The Western Sydney Wanderers and Markus Babbel struggled in the 2019-20 season, and by the end of Round 15, Babbel was sacked, with his assistant Jean-Paul de Marigny taking charge.
After another exciting weekend of football, here’s all the action summed up from Round 21 of the A-League.
Newcastle Jets 2-1 Perth Glory
Newcastle Jets hoped to extend their undefeated streak to five games when they hosted Perth Glory, who themselves hadn’t lost a game since November. Nikolai Topor-Stanley scored the opener in style, the Jets vice-captain striking from long range in the 12th minute. The visitors responded in the 29th minute through Neil Kilkenny, levelling the scores 1-1 into the break. Roy O’Donovan put the Jets ahead once again in the 74th minute, the goal enough to secure a 2-1 win and put distance between themselves and bottom-placed Central Coast Mariners.
Melbourne Victory 2-1 Adelaide United
Melbourne Victory were back at Docklands Stadium in Round 21 to host rivals Adelaide United. If the Victory were to have any chance of making finals, they needed to take all three points. The start was less than ideal for the hosts, with Kristian Opseth opening the scoring in the seventh minute to put Adelaide ahead, and the visitors held the 1-0 lead into the half-time break.
Marco Rojas levelled for the Victory in the 57th minute, scoring his first goal back in his third stint at the club. Melbourne would leave it late to take all three points, but it was worth the wait. Andrew Nabbout dribbled past and found the top corner in the 90th minute to seal a 2-1 win for the home side. The three points give Melbourne Victory a glimmer of hope of making the finals.
Western United 6-2 Central Coast Mariners
Western United were back at GMHBA Stadium to host the Central Coast Mariners. The home side wasted little time breaking the deadlock, Besart Berisha scoring the opener in the ninth minute. The Mariners two minutes later stunned the home side when Chris Harold levelled the scores. United would go on to dominate the rest of the half, Max Burgess scoring a first-half hat-trick to put his side up 4-1. The Mariners took at least some momentum into the break, with Gianni Stensness scoring just before the whistle to set the scores at 4-2. In the second half Western United furthered the damage, with Andrew Durante and Besart Berisha scoring in the 61st and 89th minute respectively to see their team cruise to a 6-2 victory.
Melbourne City 1-0 Brisbane Roar
Second-placed Melbourne City took on an in-form Brisbane Roar, who had climbed themselves up to sixth place. Both teams went scoreless in the first half, and it was Melbourne City who struck first. Josh Brillante’s strike from range was helped across by Brisbane goalkeeper Jamie Young, who parried the ball across the line in the 55th minute. It would be enough to secure a 1-0 victory for Melbourne City to put themselves a game clear of Perth Glory in third place.
Sydney FC vs Wellington Phoenix
This match was rescheduled and will be played on 18 March.
Having not lost a game in their last five matches, Newcastle’s newfound form shows that they can compete against the better sides of the competition. A win over Perth Glory, who were second on the table at the time, shows signs the team are stepping in the right direction.
Having struggled to hit the target at times for Melbourne Victory, Nabbout stepped up when his side needed him in the final moments to score the matchwinning goal. Throughout the game he made the right attacking runs and helped set attacking opportunities. Hopefully he can continue finding the back of the net rather than the sides of it.
He stepped up when his team needed a lift in the first half, scoring a hat-trick to effectively win the game before half-time. In his first appearance for Western United Burgess made an immediate impact.
Central Coast Mariners
Three weeks running players in their senior first appearances – Mohamed Toure, Michael Tilio and Max Burgess – have scored goals to seal victories against the Mariners. This week Max Burgess scored a hat-trick in the first half to help his side cruise to a 6-2 win. It’s not a good look for the Mariners to be the side against which the unlikeliest of scorers are stepping up week in and week out. Central Coast sit comfortably at the bottom of the table as the Jets and Victory picked up three points in their games. As I said last week, cut the losses and sell the club!