After another exciting weekend of football, here’s all the action summed up from Round 20 of the A-League.
Wellington Phoenix 2-0 Western United
Wellington Phoenix were looking it to make it back-to-back wins at home when they took on Western United. The Phoenix were the first to strike, Liberato Cacace opening the scoring in the 29th minute to give his side a 1-0 lead into the break. The Phoenix would leave it late to seal the deal in the second half, with David Ball doubling the advantage in the 90th minute. The win puts the Phoenix a game clear in fourth on the table.
Western Sydney Wanderers 5-2 Adelaide United
Western Sydney Wanderers had hit some form in the past several weeks and were looking to continue their good run when they faced Adelaide United at home. Pirmin Schwegler broke the deadlock for the home side in the fifth minute. Not even 20 minutes later and Adelaide had reversed the deficit, Riley McGree scoring in the 12th minute and Ben Halloran scoring in the 22nd minute to put Adelaide 2-1 up.
The game would take another turn as the Wanderers took a 4-2 lead into the half-time break, Nicolai Muller scoring in the 25th minute and Mitchell Duke scoring a brace in the 27th and 38th minute to give the home side back the lead and go 4-2 lead into the break. Simon Cox made sure there would be no chance of an Adelaide comeback by scoring in the 73rd minute to put the Wanderers 5-2 ahead. It would be how the scores stayed, and the Wanderers now put themselves back into top-six contention.
Brisbane Roar 1-1 Perth Glory
Both Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory came into their Round 20 clash looking to snap each other’s ongoing undefeated streaks. The Glory got the early advantage through Bruno Fornaroli, scoring the opener for the away side in the 33rd minute to take a 1-0 lead into the break. Five minutes from time the Roar scored to salvage a point, Macaulay Gillesphey saving his side in the 85th minute. Both sides shared points and continue their respective unbeaten runs.
Newcastle Jets 1-1 Melbourne Victory
In a season during which both teams are massively underperforming, both Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Victory were desperate to take all three points. The Jets struck first, Roy O’Donovan’s strike thundering off the bar and into the goals. The original verdict was the ball did not cross the line, but VAR overturned the decision to give the home side a 1-0 lead, which they took into the half-time break. Ola Toivonen equalised for the Victory in the 49th minute, and it would be enough to salvage a point, with the game finishing 1-1, keeping both teams in wooden spoon contention.
Sydney FC 3-0 Central Coast Mariners
Bottom-placed Central Coast Mariners hosted top of the table Sydney FC in the final game of Round 20. It wouldn’t take long for Sydney to assert themselves, with Milos Ninkovic scoring in the eighth minute. The Mariners did their best to hold Sydney at bay but fell away late. Teenager Marco Tilio in his first appearance for Sydney came off the bench to score the sealer with his first A-League goal in the 89th minute, then Harry Van Der Saag put the result beyond doubt in the 90th minute. Sydney FC cruised to a 3-0 victory.
He scored two goals in crucial moments to put his side ahead in the second half and scored again to give them a cushion. He scored two goals from his three shots inside of the box, displaying the clinical finishing he showed in the early parts of the season. It was an influential performance his side will hope he can follow up on.
Castro was an attacking threat throughout the game for his side. His effective foot skills were on full display, making 42 of his 51 passes (82 per cent pass efficiency). He also set up Bruno Fornaroli for the opening goal.
A youth academy product of Sydney FC, Tilio made his first A-League appearance for the side coming off the bench to replace Adam Le Fondre in the 88th minute. A minute later and Tilio would find the back of the net to seal the game for his side. Not a bad way to score your first goal in the league.
United were defensively exposed on Friday night to a side that has underperformed for most of the season. To concede four goals in a half in the process of giving up a 2-1 lead just shouldn’t happen. It’s the heaviest loss of the season for Adelaide and a day to forget.
A change of coach, change of tactics and change of players to the starting line-up has made no difference. The side underperformed once again, and against one of the poorer-performing sides of the competition. A draw in a match they should have won – it’s a different game but the same story for the Victory.
Central Coast Mariners
Another round, another defeat, another entry on the ‘cold’ column. They fought hard, but not until the end, and it showed – a 1-0 deficit turned into 3-0 in a matter of minutes late in the game. If reports are true that the Mariners are receiving offers for their A-League licence, owner Michael Charlesworth should cut his losses and sell.