Australia: A-League Review: Round Two

 

by Louis Gillett

MISFIRING WANDERERS MANAGE A POINT

Adelaide United 1 (Andreu OG ’21) Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Andreu ’83)

Crowd: 9442 at Coopers Stadium, Adelaide.

Spanish midfielder Andreu managed the uncommon feat of scoring at both ends in Western Sydney’s 1-1 draw against Adelaide at Coopers Stadium.

The former Sporting Gijon midfielder was left red-faced in the 21st minute when he inadverdently turned a cross from Reds fullback Tarek Elrich into his own net.

However, he managed to redeem himself seven minutes from time, lashing home past John Hall after a botched clearance from none other than Elrich, who was visibly disappointed with his efforts.

While the Wanderers ended up with less possession, it was deja vu for Tony Popovic’s men, with a myriad of missed shots and poor passes mirroring their efforts in last week’s abysmal home defeat to Brisbane Roar.

Dutch winger Romeo Castelen ran riot on the right flank, yet was unable to finish a catalogue of opportunites.

Western Sydney now look to next weeks derby clash with arch-rivals Sydney FC, while Adelaide will make the long trip to Perth to face the Glory.


 

SKY BLUES LEAVE IT LATE TO SHOOT DOWN JETS

Newcastle Jets 0 Sydney FC 1 (Brosque ’88)

Crowd: 12,173 at Hunters Stadium, Newcastle.

Sydney FC notched up their first three points of the season, with Alex Brosque’s late header proving the difference against a defiant Newcastle outfit.

Sky Blue Skipper Brosque headed home from Alex Gersbach’s right-sided corner with only two minutes left to play, just when it seemed the fixture was destined for a goalless draw.

The Sky Blues dominated proceedings against the defensive Jets, with the travellers enjoying the bulk of possession as well as 18 shots compared to Newcastle’s four.

There were ugly scenes in the 78th minute, when Sydney forward Shane Smeltz lunged for a through ball and ended up planting his studs in the face of sprawling Jets ‘keeper Mark Birighitti.

Birighitti had to be taken from the ground after losing several teeth in the clash, and required 30 stitches for the stomach-turning injury.

The Jets were left reeling at the full time whistle, with defender Jason Hoffman’s 36th minute goal incorrectly disallowed for offside leaving many Novocastrian supporters seething.


 

VICTORY CELEBRATES DERBY DELIGHT

Melbourne Victory 3 (Ben Khalfallah ’23, Barbarouses ’57, Berisha 90′) Melbourne City 2 (Fornaroli ’68, Mauk ’71).

Crowd: 40,217 at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne.

Melbourne Victory claimed bragging rights over Melbourne City in the latest edition of the Melbourne Derby, defeating their arch-rivals 3-2 thanks to a dramatic late goal from perennial forward Besart Berisha.

The current premiers and champions flew out of the gates at Etihad, and took the lead in the 23rd minute when Fahid Ben Khalfallah’s drive deflected off City defender Paulo Retre and looped into the net.

Victory cruised into half time on top, and doubled their lead in the 57th minute when Kosta Barbarouses headed home Ben Khalfallah’s pinpoint cross.

However, the Victory let their guard down, and City pounced astonishingly to level proceedings in a frantic three minutes.

An exquisite turn and finish from Uruguayan forward Bruno Fornaroli brought City to within one goal, before Stephen Mauk converted a breathtaking pass from Aaron Mooy to send the Citizens into delirium.

Just when it seemed City had done enough to earn a point, it was Besart Berisha who converted a late winner to seal the points for the Victory.

Young winner Connor Pain took on Retre and delivered a dangerous low cross, and Berisha beat Mooy to the ball to poke home and gain all three points.

The “boys in blue” have now won four of the five derbies since Melbourne City’s induction into the league.


 

BORRELLO ON THE DOUBLE IN ROAR VICTORY

Brisbane Roar 2 (Borrello ’14, ’60) Central Coast Mariners 1 (Bingham ’88)

Crowd: 14,471 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.

Brisbane’s Brandon Borrello struck on either side of half time to give the Roar their second win of the new season, edging the Mariners 2-1 at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

The young forward opened the scoring in the 14th minute, lashing a vicious drive past Liam Reddy after being found by an impressive pass from Jamie Maclaren.

Borello then scored what proved to be the match winner on the hour mark, again thanks to some impressive build up play from Maclaren.

The former Perth forward was released by Corona, and took on two defenders before playing a delightful through ball to Borrello, who finished with aplomb.

The Mariners managed to pull back a goal with 2 minutes to go, courtesy of young defender Josh Bingham, however it was a case of too little, too late for Tony Walmsley’s men.

The victory leaves Brisbane on top of the league standings as the only side with two wins to their name, a statistic that surely bodes well for new coach John Aloisi.


