Western Sydney have pulled the trigger on under-fire coach Markus Babbel, axing the German midway through his three-year contract.
Here is my summary of the action from Round 14 of the A-League.
Sydney 2, Newcastle 1
The Jets, under a new manager, were hopeful of turning their season around, but it was Sydney that struck first. Kosta Barbarouses set up Adam Le Fondre for the opener in the 14th minute. The Jets then responded through Peter Ugarkovic, who shot from range after being fed by Abdiel Arroyo in the 21st minute. Sydney would then regain the lead before the break. Milos Ninkovic delivered a through ball to Kosta Barbarouses in the 36th minute. Both teams failed to score in the second half. Sydney extended their winning streak and added some distance at the top of the table.
Man of the match: Kosta Barbarouses was a threat in attack for Sydney FC, setting up the opening goal and scoring the second.
Wellington 2, Western Sydney 0
The Phoenix were having a renaissance, hosting the Wanderers, who needed a renaissance. The Phoenix struck first through star man Ulises Davila, scoring the opener in the 15th minute. Three minutes from time Liberato Cacace scored the sealer. The Wanderers continue to dwindle and the pressure is beginning to mount on Markus Babbel and his side.
Man of the match: Ulises Davila put in another impressive performance, scoring the opening goal and being a threat in attack.
Brisbane 2, Melbourne City 2
New year, new me appeared to be the mantra for the Roar. They hosted City and got off to an encouraging start. Brad Inman scored the opener in the 34th minute. The away side found the equaliser through Craig Noone being set up by Jamie Maclaren in the 39th minute. Brad Inman then bobbed up again during injury time of the first half, scoring his second on the stroke of half time to put the Roar ahead going into the break. The game continued to go goal for goal. Nathaniel Atkinson scored in the 48th minute after being set up by Adrian Luna. The game finished level. Brisbane are now three games unbeaten.
Man of the match: Brad Inman scored two goals in important stages of the game to ensure his side didn’t leave without a result.
Perth 3, Adelaide 0
After three straight defeats, United needed a victory when they travelled to Perth. But it was the home side who struck first. Joel Chianese scored the opener for the Glory in the 25th minute. Bruno Fornaroli then doubled the advantage after being set up by Diego Castro on the stroke of half time. Christopher Ikonomidis then sealed the game for the Glory in the 68th minute. The win keeps them third on the table.
Man of the match: Diego Castro was involved in two of his side’s goals. He set up the first and second goals of the game.
Central Coast 3, Melbourne Victory 2
Victory were confident of a win when they travelled to Gosford to take on the Mariners. Kristijan Dobras’ shot ricocheted on its way to the goal for the opener in the eighth minute. Victory looked to be heading into the break in front until Lewis Miller set up Jordan Murray on the stroke of half time to level the scores. The Victory would regain the lead, this time through an own goal by Kye Rowles in the 78th minute. There would be late drama with the Mariners being awarded two penalties in injury time. Matt Simon stepped up twice to reverse the deficit and ensure his side took all three points. Poor refereeing and VAR will be the talking points walking away from the game, but it was an important three points for the Mariners nonetheless.
Man of the match: Matt Simon was an antagonist throughout the game and played the role well. He scored twice from the spot when his team needed him.