “Distance Derby”, with Wellington westward-bound to take on Perth at NIB Stadium. Brisbane and Melbourne Victory wrap up the round at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday evening.

by Jeremy Ruane

Match details

Brisbane Roar FC 0 – Wellington Phoenix FC 0

Melbourne City FC 1 (R. McCormack (59)) – Central Coast Mariners FC 0; HT 0-0

Melbourne Victory FC 1 (M. Milligan (56)) – Adelaide United FC 2 (B. Diawara (19), G. Blackwood (72)); HT 0-1

Perth Glory FC 1 (J. Knowles (20)) – Newcastle United Jets FC 2 (J. Koutroumbis (88), “oggie” (90)); HT 1-0

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 0 – Sydney FC 5 (A. Mierzejewski (14, 45), A. Brosque (41), “oggie” (53), B. O’Neill (76)); HT 0-3

League ladder
P W D L F A GD Pts

Sydney FC 10 8 1 1 20 8 +12 25
Newcastle Jets 10 6 2 2 23 12 +11 20
Melbourne City 10 6 1 3 13 10 +3 19
Adelaide United 10 4 2 4 12 12 0 14
Central Coast 10 3 3 4 13 14 -1 12
Brisbane Roar 10 2 4 4 12 14 -2 10
————————————————–
Melbourne Victory 10 2 4 4 13 16 -3 10
Perth Glory 10 3 1 6 12 18 -6 10
Western Sydney 9 1 5 3 9 17 -8 8
Wellington Phoenix 9 1 3 5 14 20 -6 6

W-League Round 7

Results
https://www.w-league.com.au/fixtures#!/fixtures/s2017/r7

Ladder
https://www.w-league.com.au/ladder

2017-18 National Youth League season

https://www.y-league.com.au/fixtures#!/fixtures/s2017/r4