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Opinion

What happened? A-League Round 4

The Mariners' Milan Duric celebrates. (AAP Image/David Gray)
Roar Guru
4th November, 2019
1

There were a lot of issues that came to the fore following the completion of Round 4 of the A-League, with VAR unfortunately grabbing a lot of the headlines for all of the wrong reasons in the game between Melbourne City and Wellington Phoenix.

The referee awarded a penalty against Louis Fenton for what he perceived to be a handball. The ball clearly struck the chest of Fenton and ricocheted onto his arm inadvertently. The decision was upheld by the VAR when it appeared as if it should have been overturned.

But back to the football, there were 18 goals scored in five games in Round 4, despite the fact that there was a scoreless draw between the Western Sydney Wanderers and the Brisbane Roar thanks to the heroics of Western Sydney Wanderers goalkeeper Daniel Lopar.

Top two coaches
Alen Stajcic (Central Coast Mariners)
It was possibly the best tactical display of any coach this A-League season. It’s impossible to fault any of their players.

Mark Rudan (Western United)
Mark Rudan’s team showed true character to come back from a two-goal deficit against Melbourne Victory. It’s their application to the contest that Rudan would be most pleased about, as they stuck to the process and didn’t lose their belief in themselves.

Coach under the pump
Ernie Merrick is under pressure. The Newcastle Jets became the first team this season to lose a game by more than one goal against Sydney on Friday.

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Sydney FC versus Newcastle Jets
Sydney stun woeful Jets
The game was attacking and open, with two goals early on, one from either team. Adam Le Fondre made it two-one in Sydney’s favour thanks to a clinical assist from Rhyan Grant. Sydney controlled the game as far as possession was concerned. They extended their lead to three goals thanks to two in the second half, with the Newcastle Jets not offering resistance.

Magic moment: Paulo Retre prevented a possible goal from Abdiel Arroyo with a brilliant tackle in the first half.

Who stood out from the pack? Rhyan Grant finished the game with two assists. Grant was outstanding.

What went right? Luke Brattan provided a quality cross that Milos Ninkovic scored from relatively early in the piece. Dimitri Petratos crossed the ball from a set piece that was headed into the back of the net by Matthew Millar, which levelled the scores.

What went wrong? Jason Hoffman missed an easy goal later in the first half. An own goal was scored by John Koutroumbis that made the score 3-1 in Sydney’s favour early in the second half.

Western Sydney Wanderers versus Brisbane Roar
All square thanks to Daniel Lopar
Somehow the Brisbane Roar didn’t score a goal for the entire game, despite dominating.

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Magic moment: Aiden O’Neill played an outstanding pass to Roy O’Donovan that was well saved by Daniel Lopar early in the game.

Who stood out from the pack? Daniel Lopar’s performance was inspirational as he was the reason why Western Sydney Wanderers got a point. Lopar made some saves when the ball appeared destined for the back of the net.

Daniel Lopar

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

What went right? Lopar was the only positive for the Western Sydney Wanderers to take out of the game. Brisbane Roar played some quality football, even though they didn’t score. Robbie Fowler prepared his team well for the game.

What went wrong? Pirmin Schwegler got injured early in the game, which was a blow for Western Sydney Wanderers. They didn’t play well for almost the entire game for the second week in a row.

Melbourne Victory versus Western United
What a comeback
The game was an outstanding spectacle for the neutral spectator as it was attacking and open. The game was level at 2-2 just before the half-hour mark. Scott McDonald made it 3-2 in Western United’s favour.

Magic moments: Ola Toivonen scored an unbelievable goal from distance. Kristijan Dobras made it two goals early in the piece for Melbourne Victory. Alessandro Diamanti had a free kick brilliantly saved by Lawrence Thomas. Diamanti made it a one-goal deficit with a superb finish. Filip Kurto won a ball with a header outside of the box from a long Ola Toivonen switch of play in the second half.

Who stood out from the pack? Josh Risdon was outstanding for Western United. Risdon worked hard throughout the game and set up the equaliser for his team with an astute header. Scott McDonald was also a standout. McDonald worked tirelessly and scored the decisive last goal of the game.

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What went right? The game was a good one to watch from a viewer’s perspective.

What went wrong? Melbourne Victory should have made the score 3-2 shortly after the half-hour mark, but they somehow didn’t do so. Ola Toivonen’s performance appeared to be impaired for the majority of the game by an injury, which impacted the quality of the Melbourne Victory ball movement and their potency in the final third.

Ola Toivonen

(Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Melbourne City versus Wellington Phoenix
VAR overshadows a cracker
The game was played at an extremely high pace early, with Melbourne City controlling the possession, but no Jamie Maclaren in the final third. Gary Hooper broke the deadlock shortly after the midway point of the first half to give Wellington the lead. Connor Metcalfe levelled the scores with a clinical header that gave Stefan Marinovic no chance of preventing the ball from going into the back of the net.

Magic moments: Josh Brillante prevented Gary Hooper from breaking the deadlock with a fantastic intervention early in the contest. Scott Galloway scored an unbelievable goal from outside the box with his left foot that hit the post and went in to give Melbourne City a 2-1 lead. Adrian Luna had a free kick well saved by Stefan Marinovic late in the second half. Ben Waine did well to score his first goal in the A-League.

Who stood out from the pack? Josh Brillante was brilliant in the centre of defence.

What went right? The game was good to watch as it was an exciting contest as the game was in the balance. Wellington Phoenix made two changes at half time so they were at least proactive from a tactical perspective.

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What went wrong? VAR upheld a decision to give a penalty with a ball that appeared to strike Louis Fenton’s chest first and ricocheted onto his hand that led to a goal from the penalty spot, scored by Craig Noone, which made the score 3-1 in favour of Melbourne City. Wellington Phoenix may well have got a point out of the game as Ben Waine scored a goal during second-half stoppage time, that proved to be a consolation effort.

Perth Glory versus Central Coast Mariners
Mariners relentless in road win
Perth Glory failed to turn up for much of the first half, but the score was somehow 1-1 just after the half hour mark thanks to an Ivan Franjic equaliser. Thankfully, the Central Coast Mariners played well for the entire 90 minutes and were rewarded with the three points.

Magic moments: Jack Clisby provided the assist for the opening goal scored by Daniel De Silva. Liam Reddy made a good save from a De Silva shot in the first half. Sam Silvera scored an outstanding goal. Silvera tackled Jacob Tratt and then finished off his good work to make the score 2-1 in the Central Coast Mariners’ favour, with a finish in the bottom corner that gave Perth Glory goalkeeper Liam Reddy no chance. Bruno Fornaroli had a shot well saved by Mark Birighitti late in the second half as Perth Glory searched for an equaliser.

Who stood out from the pack? Everyone who took the field for the Central Coast Mariners, including the three substitutes that were brought on. It was a team effort.

What went right? The Central Coast Mariners performed extremely well and deserved the three points. The Perth Glory improved on their first-half performance in the second half, without reward.

What went wrong? Milan Duric hit the post from distance, then Daniel De Silva butchered the follow-up. Dylan Fox missed a goal that would have made the score 2-0. Perth Glory didn’t perform well at all in the first half, but despite that, they only trailed by one goal at half time. It should have been much more. There was no end product for Perth Glory in the second half. They weren’t clinical enough in the final third.

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