 

PHOENIX COMEBACK STUNS GLORY

Perth Glory 1 (Sandor ‘7) Wellington Phoenix 2 ( Krishna ‘9, Lia ’89)

Crowd: 8145 at NIB Stadium, Perth.

Wellington Phoenix left it late to seal a dramatic 2-1 victory over 10-man Perth Glory in the latest edition of what has been dubbed ‘The Distance Derby’.

Vince Lia scored the winning goal from a corner with one minute of regulation time left, five minutes after Glory captain Richard Garcia was sent off for a second bookable offence.

It was the Glory who started off the brightest at NIB Stadium, with new signing Gyorgy Sandor scoring his second goal in as many games for Kenny Lowe’s men after seven minutes.

Mitch Oxborrow’s corner was not cleared by the Nix defence, and Sandor was on hand to send his swerving left footed strike past a despairing Glen Moss.

Glory’s lead lasted only a matter of seconds, however, as pacey striker Roy Krishna put the visitors back on level terms.

Wellington playmaker Michael McGlinchey found the Fijian international with a sharp pass, and the latter danced past Michael Thwaite before unleashing a right footed strike into the far bottom corner.

The Phoenix took control of the contest, but were denied time and time again by a Glory defence keen to redeem themselves after last week’s leaky performance against the Mariners in Gosford.

The decisive moment came in the 84th minute, when Garcia was sent off for a reckless challenge on Wellington midfielder Alex Rodriguez.

The Glory clearly felt the loss of their captain, as Lia’s strike five minutes later sealed the points for the travellers, playing some 5,400 kilometres away from home.


 

HOT AND COLD: ROUND TWO

HOT

Big Game Berisha

There really is no one who thrives on the big stage more than Melbourne Victory hitman Besart Berisha. The Albanian striker, having scored in three grand finals for Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory, has also scored six goals in four derby matches against Melbourne City, equal with club legend Archie Thompson for most goals scored against their arch-rivals. It would be fair to say the Citizens won’t be looking forward to facing the league’s deadliest dangerman when the sides meet again in December and February.

Leavin’ it Late!

There will be a few coaches around the league reminding their side that football is a game of ninety minutes this week. As well as Berisha’s dramatic late winner in the Melbourne derby, Alex Brosque struck late to seal a win for City, while Western Sydney have Andreu to thank for an 83rd minute equaliser against the Reds. Josh Bingham almost ignited a Central Coast comeback with a late goal against the Roar, while Vince Lia’s 89th minute finish stole three points for Wellington.  Remember boys, it isn’t over till the fat lady sings! (no offence intended to the officials of the league, of course.)

Brisbane are Back

It’s been a few seasons now since the demise of the Roar team that won three championships in four years, and established themselves as the greatest side in the A-League’s short history. Having only made finals last year due to Perth Glory’s salary cap scandal, the Roar fans may have thought their era of success was coming to a close. However, with two wins from two games to start the season, hopes are higher than ever at Suncorp Stadium. New signings Jamie Maclaren and Corona have seamlessly slotted into the lineup, and the slick passing and movement that was a staple of Ange Postecoglu’s formidable ‘Roarcelona’ side all those years ago appear to have made a long-awaited return under John Aloisi. Keep an eye on Brissy as a contender for the ultimate prize this year.

COLD

GLORY GLOOM

It’s fair to say that the Glory faithful have had a year to forget in 2015. After the salary cap scandal saw the side expelled from playing finals football last season and ignited a mass player exodus, the embattled club have made a porous start to the new season, losing both matches against the Mariners and the Phoenix. New signings Guyon Fernandez and Diego Castro don’t appear to be adapting well to the Australian game, while the loss of captain Richard Garcia through suspension will undoubtedly hurt the Glory in next week’s math against Adelaide. The only silver lining for Kenny Lowe has been the output of Hungarian recruit Gyorgy Sandor, who has scored in both losses and appears to be a shrewd acquisition.

CITY NOT SO SLICK

John van’t Schip will be scratching his head trying to come up with a new formula to beat Melbourne Victory before their clash in December. Under his reign, City have only won a single match of five derbies, playing second fiddle to the premiership and championship-winning Victory. Even when it seemed they had done enough to gain a point on Saturday night, Berisha shattered hopes with his late winner, proving big-spending City has a fair way to go before they can match it with the boys in blue.

RYALL’S DIVE: THE SEQUEL

Most Melbourne Victory fans probably are probably familiar with the theatrics of Sydney defender Sebastian Ryall – his dive that won a penalty against the Victory last season was a talking point long after the final whistle. Well, it appears Ryall had not learned from the negative backlash he received on that day, unleashing a colossal flop in the 56th minute of the Sky Blue’s clash with Newcastle. Unfortunately for Ryall, the match officials did not buy into his claims for a penalty, and even gave him a yellow ticket for his troubles.

Even the Newcastle Jets Twitter Team couldn’t help but have a dig at his antics.

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