Round 18 Review: Sydney stretch lead as nearest rivals draw

By Jeremy Ruane
With compliments of

HAL Round Review


Reigning Hyundai A-League champions Sydney FC came from behind to down Melbourne Victory 3-1 at AAMI Park on Australia Day, and in doing so stretched their lead at the top of the standings to nine points, after nearest rivals Melbourne City and Newcastle Jets drew 2-2 at the same venue twenty-four hours previously.

Nikolai Topor-Stanley afforded the visitors the perfect start when heading home in the third minute, but City eventually got back on level terms just before half-time via Daniel Arzani’s penalty, after Harrison Delbridge had had a goal disallowed for fouling an opponent in the process of scoring.

Melbourne continued to enjoy the upper hand, but found themselves trailing again twenty minutes from time when Jason Hoffman restored Newcastle’s advantage. But within twelve minutes the home team restored parity through Dario Vidosic, and could have won it at the death had Ross McCormack’s chipped effort not been cleared off the line in spectacular fashion by Steven Ugarkovic.

Sydney took full advantage of their rivals’ stalemate, prevailing in the rain in front of 21,037 fans who witnessed a hard-fought contest with arch-rivals Melbourne Victory, who opened the scoring via a Besart Berisha penalty in the 58th minute.

Two minutes later, Bobo had Sydney back on level terms, and eighteen minutes later, he potted a penalty after Jason Geria committed his second bookable offence of the evening.

The league leaders should also have been down to ten by this point – Adrian Mierzejewski was fortunate to stay on the park after elbowing Rhys Williams in the head early in the second spell – but they rode their luck, and when David Carney netted six minutes from time, the game was up for Melbourne.

Adelaide United consolidated fifth place on the ladder by edging Wellington Phoenix 1-0 in a dour affair at Westpac Stadium, where 6,746 fans witnessed crossbar-rattling efforts from Wellington’s Matthew Ridenton and substitute Alex Rufer after George Blackwood had nutmegged Lewis Italiano to score the only goal just after the half-hour mark.

Brisbane Roar scored a welcome 2-1 win over Central Coast Mariners in front of just 5,264 fans at Central Coast Stadium, where Brett Holman fired the visitors in front half-way through the first half.

After Massimo Maccarone had twice gone close to adding to Brisbane’s tally, Matt McKay did so nine minutes into the second half, mercilessly punishing Ben Kennedy’s ill-considered pass.

Blake Powell pulled one back for the home team nine minutes later, but the game was up for Central Coast when substitute Wout Brama was sent off in the dying minutes for a disgraceful over-the-top challenge on Corey Gameiro which could very easily have broken the victim’s leg – and Lord knows he’s had enough injury setbacks of that nature!

All the goals came in the first half at NIB Stadium, where Perth Glory scored a very welcome 3-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers in front of 9,317 fans, who saw Diego Castro open the scoring from the penalty spot in the seventh minute after Keanu Baccus had committed a professional foul – his day was done.

Xavi Torres then saw his header blocked on the line by Josh Risdon, before Wests drew level in the seventeenth minute, Oriol Riera doing the honours from twelve yards.

Goals in the shadows of the half-time whistle from Castro – a sumptuous free-kick – and Andy Keogh put Perth firmly in the driving seat, and they kept Western Sydney at arm’s length throughout the second spell, with Chris Harold spurning chances to increase their winning margin still further.

Sydney and Wellington kick off the nineteenth round of action at Allianz Stadium on Friday evening, when visiting captain Andrew Durante should make his record-breaking 279th A-League appearance.

Newcastle and Melbourne Victory meet at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday evening, prior to the clash of Adelaide and Perth at Coopers Stadium, while on Sunday night, Brisbane and Melbourne City lock horns at Suncorp Stadium after Central Coast and Western Sydney meet at Central Coast Stadium.

Match details

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (B. Powell (63)) – Brisbane Roar FC 2 (B. Holman (23), M. McKay (54)); HT 0-1

Melbourne City 2 (D. Arzani (43 pen), D. Vidosic (82)) – Newcastle United Jets FC 2 (N. Topor-Stanley (3), J. Hoffman (70); HT 1-1

Melbourne Victory FC 1 (B. Berisha (58 pen)) – Sydney FC 3 (Bobo (60, 78 pen), D. Carney (84)); HT 0-0

Perth Glory FC 3 (D. Castro (7 pen, 40), A. Keogh (43)) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (O. Riera (17 pen)); HT 3-1

Wellington Phoenix FC 0 – Adelaide United FC 1 (G. Blackwood (32)); HT 0-1


League ladder

P W D L F A GD Pts

Sydney FC 18 13 4 1 42 14 +28 43

Newcastle Jets 18 10 4 4 39 22 +17 34

Melbourne City 18 9 3 6 28 21 +7 30

Melbourne Victory 18 7 5 6 27 26 +1 26

Adelaide United 18 7 4 7 20 22 -2 25

Brisbane Roar 18 5 4 9 21 28 -7 19

Western Sydney 17 4 7 6 18 30 -12 19

Perth Glory 18 6 1 11 22 37 -15 19

Central Coast 18 3 7 8 18 25 -7 16

Wellington Phoenix 17 3 5 9 22 32 -10 14




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