Round 19 Review: Top three carry on winning

by Jeremy Ruane
With compliments of

HAL Round Review

The leading trio of teams in the Hyundai A-League carried on their winning ways on the first weekend of February, with league leaders Sydney FC becoming the first team to confirm their involvement in the end-of-season play-off series.

Wellington Phoenix capitulated before the table-toppers at Allianz Stadium, the visitors gifting the reigning champions three of their goals as the league leaders romped to a 4-0 win in front of 10,220 fans.

Defensive blunders decided the destiny of the points inside the first fifteen minutes, with Alex Brosque and Adrian Mierzejewski taking full advantage to put Sydney on course for another three-point haul.

They didn’t build on their lead until the final fifteen minutes of the contest, when Milos Ninkovic and David Carney chimed in, but in between times they engineered ample opportunities to keep the visitors on the back foot – not the way Wellington had hoped to mark the record 279th A-League appearance of their captain, Andrew Durante.

The leaders remain nine points clear of Newcastle Jets, who prevailed 2-0 over Melbourne Victory in front of 11,473 fans at McDonald Jones Stadium, but only thanks to the efforts of goalkeeper Jack Duncan, who produced a string of fine saves to keep the visitors at bay.

The crossbar came to his aid late on, much to the chagrin of Leigh Broxham, but by then Newcastle had done the damage, Nigel Boogaard’s glancing header from a free-kick on the half-hour supplemented by a Riley McGree strike twenty minutes from time.

The latter was fired past replacement goalkeeper Matt Acton, regular number one Lawrence Thomas having been stretchered off early in the second spell after a collision with Andrew Nabbout.

Adelaide United took advantage of Melbourne’s misfortune to leapfrog them on the table, with all the scoring at Coopers Stadium coming inside the first forty minutes as they edged Perth Glory 2-1 in front of 7,976 fans.

Andy Keogh gave the visitors the ideal start when heading home just four minutes into the contest, but his effort was matched by a fine headed goal eight minutes later, the only problem for Perth being that it was Dino Djulbic directing the ball into his own net as he attempted to head a cross to safety.

United grew into the match after this equaliser, with the pace of Nikolai Mileusnic a constant menace to Perth. Seven minutes before half-time, he made them pay with what proved to be the winner, although Perth pounded away in search of the equaliser throughout the second spell, Jacob Italiano going closest to levelling the scores when his header hit the crossbar late on in proceedings.

2-1 wins for the travelling teams were the order of the day on Sunday evening, as Melbourne City and Western Sydney Wanderers returned home triumphant after winning at Brisbane Roar and Central Coast Mariners respectively.

City came from behind to win in front of 9,150 fans at Suncorp Stadium, where Massimo Maccarone gave Brisbane the lead after fourteen minutes, only for Marcin Budzinski to restore parity five minutes later.

Two minutes later, Dario Vidosic was only prevented from giving Melbourne the lead by Maccarone’s goal-line clearance, after Daniel Arzani’s shot had been deflected for a corner – he was later to have a goal denied him by the offside flag.

Brisbane came again, with Maccarone twice denied by Dean Bouzanis before the interval, the ‘keeper making it a hat-trick twelve minutes from time when keeping out a poor penalty from the striker as he sought to make up for some awful defending which was punished by Stefan Mauk’s match-winner half-way through the second spell.

At Central Coast Stadium, 7,046 fans saw Western Sydney pile on the pressure from the outset, with Ben Kennedy making two vital saves before Jaushua Sotirio’s deflected volley found its way past him on the quarter-hour.

Kennedy then had the misfortune to put through his own net on the half-hour, Oriol Riera’s header hitting the bar before striking the diving goalkeeper’s back, off which it rebounded over the line.

Central Coast sought a way back into the contest, and after Jacob Melling’s thirty-five yard screamer had been turned away by Vedran Janjetovic, substitute Pedros Skapetis gave them a lifeline fourteen minutes from time. But the home team were unable to build on it, and duly slumped to their ninth defeat of the season.

Next weekend sees a split round of action taking place, with two twentieth round fixtures supplemented by the rescheduled seventh round match between Western Sydney and Wellington, which takes place at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.

Earlier in the weekend, the A-League spotlight is on AAMI Park, Melbourne, with Victory entertaining Brisbane there on Friday evening before City and Sydney lock horns in the clash of the round twenty-four hours later.

Match Details:

Adelaide United FC 2 (“oggie” (12), N. Mileusnic (38)) – Perth Glory FC 1 (A. Keogh (4)); HT 2-1
Brisbane Roar FC 1 (M. Maccarone (14)) – Melbourne City FC 2 (M. Budzinski (19), S. Mauk (66)); HT 1-1

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (P. Skapetis (76)) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (J. Sautirio (14), “oggie” (30)); HT 0-2

Newcastle United Jets FC 2 (N. Boogaard (31), R. McGree (70)) – Melbourne Victory FC 0; HT 1-0

Sydney FC 4 (A. Brosque (8), A. Mierzejewski (14), M. Ninkovic (74), D. Carney (85)) – Wellington Phoenix FC 0; HT 2-0

League Table
P W D L F A GD Pts

Sydney FC 19 14 4 1 46 14 +32 46

Newcastle Jets 19 11 4 4 41 22 +19 37

Melbourne City 19 10 3 6 30 22 +8 33

Adelaide United 19 8 4 7 22 23 -1 28

Melbourne Victory 19 7 5 7 27 28 -1 26

Western Sydney 18 5 7 6 20 31 -11 22

Brisbane Roar 19 5 4 10 22 30 -8 19

Perth Glory 19 6 1 12 23 39 -16 19

Central Coast 19 3 7 9 19 27 -8 16

Wellington Phoenix 18 3 5 10 22 36 -14 14



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