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Opinion

What happened? A-League Round 20

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Roar Guru
23rd February, 2020
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The A-League was back to normal in Round 20, with five games played while Melbourne City had the bye.

Melbourne Victory, Perth Glory and Sydney FC had to deal with travelling as they all played in the Asian Champions League during the week, yet remarkably none of them lost in Round 20 despite understandably not being at their best.

Once again, as with Round 19, Round 20 showed there isn’t anything separating the top and bottom team on the A-League ladder, with Sydney FC outplayed at times by the Central Coast Mariners despite the final score indicating that the game was one sided.

The highlight of the round was the two youngsters, Harry Van Der Saag and Marco Tilio, who came off the bench and both scored, which added some excitement to the weekend of football.

  • Wellington Phoenix played some exhilarating football, completely bamboozling Western United. It’s fair to say Ufuk Talay outcoached Mark Rudan.
  • The game between Western Sydney Wanderers and Adelaide United was chock full of action in the final third.
  • There wasn’t much separating Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory, so a draw was probably a fair result in the end.
  • The Newcastle Jets would be disappointed that they didn’t claim all three points given they played good football without enough end product.
  • Sydney FC showed why they are on top of the table, because they weren’t at their best from a performance perspective but still came away from the game with all three points.

Who was a standout?
Bruce Kamau played the game at an extremely high tempo. He made runs that helped the Wanderers claim all three points against Adelaide, playing his role extremely well on the right wing.

Biggest impact off the bench
Aaron Amadi-Holloway’s introduction to the game at the start of the second half had a strong correlation with the Brisbane Roar getting back into the game from a balance of play point of view. They eventually came away from the game with a point.

Marco Tilio and Harry Van Der Saag finished the game with a goal and an assist each after they were brought on at different points in the second half when the score was only one-nil in Sydney FC’s favour.

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Wellington Phoenix (2) vs Western United (0)

Western United fail to fire

Magic moment
David Ball made the game a certain win for Wellington with a goal in the 90th minute, and Stefan Marinovic claimed the first assist from a goalkeeper since 2015.

Who stood out from the pack?
Luke DeVere was in a class of his own, playing quality passes, and may have proved that he deserves to play in the A-League next season as he was solid in defence as well.

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What went right?
Rene Piscopo had a long shot brilliantly saved by Filip Kurto in the 13th minute. David Ball had a good shot somehow saved by Kurto in the 20th minute. Ulises Davila had an outstanding opportunity saved by Kurto in the 21st minute. Liberato Cacace fortuitously scored the opening goal of the game in the 29th minute, as it appeared to be an attempted cross, but the Wellington Phoenix deserved the lead.

Western United finally had a chance to score, with Besart Berisha’s opportunity prevented by Stefan Marinovic in the 42nd minute. Gary Hooper was denied a goal by Kurto in the 64th minute and the 65th minute.

What went wrong?
Ulises Davila hit the post in the first minute, with his good work not rewarded with a goal. Rene Piscopo hit the post in the 15th minute. Panagiotis Kone was forced to be substituted off in the 30th minute for Max Burgess due to an injury suffered by Kone. Liberato Cacace butchered a chance to score in the 44th minute. Callum McCowatt didn’t control the ball effectively in the 76th minute. Max Burgess had a poor shot in the 78th minute.

Facts and figures
Five shots on target to zero after 15 minutes in favour of the Wellington Phoenix.

In thirteen out of 18 games Western United have gone one-nil down this A-League season.

In ten out of 18 games Wellington Phoenix have gone one-nil up this A-League season.

The introduction of Max Burgess changed the game very slightly by giving Western United a bit of creativity and quality when in possession.

The first half was outstanding from the Wellington Phoenix. The score was only one-nil in their favour thanks to some quality goalkeeping by Filip Kurto.

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There was only ever one team that was going to win this game from start to finish, but Wellington would have won by more than two goals if not for the seven saves made by Filip Kurto.

Ulises Davila.

(Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Western Sydney Wanderers (5) vs Adelaide United (2)

Seven-goal game as Reds left red-faced

Magic moments
Ben Halloran scored in the 22nd minute with a fantastic shot to give Adelaide United the lead. Bruce Kamau brilliantly set up a goal for Simon Cox in the 73rd minute.

Who stood out from the pack?
Bruce Kamau was outstanding, making many constructive forward runs. Kamau was involved in most of the home teams forays forward.

What went right?
Pirmin Schwegler scored the opening goal thanks to a deflection from a free kick in the fifth minute. Riley McGree scored from the penalty spot in the 13th minute, his ninth goal of the 2019-20 A-League season. Nicolai Muller scored an elementary goal in the 25th minute. Mitchell Duke scored in the 27th minute to give the Western Sydney Wanderers the lead again. Duke scored his second goal of the game in the 38th minute thanks to a great cross by Pirmin Schwegler.

Dylan McGowan prevented Kristian Opseth from scoring in the 51st minute. McGowan was excellent in the 78th minute, denying debutant Kusini Yengi a goal. Ben Halloran had an effort well saved in the 86th minute by Daniel Lopar

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What went wrong?
Bruce Kamau could have scored in the first minute. Keanu Baccus hit the post in the eighth minute, which Kamau failed to finish off the rebound. Daniel Georgievski conceded a penalty by fouling Ben Halloran inside the penalty area in the 11th minute. Nicolai Muller could have scored in the 18th minute, as could have Dylan McGowan from the resultant corner. Kristian Opseth butchered a chance in first-half stoppage time. Kamau also failed to score in first-half stoppage time.

Riley McGree didn’t take advantage of a chance to pass to Ryan Kitto in the 60th minute. Kamau could have scored in the 71st minute with a volley. George Blackwood should have scored in the 79th minute or otherwise from the resultant corner in the 80th minute.

Facts and figures
This was the second-fastest A-League game to have five goals scored.

There were 17 shots in the first half-hour, 13-4 in favour of Western Sydney Wanderers.

This was the second-quickest A-League game to get to six goals.

This is the first time Western Sydney Wanderers have scored four goals in a half.

Adelaide have conceded 17 goals in their last six away matches.

Patrick Ziegler nearly got a second yellow card in second-half stoppage time.

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Mitch Duke

(Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Brisbane Roar (1) vs Perth Glory (1)

All square in game of two halves

Magic moment
Bruno Fornaroli scored his eighth goal in eight games and his 11th goal of the A-League season in the 33rd minute.

Who stood out from the pack?
Diego Castro showed off his exquisite skills throughout the duration of the game.

What went right?
Brisbane made a substitution at half-time that changed the game, bringing on Aaron Amadi-Holloway for Jacob Pepper. Macaulay Gillesphey scored a goal with a header from a corner, the cross delivered by Jay O’Shea in the 85th minute. Jacob Tratt prevented a goal for the Brisbane Roar late in the game.

What went wrong?
Scott McDonald should have scored in the 41st minute. Bruno Fornaroli could have scored in the 53rd minute. Jake Brimmer failed to hit the target in the 56th minute. Aaron Amadi-Holloway didn’t shoot accurately in the 57th minute. Aiden O’Neill could have scored in the 60th minute. Gabriel Popovic should have scored in second-half stoppage time. Alex Grant appeared to suffer a knee injury late in the game.

Facts and figures
Scott McDonald was brought into the starting line up for Dylan Wenzel-Halls

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Perth Glory made four changes from their midweek Asian Champions League.

Liam Reddy played his 100th game for the Perth Glory.

The atmosphere in the packed out boutique stadium was fantastic.

Nick D’Agostino had the first shot on target for either team in the 13th minute.

Scott McDonald was awarded a penalty in the 21st minute from a foul by Ivan Franjic but VAR correctly overturned it as McDonald was offside.

Fifteen of Brisbane’s 20 goals have come in the last half hour of their games this season following the equaliser in this game, which equates to half their goals being scored during that period of time.

Bruno Fornaroli

(Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Newcastle Jets (1) vs Melbourne Victory (1)

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Both teams fail to claim vital three points in tight match

Magic moment
Marco Rojas had an opportunity saved by Lewis Italiano near the end of the game.

