Melbourne show Heart as Brisbane Roar on, Week 17 Wrap-up

A-League

Melbourne Heart 2-1 Sydney FC

Melbourne Heart 2-1 Sydney FC

J. Germano 52’              C Gameiro 39’

D Williams 89’                                        

O Engelaar RED CARD 33’                                                               

CROWD: 7,674

This one kicked off the weekend’s action and what a game and fightback for rock bottom Melbourne Heart.  This was the Heart’s first home game since their takeover by Manchester City and there were some isolated protests amongst the ultra’s regarding plans to change the club’s name and colours (in line with Man City’s).  Heart’s marquee man Orlando Engelaar suffered a harsh call in the 33rd minute with his lunging tackle being awarded a red card.  Sydney FC pounced whilst Heart were recovering from that blow and a flowing movement down the left that lead to Corey Gameiro poking one in from close range.  Melbourne didn’t shy away from the contest though and just like last week showed a renewed sense of urgency and Germano pegged one back early in the 2nd half.  It was to be this fighting spirit that ultimately shone through as David Williams outpaced a tired Sydney defence late on to snatch this one for the Heart for just their 2nd win of the season.  Sydney perhaps were a bit complacent in this one after their big win last week and suffered the consequences and Frank Farina just can’t get any consistency out of his side.

Perth Glory 1-1 Melbourne Victory

D Sernas 50’              G Finkler (P) 37’

CROWD: 10,151

Both teams were coming off the back of heavy losses in the previous round and this lack of confidence was evident early on in a cagey affair.  Victory gave a start to their loan star Tom Rogic (Celtic) and he was at the heart of everything good for them with his excellent touch and silky movements. Perth hardman Jacob Burns was quick though to stop Rogic whenever he threatened to spark the game to life.  Melbourne hit the lead late in the 1st half via a penalty to Gui Finkler after a tug of the shirt in the box.  Perth hit back in the 2nd half though through their Lithuanian Sernas who hit one on debut.  A draw was a fair result in this one and both teams need to find some form soon.

Wellington Phoenix 2-1 Adelaide Utd

C Hernandez (P) 22’              A Mabil 90

K Cunningham 44’                                       

CROWD: 18,056

Wellington is the form side of the league at present and they took this home game on the road to Auckland and drew a good crowd for their latest victory.  Adelaide was rocked in the lead up to this game with midfielder Steven Lustica requesting and being granted a release from his contract. Wellington were simply too good for Adelaide in the first half and the only surprise was that the scoreline at halftime wasn’t bigger than the 2 goal margin.  Wellington’s goals came from their Costa Rican imports with Carlos Hernandez converting a penalty and Kenny Cunningham finishing off a mazy run just before half-time. They took their foot off the pedal in the 2nd half a bit but were never really troubled by Adelaide who did get a late consolation through Awer Mabil.

Newcastle Jets 2-2 Western Sydney Wanderers

A Taggart 27’, 90’             A Mooy 45’

                                             M Beauchamp 66’

J Griffiths RED CARD 90’

CROWD: 15,924 

Out of form Newcastle got a last minute equaliser at home to the Wanderers to give rookie manager Clayton Zane some confidence.  The Jets suffered a late blow with Emile Heskey ruled out just before kick off and so it was left to Adam Taggart to lead the line to see if he could revive his early season goal scoring prowess.  He didn’t let the home crowd down though with a stunning goal in the 27th minute.  Western Sydney though are a classy outfit and dominated possession for the rest of the half and their efforts were rewarded with a great free kick by Aaron Mooy on the stroke of half time.  Recalled captain Michael Beauchamp then stabbed one home from close range in the 66th minute and the Wanderers thought they’d done enough to get a win that would allow them to close the gap to Brisbane to 2 points.  It wasn’t to be however as a late goalmouth scramble saw Taggart get his brace for a share of the points.  Returning hero Joel Griffiths was then sent off in stoppage time for dissent after being not to pleased after an altercation with Ante Covic, the keeper for Western Sydney.

Brisbane Roar 2-1 Central Coast Mariners

Henrique 66’                      M Sterjovski (P) 36’

B Berisha 90’                                                             

CROWD: 16,078

It was left to 2 old foes to finish off the round at Suncorp Stadium, where Brisbafamously beat the Mariners 3 years ago almost to the day in that thrilling Grand Final.  Central Coast have slowly been climbing the table of late but were dealt 2 big blows on transfer deadline day with Trent Sainsbury (PEC Zwolle) and Daniel McBreen (Shanghai SIPC) leaving the club.  The news was tempered slightly in the incoming of Eddy Bosnar, but he was not ready for this clash.  With the Wanderers dropping points the night before this was a big chance for Brisbane to extend their lead at the top of the table and also for the Mariners to take 2nd spot with a win.  In the warm Brisbane sun it the Mariners who were able to nullify Brisbane’s passing game in the first 1st half.  Star striker Besart Berisha was playing his first game since announcing that he was leaving the club at the end of the season to join Melbourne Victory and he looked nervous early on.  Indeed Brisbane should have taken the lead on 36 minutes but Berisha’s airswing with the goal wide open then resulted in Central Coast breaking and Mile Sterjovski being fouled by the Brisbane keeper Michael Theo.  Sterjovski converted the spot kick and the Mariners lead at the break.  As is usually the case though, Brisbane don’t stay down for long and after dominating possession in the 2nd half, Mike Mulvey made an attacking change by bringing the Brazilian Henrique on and straight away he finished a sweeping move for the equaliser.  Central Coast then seemed to park the bus and seemed content to settle for a point.   Mulvey again made an attacking change late in the 2nd half by bringing on the returning Costa Rican Solarzano as a second striker and the pressure told with that man Berisha finding some space on the stroke of full time to slot the ball home for the winner.  It was suggested that the Brisbane crowd might act indifferently to Berisha in this game but there was no sign of this as the home crowd heartily celebrated their Albanian striker and the 3 points that takes them 7 points clear at the top.

STANDINGS

140202 - A-League

League table courtesy of FIFA.com

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