Round 4 Review: City and Sydney set up Top-Of-Table tussle

by Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

HAL Round Review

Wins for Melbourne City and Sydney FC in the fourth round of Hyundai A-League action over the course of the last weekend in October has set up their top-of-the-table tussle on Friday evening.

Sydney’s 2-0 win over Perth Glory, realised in front of 10,063 fans at Allianz Stadium, would have been far greater but for an outstanding display of goalkeeping by Liam Reddy.

It took two penalties to eventually settle the contest, Adrian Mierzejewski potting the second in second half injury time after Bobo, who had earlier hit the crossbar from the spot, was eventually allowed to convert a first half stoppage time spot-kick to open the scoring.

Video Assistant Referee Strebre Delovski abused the privilege of the role by taking four minutes to make a ruling on an element of the foul which prompted the penalty to be awarded by referee Shaun Evans.

The VAR also came under fire during Saturday night’s clash at Westpac Stadium, where 7,018 fans saw Wellington Phoenix squander a three-goal lead earned inside the first twenty minutes to draw 3-3 with Brisbane Roar.

Andrija Kaludjerovic gave the home team the ideal start when heading home the opener exactly sixty seconds after the game kicked off, and nineteen minutes later netted Wellington’s third goal, capping off a fine four-man move which featured a measured low cross to the far post from Roy Krishna.

Just three minutes earlier, the Fijian flyer nearly lifted the lid off The Caketin with a fulminating thirty yard missile which fair screamed into the top near corner of Michael Theo’s net – it was worth the admission money to see that goal alone!

An offside call by the VAR thwarted Michael McGlinchey’s hopes of making it 4-0 six minutes before half-time, one of the few occasions in this match when the use of technology was both merited and timely.

On the stroke of half-time, Brisbane dragged themselves back into the contest through Massimo Maccarone, and just after the hour mark they reduced the margin to one goal when Fahid Ben Khalfallah’s free-kick was tipped onto the near post by Keegan Smith, with Avram Papadopoulos first to react to the rebound, much to the young ‘keeper’s frustration.

Another Khalfallah free-kick brought out the best in Smith minutes later, but he was to be beaten a third time, Maccarone doing the honours from the penalty spot eight minutes from time to set up a grandstand finish.

Only a deflection and the width of a post prevented Brisbane from completing the most amazing of comebacks in stoppage time, with Dylan Fox diverting Khalfallah’s shot onto the upright, the rebound from which ricocheted past the upright off the incoming figure of Eric Bautheac, much to the relief of the home side, who lost their self-belief after going three goals up. It nearly cost them the match.

Later that evening, two goals in the first sixteen minutes from Ross McCormack – the first a penalty, the second a free-kick – earned Melbourne City their fourth win from as many matches as they saw off a stubborn Adelaide United combination 2-0 in front of 11,689 fans at Coopers Stadium.

Eugene Galekovic kept United at bay soon after with a brilliant fingertip save to deny Ben Warland, while after the interval, the home team’s hopes were boosted when Osama Malik committed his second bookable offence, reducing City to ten for the duration.

It was the ten men who went closest to scoring again, however, Iacopo La Rocca hitting the post before Stefan Mauk went desperately close with a chipped effort ten minutes from the end of a contest in which Mauk, Warland and Nikola Mileusnic went ever so close to reducing the deficit for the beaten team.

On Sunday evening, Newcastle Jets were held to a 1-1 stalemate at McDonald Jones Stadium by the league’s draw specialists, Western Sydney Wanderers, with the 11,468 fans in attendance seeing both teams maintain their unbeaten starts to the campaign.

Mark Bridge belted home a beauty from the edge of the box to put the visitors in front on the quarter hour, but the home team came on strong, and after Andrew Nabbout had been denied a goal by the offside flag, Dimitri Petratos squared the ledger half-way through the second half after Vedran Janjetovic could only parry a piledriver from Roy O’Donovan.

Just 5,519 fans converged upon Central Coast Stadium for the final game of the round, with Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory sharing the spoils in another 1-1 affair, this one seeing the woodwork taking a pounding.

Thomas Deng hit the post for the visitors in the first spell, while after he had opened the scoring for the home team with a terrific strike just before the hour mark, former Melbourne striker Connor Pain was denied a second goal by the upright, soon after the visitors had levelled in style through Leroy George’s superb free-kick.

Both teams went all out for the winner, but it was Central Coast who came closest to snaring it, substitute Kwabena Appiah-Kubi foiled by the post as he looked to clinch all three points for the natives.

Next week is the Melbourne Cup weekend round, which means a Monday night clash between Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney at Etihad Stadium after the round is kicked off across town at AAMI Park on Friday evening as Melbourne City entertain Sydney in an eagerly awaited top-of-the-table encounter.

In between times, Newcastle and Wellington clash at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday evening, prior to the clash of Perth and Adelaide at NIB Stadium. And on Sunday night, the paths of Brisbane and Central Coast cross at Suncorp Stadium.

by Jeremy Ruane

Match details

Adelaide United FC 0 – Melbourne City FC 2 (R. McCormack (11 pen, 16)); HT 0-2

Sydney FC 2 (Bobo (45 pen), A. Mierzejewksi (90 pen)) – Perth Glory FC 0; HT 1-0

Wellington Phoenix FC 3 (A. Kaludjerovic (1, 20), R. Krishna (17)) – Brisbane Roar FC 3 (M. Maccarone (45, 82 pen), A. Papadopoulos (66)); HT 3-1

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (C. Pain (58)) – Melbourne Victory FC 1 (L. George (65)); HT 0-0

Newcastle United Jets 1 (D. Petratos (68)) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (M. Bridge (16)); HT 0-1

League ladder

P W D L F A GD Pts

Melbourne City 4 4 0 0 7 1 +6 12
Sydney FC 4 3 1 0 8 4 +4 10
Newcastle Jets 4 2 2 0 10 5 +5 8
Western Sydney 4 1 3 0 7 6 +1 6
Adelaide United 4 1 2 1 5 6 -1 5
Perth Glory 4 1 1 2 5 7 -2 4
Wellington Phoenix 4 0 2 2 6 8 -2 2
Melbourne Victory 4 0 2 2 4 6 -2 2
Central Coast 4 0 2 2 5 10 -5 2
Brisbane Roar 4 0 1 3 5 9 -4 1

W-League Round 1

Sydney FC 1 (Emily Sonnett 80′) – Brisbane Roar FC 3 (Katrina-Lee Gorry 1, Allira Toby 37′, 84′)

Perth Glory FC 4 (Sam Kerr 4′, Rachel Hill 74′, 90+3′, Nicola Bolger 83′) – Melbourne City FC 1 (Kyah Simon 48′)

Melbourne Victory FC 2 (Kristen McNabb 6′, Natasha Dowie 63′) – Camberra United FC (Michelle Heyman 25′)

Newcastle United Jets FC 2 (Katie Stengel 14′, Jenna Kingsley 78′) – Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 (Erica Halloway 77′)