There was only 4 games this weekend but no lack of drama.
Adelaide United 2-0 Central Coast Mariners
Adelaide’s surge up the ladder continued this weekend with a fairly comfortable home victory against the Central Coast Mariners. This game was subject to a pitch inspection before kick-off due to heavy rain in Adelaide but the conditions didn’t slow down Adelaide’s passing game and they were far too slick for a pedestrian Mariners outfit. The Argentine Carrusca opened the scoring after 33 minutes when he was left unmarked in the box and allowed all the time in the world to stroke the ball home. Things got better for the home-side when they finished off a sweeping movement up the field for Fabio Ferreira to finish. Adelaide comfortably held on in the 2nd half to surge up to 3rd place on the ladder and are very much the team in form. Central Coast lose their 3rd on the bounce now and coach Phil Moss needs to address the slide quickly to shore up a Play-Off spot.
Talking Point – How high can Adelaide finish in the table now?
Sydney FC 2-1 Perth Glory
Crisis club Sydney FC bought their under-fire coach Frank Farina another week with a spirited win against Perth Glory. All the talk in the lead up to this game was of the fan protests of the previous week and whether Farina would be sacked. At one stage it seemed like Alessando Del Piero was lined up to coach the team but in the end Farina survived and got the win against a poor Perth side. As always when Sydney win Del Piero was the main man and his through ball allowed the Serbian Despotovic to sweep home on 16 minutes. Sydney then rode their luck for the rest of the half with Perth coming close from a few set pieces. Mid-way through the second half Terry Antonis marked his comeback after 11 months out with injury with a great individual effort to put Sydney 2 up. Its been a tough few months for Antonis who saw his dream move to Serie A club Parma scuppered by injury and paperwork and it was good to see him back on the pitch and doing well. Perth hit back after Sydney’s goal with a header from a free kick to new signing Rostyn Griffiths. In the end Sydney held on for a vital win.
Talking Point – There seems to be an uneasy truce in Sydney for now but how long will it be before Perth fans starting protesting against their underachieving side?
Wellington Phoenix 0-5 Melbourne Heart
A resurgent Melbourne Heart travelled across the Tasman Sea to play the Wellington Phoenix in a battle of the in-form sides. The previous hapless Heart obliterated the home side with a 5-0 win sparked by a hat-trick to David Williams. The Heart started the scoring off early on when marquee man Orlando Engelaar blasted the ball in the back of the net from just outside the box, with the shot nearly breaking the net. Engelaar then turned provider 10 minutes later as a free kick over the top allowed Williams to chip over the advancing keeper to double the lead. Melbourne continued their scoring early in the second half as a shell-shocked Wellington succumbed to a great passing movement and Williams finished off a one-two with Mass Murdocca. Rob Wielaert then got in on the action a few minutes later as he slotted home after a ball from a corner wasn’t cleared properly. Williams then completed his hat-trick on 63minutes again from a corner as he placed a shot from outside the box after receiving the pass from a short corner. After going the first 14 rounds without a win the Heart are now five games undefeated.
Talking Point: Could the Heart scrape into the Play-offs? After suffering the worse start of any A-League team ever they are only seven points off a Top-6 spot.
Brisbane Roar 0-1 Newcastle Jets
Newcastle again proved to be Brisbane’s bogey side and came away from a steamy Suncorp Stadium with their 3rd win against the Roar this season. Half of Newcastle’s wins have come against the Roar this season and Mike Mulvey will be hoping his side doesn’t face Newcastle in the Play-Offs. Newcastle came into this game with a poor recent record but adapted to the hot conditions better than their hosts as they won every contest to stifle Brisbane’s play. Brisbane’s midfield didn’t gel at all in this encounter and were frequently dispossessed by the Jets who then launched counter-attacks through the excellent Adam Taggart and James Virgilli. Emile Heskey also returned to the side and won every aerial battle as Newcastle executed their game plan perfectly but ultimately won the game through a contentious penalty, which was converted by Taggart. Brisbane threw their attacking guns on late and Henrique hit the post at the death and this loss gives the chasing pack some hope with 8 games remaining.
Talking Point: The game saw the trial of a Japanese referee who seemed to not handle the much more physical style of play in the A-League. Is it a good idea to import foreign referees?
The other game from this round was played in early January when Melbourne Victory beat Western Sydney 3-1. The game was moved forward due to Melboune having to play Thai side Muangthong United in a playoff game to get into the Group Stages of the Asian Champions League. Melbourne were forced to move the game 100kms away in Geelong due to a Bruce Springsteen concert and the Thai team took advantage of early Melbourne nerves by stealing an early goal. Melbourne got into their rythem after that and should have equalised on half time by Mark Milligan missed a penalty. Melbourne eventually found the net through James Troisi in the 58th minute and despite the Thai’s refusing to give up they found the winner with 6 minutes to go through Leigh Broxham. Melbourne join Central Coast and Western Sydney in the group stages but they’ll need to play better than this to challenge the might of Guangzhou, Yokohama and Jeonbuk.
League table courtesy of FIFA.com
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