The A League sprang back into action after a break to avoid clashing with the vast majority of the Asian Cup. Strangely it started back during the last week of the competition but at least it gave most of the players a decent break and gave some of the clubs a much needed chance to regroup and rejig their roster of players.
One of the clubs most in need of the break were Newcastle Jets who faced up to Adelaide Utd away at Coopers Stadium in the first game back. The clubs ownership “sacked” five players and three coaches during the break with an eye to changing their fortunes in the second half of the season but maybe it backfired with Adelaide romping home 7-0 and Newcastle giving a masterclass in how not to defend.
Braces from Bruce Djite and Marcello Carrusca (1 pen) as well as goals from Nigel Boogaard, Sergio Cirio (pen) and Isaias Sanchez made for an embarrassing day out in South Australia for the Jets. Djite opened the scoring in the first minute and a further three goals in a thirteen minute first half spell including the Carrusca brace, meant a 4-0 half time score.
Adelaide didn’t ease off in the second half and added the seventh in the second minute of added time with the goal of the game, a curling right footed effort to the top corner by Sanchez. So back to the drawing board for the Jets but Adelaide will be grateful to boost their goal difference after so many games this season where they have outplayed the opposition but not had their dominance reflected on the scoreline.
Next up were another team who struggled a little before the break namely Central Coast Mariners who played host to Sydney FC at Central Coast Stadium. Again the break didn’t seem to do the Mariners any favours as the visitors went on the rampage to head south with a 5-1 win. Marc Janko collected a brace, both gifts from a woeful home defence, Christopher Naumoff, Bernie Ibini and Alex Brosque all notched for the visitors.
Naumoff slotted home a nice far post side footed volley from twelve yards, Ibini controlled and turned twenty five yards out before carrying forward and coolly finding the corner for the pick of the Sky Blue goals. Possibly the most remarkable goal of the game came from the Mariners, Josh Rose broke from just outside his own box following a Sydney corner, his run took him the entire length of the pitch before drawing the keeper and squaring to Travis Major to roll home.
League leaders Perth Glory hosted Melbourne Victory in the pick of games from this round at NIB Stadium and honours were shared with a 3-3 draw. Remarkably the visitors were leading 3-1 until the seventy ninth minute but Perth are made of stern stuff and managed to claim a last gasp equaliser.
One of Victory’s best performers this season has been Fahid Ben Khalfallah and he found the top corner from the edge of the D after a nice link up with Gui Finkler in the eighteenth minute. Andy Keogh dragged the scores level with a twenty second minute penalty after Chris Harold went down under the challenge of Nathan Coe, for his ninth goal of the season.
Besart Berisha put Victory ahead again in the forty second minute after an incisive ball into the box from Ben Khalfallah. Things got even better for the visitors in the fifty seventh minute when Kosta Barbarouses got in behind the Perth backline, he tried to square to Berisha only to See Josh Risdon cut out the cross but inadvertently pass the ball back to Barbarouses to slot home from close range. Royston Griffith got the West Australians back on track when he headed home from a seventy eighth minute corner.
Just when it looked like Melbourne would close the gap and hang on to the win, Jamie Maclaren tore away down the outside right channel before arrowing in to the box and shooting to the far corner in the eighty ninth minute. If Perth do win the league and it is looking increasingly likely they will their cussedness and determination to get something from every game will be what the award was built upon.
Melbourne City took on Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park as they looked to consolidate their grip on sixth place and guarantee finals football at the close of the season. The home team claimed the spoils with a 2-1 win and Wanderers still search for their first league win of the season which is inexplicable for a team who are the reigning Asian champions.
Wanderers opened the scoring in just the fifth minute with a goal direct from a free kick by Jojiro Takahagi. His low effort evaded everyone in the box to somehow find the net. Jacob Melling got City back on level terms in the twenty fifth minute Robert Koren sent Aaron Mooy in behind the Wanderers backline and his pull back was headed home by Melling. Mooy got the winner in the seventy third minute when he curled home Jason Hoffmans cross. The battle between Brisbane and City for the sixth spot on the ladder will go all the way to the wire.
To close out the round Brisbane Roar hosted Wellington Phoenix at Suncorp Stadium and the home team got the points courtesy of a 3-2 win. The game was scoreless at half time but Roy Krishna put the visitors ahead in the fiftieth minute.
Nathan Burns did the donkey work down the right before feeding Krishna and he duly scored his sixth goal of the season. Roar got back on level terms ten minutes later when a Thomas Brioch corner was headed home by James Donachie. Brandon Borrello got on the end of a defence splitting pass to put the hosts ahead in the seventy sixth minute.
The second half had more twists in store as the Nix got back to 2-2 just five minutes later when Kenny Cunningham blocked Michael Theo’s attempted clearance to deflect the ball into the net. Surely that was it but no the Roar claimed the winner in the second minute of added time when Jean Carlos Solozarno slotted home a Jerome Polenz cross.
What have we learned?
That Australia are unquestionably the strongest footballing nation in this part of the world with reigning champs at both club and national level he says with just a touch of tongue in cheek.
Next A League fixtures
Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar
Central Coast Mariners v Adelaide United
Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City
Perth Glory v Sydney FC
Western Sydney Wanderers v Wellington Phoenix