Round 13 Review: Sydney eight points clear as nearest rivals lose

by Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

HAL Round Review


A five-star showing from reigning Hyundai A-League champions Sydney FC at Allianz Arena paved the way for a 6-0 thrashing of Perth Glory by the league leaders, allowing the league leaders to slip eight points clear thanks to the teams in second, third and fourth places all being beaten as 2017 became 2018.

Brandon O’Neill’s counter-attacking strike half-way through the first half opened the scoring in front of 13,322 fans, who were treated to a devastating forty-five minutes of all-out attack from the title-holders in the second half.

Adrian Mierzejewski was denied a goal by the Video Assistant Referee ten minutes into the second spell, only to make amends with a beauty three minutes later. Alex Brosque surpassed the quality of this curling strike with an exquisite glancing header from a Michael Zullo cross in the 62nd minute, after which Bobo took charge.

He potted his first from the penalty spot in the 66th minute, before striking twice in stoppage time to complete his hat-trick. The first of his stoppage time efforts was a superb volley on the turn from an acute angle, while his second, again from the penalty spot, entered the net via the despairing dive of Liam Reddy and both uprights.

Milos Ninkovic and Perth substitute Jacob Italiano both hit the crossbar in the second spell as the league leaders, who took full advantage of Newcastle Jets’ 2-1 loss at Melbourne Victory to extend their lead at the top of the table.

15,534 fans saw the visitors dominate the opening half-hour before Costa Barbarouses struck for Melbourne with a goal from their first attack of note in the contest. Leroy George hit the bar soon afterwards as the home team moved through the gears, only for the wind to be taken from their sails on the stroke of half-time by Jason Hoffman’s equaliser.

Besart Berisha delighted the faithful at AAMI Park when returning to his goalscoring ways eight minutes into the second spell, a goal which proved to be decisive thanks to team-mate Mark Milligan’s penalty miss soon afterwards, and Berisha himself being denied a second goal by the offside flag with twenty minutes still to play.

In a round which saw Central Coast Mariners held to a largely uneventful scoreless draw by bottom-placed Wellington Phoenix in front of 9,110 fans at Central Coast Stadium, the two teams immediately above the cellar-dwellers on the table both recorded 2-1 victories over teams in the top four as the league approached the half-way mark.

Brisbane Roar overcame the half-time dismissal of captain Matt McKay to score a 2-1 win at Adelaide United, where 9,875 fans at Coopers Stadium saw the home team dominate proceedings until Fayid Ben Khalfallah swooped on an Isaias error and raced through to round Paul Izzo and open the scoring.

The scorer turned provider on the stroke of half-time, dispossessing Nathan Konstandopoulos before presenting Massimo Maccarone with the chance to chip home Brisbane’s second goal of the night, seconds before McKay was sent off for violent conduct courtesy an interpretation by the Video Assistant Referee, who deemed referee Adam Fielding’s yellow card insufficient for the crime.

Adelaide had numerous chances to haul their way back into the contest throughout the second half, but succeeded in taking just one of them, George Blackwood hitting the net after seventy minutes after Michael Marrone had hit the crossbar and Nikola Mileusnic the post.

Western Sydney Wanderers bounced back to winning ways in the final game of the round, upsetting Melbourne City 2-1 in front of 11,628 fans at ANZ Stadium, who saw all three goals scored in a seven-minute period around the half-hour mark.

Ross McCormack ghosted in on the far post to tuck home a low cross in the 25th minute, which stirred Wests into an immediate response through Jumpei Kusukami, who hit the post.

On the half-hour, Oriel Riera’s shot on the turn found the far corner of the net, as did Mark Bridge’s strike less than two minutes later, as the struggling home team turned the formbook upside down.

McCormack spurned a great chance to level the scores soon afterwards when he saw his penalty saved by Vedran Janjetovic, who also made a terrific second half save to deny Luke Brattan’s free-kick, thus earning a welcome win for Wests.

Sydney can all but wrap up first place – yes, even this far out! – if they beat Newcastle at Allianz Stadium on Wednesday, while both Melbourne teams have home games on Saturday, with City welcoming Wellington to AAMI Park while Victory take on Central Coast at Geelong’s GMHBA Stadium.

In between these matches, Brisbane and Western Sydney meet at Suncorp Stadium on Friday evening, while the last game of the round sees Perth and Adelaide clashing at NIB Stadium on Saturday night.


Match details

Adelaide United FC 1 (G. Blackwood (69)) – Brisbane RoarFC 3 (F. Khalfallah (33), M.Maccarone (45)); HT 0-2

Central Coast Mariners FC 0 – Wellington Phoenix FC 0

Melbourne Victory FC 2 (C. Barbarouses (33), B. Berisha (53)) – Newcastle United Jets FC 1 (J. Hoffman (45)); HT 1-1

Sydney FC 6 (B. O’Neill (21), A. Mierzejewski (58), A. Brosque (62), Bobo (66 pen,. 90, 90 pen) – Perth Glory FC 0; HT 1-0

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (O. Riera (30), M. Bridge (32)) – Melbourne City FC 1 (R. McCormack (25)); HT 2-1


League ladder

P W D L F A GD Pts

Sydney FC 13 11 1 1 33 10 +23 34

Newcastle Jets 13 8 2 3 30 15 +15 26

Melbourne Victory 13 5 4 4 18 18 0 19

Melbourne City 13 6 1 6 15 16 -1 19

Adelaide United 13 5 2 6 15 16 -1 17

Perth Glory 13 5 1 7 15 25 -10 16

Western Sydney 12 3 5 4 13 22 -9 14

Brisbane Roar 13 3 4 6 16 19 -3 13

Central Coast 13 3 4 6 13 17 -4 13

Wellington Phoenix 12 1 4 7 15 25 -10 7




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