A-League Finals: Week 1 Round Up

by Neil Sherwin

There were wins for Brisbane Roar, Adelaide United and Gold Coast United on the opening weekend of the Hyundai A-league’s finals series.

With a spot in the Grand Final up for grabs, Minor Premiers Brisbane have the upper hand on Central Coast Mariners having won 2-0 away from home in the first leg of their tie thanks to goals from Kostas Barbarouses and skipper Matt McKay. The Mariners can feel unlucky not to have at least registered on the scoresheet as they struck the woodwork three times.

After a goalless first half, the Roar scored on 52 minutes when McKay pounced on a loose pass in midfield to dispossess John Hutchinson and feed Barbarouses, allowing the in form Kiwi to fire past Matt Ryan from the edge of the area. The same pair combined for the second goal with McKay scoring a header from Barbarouses’ dangerous right wing cross.

Despite the commanding position his side finds themselves in, Roar coach Ange Postecoglu doesn’t believe that the job done yet.

“We did what we had to and scored two quality goals,” he said. 

“We worked hard to keep the opposition out. It’s half-time, that’s the way we’re treating it.”

A single strike from captain Travis Dodd saw Adelaide United overcome Wellington Phoenix on a wet and windy Friday night at Hindmarsh Stadium. He linked up with top goalscorer Sergio van Dijk to split the Nix defence before beating goalkeeper Danny Vukovic with a neat finish.

“It was not easy,” said United head coach Rini Coolen. “The surface was ok but it was tough for the players, especially at the end of the game.

“I think we deserved the win, it was a real open game, the first goal could have also been scored by Wellington, so it was not a game we controlled for the whole 90 minutes.”

On Sunday, a Dino Djulbic header was enough to give Gold Coast United their first ever finals win as they saw off Melbourne Victory 1-0 at Skilled Park. The game looked destined for extra time until the big centre half rose highest to meet Peter Perchtold’s corner and score past Michael Petkovic in the 91st minute.

“Last year we were knocked out in the first round of the finals and now we went one stage forward,” said Gold Coast boss Miron Bleiberg after the game.

“At least we can look back and say over two years, we finished top four twice and made the second round of the finals, which is satisfactory.”

Adelaide and Gold Coast now meet at Hindmarsh Stadium in South Australia this weekend with the winner facing off against the loser of the Roar/Mariners tie. The winner of that game will claim the other spot in the Grand Final which takes place on Saturday, 12 March 2011.

Finals Week 2

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Adelaide United v Gold Coast United