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Opinion

What happened? A-League Round 9

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Roar Guru
9th December, 2019
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Round 9 was a good weekend of football to watch as there was a total of 19 goals scored in five games, with Melbourne City of all the teams the only one who failed to score.

Despite that, in three of the five games a goalkeeper was my man of the match.

They say that goals change games; therefore, the following synopsis of the games makes for interesting reading.

Perth Glory had a comfortable win over Melbourne City, who sat second on the A-League ladder prior to Round 9, while Perth Glory moved from last on the ladder to sit just outside the top 6. The result proved how tight the ladder is and that anyone is capable of beating anyone.

VAR was contentious again in New Zealand and the result was effectively decided by the VAR awarding a penalty to Wellington Phoenix late in their narrow win over Western Sydney Wanderers.

Sydney FC are the best team in the A-League, which was confirmed by their performance on Saturday night where they destroyed the Brisbane Roar.

Western United showed character and resilience to come back from a one-goal deficit to win, thanks to some outstanding goal keeping by Filip Kurto.

Despite being the better team, the Newcastle Jets left Adelaide without a point to show for their good work. They had a total of 31 shots, yet scored just one goal.

Adam Le Fondre showed what a quality player he is. Le Fondre score three goals, with little fuss attached to any of the goals. We are lucky to have such a humble, clinical striker playing in the A-League.

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Honourable mention to Filip Kurto, who helped Western United claim all three points against the Melbourne Victory, with some brilliant saves.

The biggest impact of player off the substitute bench was Trent Buhagiar, who was only substituted on in the final few minutes for Sydney FC, but played a part in two of the five goals that they scored on Saturday night against a thoroughly outplayed Brisbane Roar outfit.

The top two coaches are Steve Corica – Sydney FC were the most impressive team of the round from a performance perspective, with a near flawless decapitation of the Brisbane Roar – and Tony Popovic, after Perth Glory outplayed Melbourne City, who have been touted as potential champions of the A-League.

Robbie Fowler is under the pump, though. The Brisbane Roar were completely demolished by Sydney FC.

Melbourne City 0, Perth Glory 3
City obliterated

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Magic moment
Bruno Fornaroli opened the scoring against his old side to break the deadlock. That was the beginning of the end for Melbourne City.

Who stood out from the pack?
Chris Ikonomidis was prolific, particularly in the second half, when the Perth Glory scored two of their three goals to give them a comprehensive 3-0 win.

What went right?
Although not converted, Jamie Maclaren had a good chance to score early thanks to some good combination play by his teammates. This game showed that anyone in the A-League is capable of beating anyone. Possession doesn’t mean anything at times with Melbourne City having 58 per cent of it, yet they were uncompetitive thanks to a quality performance from Perth Glory.

What went wrong?
Everything for Melbourne City. They were thoroughly outplayed by Perth Glory, due to Erick Mombaerts being out-coached by Tony Popovic from a tactical perspective. When the game was in the balance at 1-0 in Perth Glory’s favour, Harrison Delbridge scored an own goal, clumsily.

Tony Popovic

(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Wellington Phoenix 2, Western Sydney Wanderers 1
Wanderers forced to ponder what went wrong again

Magic moments
Kwame Yeboah was one-on-one with Stefan Marinovic and somehow Yeboah didn’t score, thanks to some good work from Marinovic, early in the game. The goal would have given Western Sydney Wanderers momentum, as the first goal scored in a game is generally important. Marinovic made another super save near the midway point of the first half, with the shot from Nicolai Muller.

Matthew Jurman had a header that was going into the back of the net saved somehow by Marinovic, also in the first half. The deadlock was broken early in the second half, thanks to Jaushua Sotirio, who lobbed the ball over Daniel Lopar into the back of the net. Daniel Lopar did brilliantly to prevent a shot from Wellington Phoenix substitute Callum McCowatt ending up in the back of the net, late in the game. David Ball had a superb shot superbly saved by Daniel Lopar.

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Who stood out from the pack?
Stefan Marinovic made some crucial saves. Marinovic’s performance was the reason the Wellington Phoenix claimed all three points.

What went right?
Both goalkeepers had a good game, despite the fact that there were three goals scored. The football was of a high tempo.

What went wrong?
The penalty kick that was awarded through the intervention of the VAR as a handball by Pirmin Schwegler was deemed to be clear and obvious. This was questionable. Football expert Mark Bosnich believed that was the case. The penalty was converted by Ulises Davila, which proved to be a pivotal moment of the game as the goal made the score 2-1 in Wellington Phoenix’s favour late on. A draw probably would have been a fair result with the key stats fairly even, but that didn’t eventuate. But yet again, that’s football.

Sydney FC 5, Brisbane Roar 1
Brisbane battered and bruised

Magic moment
Adam Le Fondre made the score 3-0 in Sydney FC’s favour shortly before half time, which was the second of his three goals, with an exquisite finish.

Who stood out from the pack?
Adam Le Fondre finished the game with a hat trick.

What went right?
Sydney FC had a nearly flawless performance in a 5-1 win over the Brisbane Roar. Alexander Baumjohann had his best game this season with some exquisite passes.

Alexander Baumjohann

(Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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Trent Buhagiar finished the game with a goal and an assist in what was a short cameo as a substitute. It was great to see that Paulo Retre was in the starting line-up for Sydney FC. Retre finally got a chance to show what he can produce in the central midfield role.

What went wrong?
Everything that could have gone wrong for Brisbane did go wrong. The Brisbane Roar finished with more possession and three more shots than Sydney FC, yet they lost the game comprehensively. Sydney FC failed to keep a clean sheet, conceding what was a consolation goal, late into stoppage time in the second half.

Western United 3, Melbourne Victory 1
Western United comfortably beat Melbourne Victory

Magic moment
Andrew Nabbout scored a freakish goal. Nabbout made something out of nothing to break the deadlock.

Who stood out from the pack?
Filip Kurto single-handedly won the game for Western United with some freakish saves.

What went right?
Besart Berisha scored the equaliser against his old team with a clinical header and managed to score a second with a header. Alessandro Diamanti took an exquisite free kick – a cross that Panagiotis Kone finished brilliantly to give Western United the lead 2-1, after initially trailing 1-nil after Nabbout’s opener.

What went wrong?
Ola Toivonen missed a goal that he normally would have scored to make the score 1-1. Toivonen failed to score on a second occasion, this time in the second half, which would have reduced the deficit from two goals to one.

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Adelaide United 2, Newcastle Jets 1
Adelaide United claim fortunate win

Magic moments
Matt Millar scored a quality goal with a header from a corner to make the score 1-1. James Troisi did well to make the score 2-1 in Adelaide United’s favour.

Who stood out from the pack?
Paul Izzo made some great saves to help his team claim all three points.

What went right?
There was a total of three goals scored in a game that had a total of 44 shots.

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What went wrong?
Al Hassan Toure butchered an opportunity to break the deadlock in the first half. Unjustly, Adelaide United took the lead 1-1 through George Blackwood as the Newcastle Jets controlled the balance of play up to that point. Somehow, the Newcastle Jets failed to score in the first half. George Blackwood hit the post early in the second half.