Round 9 Review: Champions Unable To Capitalise On Leader’s Loss

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

HAL 14 – Round 9 Review

Reigning champions Melbourne Victory failed to take full advantage of league leaders’ Perth Glory’s first loss of the season over the Christmas period, thanks to a late leveller from crosstown rivals Melbourne City in the derby at AAMI Park.

24,306 fans saw some fine saves by both Eugene Galekovic (City) and Lawrence Thomas (Victory) foil all noteworthy goalscoring attempts in the first half, but Ola Toivonen, on receipt of a gem of a Costa Barbarouses cross, found a way past the City custodian ten minutes into the second half to put the title-holders on course for a seventh successive victory.

The scorer twice went close to adding to his tally before the final whistle, in the shadows of which Dario Vidosic headed home a dramatic equaliser to earn City a share of the spoils and deny Victory the opportunity to take over at the top.

That’s because Perth’s unbeaten start to the campaign was brought to an end by Sydney FC in front of 10,356 fans at the soon-to-be-renamed HBF Park (currently NIB Stadium), the visitors prevailing 2-1 out west.

Adam Le Fondre volleyed in the opener from close range before fine saves at each end of the park by Andrew Redmayne and Liam Reddy – his was a double-save – ensured no further scoring until three minutes from time.

Substitute Daniel Da Silva’s strike at that point looked to have made the game safe for third-placed Sydney, but Perth had other ideas, Chris Ikonomidis’ scrambled effort in stoppage time sparking an almighty siege, during which Perth’s Brendon Santalab looked to have equalised, only for referee Jonathan Barreiro to rule it out for a foul in the build-up.

That win saw Sydney close to within three points of the team they defeated, while Wellington Phoenix are a further three points adrift after humbling Brisbane Roar 4-1 in front of 6,841 fans at Westpac Stadium, where after a nondescript opening half-hour Avraam Papadopoulos put through his own net to open the scoring.

Henrique fashioned a fine equaliser before the interval, after which Brisbane slowly but surely were overpowered by a Wellington side in which Sarpreet Singh was very much on song.

He was instrumental in their impressive second half showing, Wellington’s three goals in the last fifteen minutes condemning Brisbane to a fourth straight loss. Substitute David Williams curled the home team back in front in the 75th minute, before Roy Krishna potted a penalty five minutes later.

Singh struck a goal his performance richly merited in stoppage time, beating Jamie Young at his near post with a free-kick after Brisbane’s two-man defensive wall had parted like the Red Sea to allow the delivery to proceed goalwards.

That result lifted Wellington into a share of fourth spot with Melbourne City. In the final game of the round, Adelaide United had the chance to make it a three-way tie in that position at Coopers Stadium, where the game kicked off in 33C heat.

Western Sydney Wanderers had other ideas, however, Oriol Riera giving them the lead on the stroke of half-time, firing home the rebound after Paul Izzo had parried his penalty.

The first fifteen minutes of the second half can most kindly be described as eventful! Within three minutes of the resumption of play, Nikola Mileusnic levelled the scores, then fired Adelaide in front ten minutes into the half.

Five minutes later, Jordan Elsey committed his second bookable offence, reducing United to ten men, and the visitors were swift to take advantage, Bruce Kamau restoring parity once more.

Despite their numerical inferiority, Adelaide were able to keep Wests at bay thereafter, the final 2-2 scoreline serving neither side well in terms of their respective pursuits of the top rung on the league ladder.

Central Coast Mariners’ season of woe continued unabated in the F3 derby at Central Coast Stadium, where Newcastle Jets came from behind to prevail 2-1 in front of 8,923 fans, many of them travelling supporters.

Roy O’Donovan’s return from his lengthy suspension gave the home team cause for optimism, which was further boosted nine minutes before half-time when Matt Simon headed Central Coast in front.

Connor Pain squandered a great chance to double the lead just after the hour mark, and Newcastle didn’t give their hosts another opportunity to contemplate victory, instead grabbing it themselves via a Jason Hoffman header from a corner half-way through the second spell, and an accomplished finish from Ronny Vargas eight minutes from time.

The New Year round of action kicks off on Friday night with the form teams in the league, Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix, squaring off at AAMI Park, twenty-four hours before Sydney and Brisbane meet at Jubilee Stadium.

On Sunday evening, Newcastle’s encounter with Adelaide at McDonald Jones Stadium will be in the spotlight, while Perth head to Central Coast Stadium to take on the Mariners on New Year’s Eve.

Western Sydney and Melbourne City kick off A-League action in 2019 at ANZ Stadium, while Newcastle and Brisbane are in action again on the evening of January 2, at McDonald Jones Stadium.

As this is the last round review for 2018, I’ll take this opportunity to wish all site visitors a Happy New Year.

Match Details:

Adelaide United FC 2 (N. Mileusnic (48, 55)) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2 (O. Riera (45), B. Kamau (61)); HT 0-1

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (M. Simon (36)) – Newcastle United Jets FC 2 (J. Hoffman (66), R. Vargas (82)); HT 1-0

Melbourne City FC 1 (D. Vidosic (90)) – Melbourne Victory FC 1 (O. Toivonen (55)); HT 0-0

Perth Glory FC 1 (C. Ikonomidis (90)) – Sydney FC 2 (A. Le Fondre (18), D. Da Silva (87)); HT 0-1

Wellington Phoenix FC 4 (“oggie” (36), D. Williams (75), R. Krishna (80 pen), S. Singh (90)) – Brisbane Roar FC 1 (Henrique (45)); HT 1-1

League Ladder:
https://www.a-league.com.au/ladder
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W-League Season 11

Results Round 8
https://www.w-league.com.au/fixtures#!/results/s2018/r8

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

Y-League Season

Results
https://www.y-league.com.au/