Five things we learned this week in the A-League

Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United games never disappoint

It’s been a difficult week for Australian sport following the tragic passing of cricketer Phillip Hughes but Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United did their best to lift the nation’s spirits with a humdinger of a contest on Friday night.

The sides have enjoyed a healthy rivalry since the inaugural A-League season almost a decade ago both currently boast two of the competition’s best squads.

The first half of this particular game produced five goals in the opening 37 minutes, with Victory claiming a 3-2 advantage thanks in large part to two Adelaide own goals by Nigel Boogard and Cirio.

 

Hard working utility man Leigh Broxham also found the net for Victory between the pair of own goals, while Awer Mabil and Marcelo Carrusca scored for United at the right end.

While they were no further goals after the half time break, it was still a captivating contest and Victory supporters were delighted to get a win in what was also a game to mark the club’s ten year anniversary.

It’s been a big week for us and it’s a big occasion with the ten years, The crowd was wonderful and I’m glad to take the three points.

– Melbourne Victory captain Mark Milligan

Perth Glory need to learn to kill off games

Even though they continue to sit top of the table after eight rounds, Perth Glory still have room for improvement.

Having looked comfortable for the majority of their game against Brisbane Roar, they allowed Brazilian striker Henrique too much room and he finished well to claim a 1-1 draw.

Glory went in front in the first half thanks to superb volley from centre half Dino Djulbic and wasted a number of good chances to put the result beyond doubt.

 

Henrique’s goal was the third time in as many games that Glory have conceded a goal after the 80th minute, and while they didn’t drop any points on the previous two occasions, this one hurt.

It was the Roar’s first game since Mike Mulvey’s sacking and interim coach Frans Thijssen will have been happy to avoid defeat in front of the club’s own supporters.

The Sydney Derby is a great advertisement for Australian football

The rivalry is still very young but there can be no denying the intensity before, during and after games between the Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC, with Saturday’s clash another captivating affair.

The sides played out a 1-1 draw at Pirtek Stadium as young national team strikers Tomi Juric and Bernie Ibini got on the scoresheet in the first half, meaning Wanderers, named the AFC Team of the Year this week, have still to win an A-League game this season.

There have been calls to move the Wanderers’ home derbies from the 21,500 capacity Pirtek to somewhere bigger, namely ANZ Stadium (83,500), to avoid locking out thousands of supporters who want to get amongst what is always an excellent atmosphere.

 

The visiting Sydney FC suffered a massive blow in the first half of the game when a poor challenge by Iacopo La Rocca left Ali Abbas with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, meaning he will be unable to represent Iraq at the Asian Cup in January.

The Sky Blues’ CEO Tony Pignata was disgusted with some of the abuse directed at Abbas by Wanderers fans both at the ground and on social media in the aftermath of the injury.

It’s the second ACL injury to hit the club in a couple of weeks after promising youngster Corey Gameiro did his while on international duty.

The ghost of Melbourne Heart lingers around woeful City

Big things were expected of Melbourne City following their acquisition by Manchester City’s owners, so much so that some bookies had them listed as favourites to take out the title.

That show of faith has turned out to be horribly misplaced as the team continues to struggle, going down 5-1 to the Wellington Phoenix in their latest outing.

Too many eggs were put in the David Villa basket but now that he has jumped ship, the squad’s deficiencies are even more apparent than before.

 

For their part, the Nix were good value for the win having weathered a bit of storm from City early on and Nathan Burns netted the first hattrick in the club’s history.

Midfielder Roly Bonevacia was dominant throughout and his performance got the goal its deserved, while the impressive Fijian Roy Krishna got on the scoresheet with an impressive solo goal.

The concern with the Kiwis is always their away form but they will fancy their chances of taking something out of their trip to the Newcastle Jets next weekend.

There is a massive gulf in class between the best and worst sides

A significant gap is starting to open up between the top and bottom halves of the table, with fifth place Wellington Phoenix now six points ahead of the Central Coast Mariners who occupy the last finals spot at the moment.

The Mariners travelled to Hunter Stadium on Sunday to take on the Newcastle Jets in the F3 Derby and, bar a short spell just after half time, it was a turgid affair.

After a horrendous first half, the game finally came to life on 48 minutes when Edson Montano netted for the Jets but their lead lasted just seven minutes as Richard Vernes was on hand to convert a cross from Michael Neill.

 

Jets playmaker Marcos Flores came closest to restoring his side’s lead as he rattled the woodwork, while defenders Josh Rose somehow missed from close range for the visitors.

The Mariners and Jets have won just one game between them so far this season, and on this evidence it’s not hard to see why.

Author Details

Neil Sherwin
Neil Sherwin

Co-editor of BackPageFootball.com. Writes mostly on Premier League and A-League with contributions to other sites including TheFootballSack, InBedWithMaradona and Bloomberg's BSports. Has featured on The Guardian's Football Weekly.

Leave a Reply