Who stood out from the pack?
Steven Ugarkovic was instrumental in the middle of the park. His work rate was impressive as well as his movement and passing of the ball.

What went right?
Newcastle Jets hit the bar in the 24th minute from Roy O’Donovan, with the goal given from VAR overturning the original decision not to award a goal correctly thanks to a good cross from Dimitri Petratos. Bobby Burns made an important tackle in the 32nd minute on Andrew Nabbout. Lawrence Thomas made a good save from Petratos in first-half stoppage time.

Ola Toivonen scored a good goal with a headed goal from a cross by Tim Hoogland in the 49th minute. Thomas prevented a goal in the 59th minute, stopping a cross by Abdiel Arroyo amounting to anything. Wes Hoolahan was brought on in the 62nd minute for his first appearance in the A-League since being injured last year.

What went wrong? Abdiel Arroyo was denied a goal in the 16th minute as he was deemed to be offside. Dimitri Petratos nearly scored from a corner, hitting the bar in the 22nd minute. Bobby Burns should have shot in the 39th minute. Nigel Boogaard was deemed to have fouled Ola Toivonen in the 44th minute for doing nothing wrong. Kosta Petratos missed a chance to score with a header in second-half stoppage time.

Facts and figures
Three changes were made from the Melbourne Victory team that played in the Asian Champions League earlier in the week, while the Newcastle Jets were unchanged from their Round 19 team.

Abdiel Arroyo appeared to have scored in the eighth minute, but it was ruled out as the ball deflected off the referee.

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The Newcastle Jets had approximately 70 per cent possession in the first 22 minutes.

The Newcastle Jets had 66 per cent of possession after 35 minutes and approximately 57 per cent territory.

Following Ola Toivonen’s goal the Newcastle Jets have conceded 36 goals this season, the same as last season.

The Newcastle Jets finished the game with 64.5 per cent possession and 14 shots to Melbourne Victory’s ten.

Marco Rojas in action for Melbourne Victory

(Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Central Coast Mariners (0) vs Sydney FC (3)

Sky Blues overcome jet lag!

Magic moments
Marco Tilio scored late in the game, which was just after being substituted onto the field in his first A-League game, thanks to a pinpoint cross from Harry Van Der Saag. Van Der Saag scored a freakish goal moments later.

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Who stood out from the pack?
Milos Ninkovic showed his class with a quality display.

What went right?
Anthony Caceres had a good long shot fumbled by Mark Birghitti in the 19th minute but gathered it in the end. Rhyan Grant prevented an attack from a corner in the 29th minute leading to anything. Daniel De Silva tried a shot from outside the box that was well saved by Andrew Redmayne in the 31st minute. Ryan McGowan made an outstanding run in the 32nd minute that was well blocked by Ziggy Gordon. Luke Brattan had a free kick well saved by Mark Birghitti in the 64th minute.

What went wrong?
Ryan McGowan missed an easy chance in the fourth minute. Milos Ninkovic scored an elementary goal in the eighth minute thanks to the ball not being cleared by Lewis Miller. Kosta Barbarouses should have scored Sydney FC’s second goal in the 14th minute with a header going over the crossbar. Jack Clisby played a quality cross in the 17th minute from a set piece with no Central Coast Mariners player attacking the ball.

Lewis Miller received a yellow card in the 20th minute, but it could have been a red card. Jack Clisby wasted a good attack for the Central Coast Mariners in the 27th minute. VAR overturned a goal scored by Gianni Stensness as Kim was offside and deemed to have interfered with play late in the second half, which was extremely controversial as it upset Alen Stajcic and the home crowd.

Alex Wilkinson almost scored an own goal in the 77th minute. Daniel De Silva played a poor pass from a counterattack in the 79th minute. The Central Coast Mariners probably just controlled the balance of play and deserved to get at least a point out of the game, but they weren’t clinical in the final third.

Facts and figures
Central Coast Mariners have conceded the opening goal 12 times this season following Sydney FC scoring the first goal in Round 20. Possession was fairly even at full time with both teams finishing with nine shots apiece.