How your team fared and who made the headlines from the weekend’s round in the Hyundai A-League.
It was a night to forget for the Jets, trounced 4-0 by champions Brisbane at Hunter Stadium on Friday. Coach Phil Stubbins slammed the performance as embarrassing and it’s hard to argue, with the home side never seriously threatening the Roar’s goal in a forgettable 90 minutes. The only positive being the first appearance of the season for new recruits Billy Celeski and Adrian Madaschi, who will be important players for the side once the pair get match fit.
Brisbane Roar FC
Roar finally found their mojo after a horror opening month to get their season up and running. Brazilian Henrique came off the bench to score a superb hat-trick while underrated midfielder Steven Lustica grabbed the other in the 4-0 thumping. It won’t just be the four goals which will have impressed coach Mike Mulvey but also the clean sheet, after his side had struggled at the back in the first four rounds. The emphatic win should ease some of the pressure on Mulvey and his squad, but it might just be a little too early to declare them back to their best. This Friday’s clash with Melbourne Victory will give a better indication.
The Reds capped a busy eight days with a gritty come-from-behind 2-1 win over Wellington at a wet Coopers Stadium on Saturday. Known for their slick passing and build-up play it was two set-pieces that got the three points for Josep Gombau’s side. A bullet header from Nigel Boogaard – his first goal in almost five years – and a smart finish from the in-form Sergio Cirio at the death means the Reds are up to second spot. An injury which forced playmaker Marcelo Carrusca from the field is the only concern but they have an eight-day break before their trip to the Central Coast next weekend.
While Phoenix will be kicking themselves for throwing away a point in stoppage time, coach Ernie Merrick shouldn’t lose too much heart from his side’s performance. With four players away on Kiwi international duty, they still more than matched the high-flying Reds. Roy Krishna made the most of a rare start with an eye-catching performance on the left wing while Roly Bonevacia will be boosted by his first Hyundai A-League goal.
The under-strength Sky Blues remain unbeaten after playing out a 0-0 draw with an equally decimated Melbourne Victory at Allianz Stadium. Goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic deserves much of the credit for pulling off a string of fine saves, especially in the first half. Sydney was nowhere near their best but showed enough resilience to keep the visitors at bay to record their fourth consecutive clean sheet.
Victory only have themselves to blame for not taking all three points. Besart Berisha, Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Archie Thompson were all guilty of some poor finishing, much to the frustration of coach Kevin Muscat. But with as many as six regular starters unavailable, it was a performance which pleased the boss and will strike fear into their rivals. Youngsters Rashid Mahazi, Dylan Murnane and Jesse Makarounas all impressed in rare starts. The visit of resurgent champions Brisbane on Friday night promises to be an absolute cracker.
Glory stayed top of the Hyundai A-League with a strong 2-1 win over ACL champions Western Sydney Wanderers FC at nib Stadium.Defender Dino Djulbic scored his first goal for the club with a powerful header while left-back Scott Jamieson followed the example of team-mate Nebojsa Marinkovic by curling in a sensational free-kick. Youssouf Hersi had his best game in Glory colours – against his former club – and they did it without Mitch Nichols and Jamie Maclaren on international duty. With a Westfield FFA Cup final to come next month, are the glory days back for Perth?
Western Sydney Wanderers FC
The Wanderers remain the only side in the Hyundai A-League without a point after slumping to a fourth straight defeat. Coach Tony Popovic took the gamble of keeping some of his stars on ice for the midweek clash with Central Coast and playing a number of youngsters. It didn’t pay off and now the Kings of Asia have plenty of work to do just to stay in touch with the top six. The Wanderers do have two games in hand and expect the likes of Ante Covic, Tomi Juric, Matthew Spiranovic and Iacopo La Rocca to return for games against the Mariners and Newcastle at Wanderland over the next seven days.
City were cruising against the Mariners with 12 minutes left, up 2-0 and on track for back-to-back wins thanks to goals from Mate Dugandzic and Erik Paartalu. But John van’t Schip’s side were unable to hold on in the closing stages and had to settle for a point. Short-term signing Liam Miller looks like a good acquisition and did well on his City debut, while youngster Jacob Melling looks a star of the future in a man-of-the-match performance. But defensive lapses are becoming a habit for City which must be a concern ahead of next weekend’s clash with unbeaten Sydney.
Central Coast Mariners
The Mariners showed all the traits we’ve come to expect over the last few seasons, drawing on all their spirit and resolve to salvage a draw with two goals in the last 11 minutes. In a week of some sublime free-kicks, Glen Trifiro put his own forward with a stunning curling effort to kick-start the comeback before captain courageous John Hutchinson’s pile-driver in stoppage-time snapped the club’s four-game losing streak. Set-piece defending was again a problem for Phil Moss’s side, something they must address ahead of Wednesday night’s battle with the desperate Wanderers.
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