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Opinion

What happened? A-League Round 22

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Roar Guru
8th March, 2020
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There were plenty of discussion points in a round that provided goals galore.

Remarkably, four out of five games were won by the away team, with the opening game of the round the only one that was won by the home team, in the Brisbane Roar.

Every team managed to score, meaning that no one kept a clean sheet.

There was a total of 24 goals scored in the five games, which equates to an average of 4.8 goals per game.

The Brisbane Roar played their best game of the season, while Western Sydney Wanderers arguably played their worst game of the season.

Western United made it 11 goals in their last two games, smashing and embarrassing Adelaide United.

Melbourne Victory took the lead early and from there on it was all Sydney FC.

Wellington Phoenix’s performance wasn’t up to standard yet they beat the Central Coast Mariners 3-1. Unfortunately, Central Coast Mariners coach Alen Stajcic is under pressure as they have lost eight games in a row.

The Perth Glory gave Melbourne City a three-goal head start, but Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic made two changes at half time that seemed to work, with his team unlucky to leave the game empty handed.

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It was difficult to choose a standout with the Brisbane Roar striker Scott McDonald outstanding, as was Western United captain Alessandro Diamanti. Honourable mentions go to Josh Risdon, who had three assists, and Melbourne City’s captain Scott Jamieson, who finished with two assists and worked hard.

Starring off the bench, Alex Rufer showed that his performance in Round 22 should get him back into Wellington Phoenix’s starting line-up. The same can be said for Kristian Popovic. Ivan Franjic changed the game by helping the Perth Glory control the tempo of the game in the second half.

The Newcastle Jets had the bye.

Brisbane Roar 3, Western Sydney Wanderers 1
A week is a long time in football

Magic moment
Mitchell Duke scored a quality goal in the 54th minute.

Mitchell Duke in action for the Wanderers

(AAP Image/SNPA, Ross Setford)

Who stood out from the pack?
Scott McDonald scored a brace for the Brisbane Roar. McDonald didn’t only score two goals, but was prevalent in most of the Brisbane Roar’s attacks.

What went right?
Scott McDonald scored his first goal for the Brisbane Roar in the third minute. Jay O’Shea had a shot brilliantly saved by Daniel Lopar in the 22nd minute. Jamie Young prevented a goal to Mathieu Cordier in the 24th minute, by leaving the area.

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Scott McDonald was denied a goal in the 38th minute for being offside. That was prior to the intervention of VAR, who correctly ruled that McDonald was onside. It was the best first half of football that the Brisbane Roar have played this season. It was the best display from the Brisbane Roar all season, when analysing the game in its entirety.

What went wrong?
The Western Sydney Wanderers weren’t at the races. It was a depressing game to watch from a Western Sydney Wanderers perspective.

Simon Cox shot wide in the 42nd minute. Jay O’Shea hit the post in the 44th minute from a free kick. Macaulay Gillesphey could have scored in the 57th minute. Scott McDonald should have scored in the 58th minute, which would have made it a hat trick for him. The Brisbane Roar should have won by more.

Matt Jurman gave away a penalty for a mistimed tackle on Bradden Inman in the 69th minute. Robbie Fowler and his assistant coach argued with the fourth official, even though they were winning and there didn’t appear much to be unhappy about from a Brisbane Roar perspective.

Facts and figures
Western Sydney Wanderers were annihilated as the Brisbane Roar reaped the rewards of hard work. The Brisbane Roar adapted to the weather well, while the Western Sydney Wanderers found it tough to cope with the heat.

Daniel Georgievski was a big loss as well as Bruce Kamau and Keanu Baccus. There were nine shots to none in the 30th minute in favour on the Roar, plus four corners to zero in the 56th minute in Brisbane Roar’s favour.

Jay O’Shea scored his first goal in the A-League in the 72nd minute from the penalty spot. It was extremely unselfish of Scott McDonald not to take it as he probably would have scored from the penalty spot, which could have meant that he would have had a hat trick.

There was a booking issued to Robbie Fowler for the second week in a row in the second half. Robbie Fowler appeared to out-coach his counterpart.

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Adelaide United 1, Western United 5
Western United are the real deal

Magic moment
Riley McGree scored his tenth goal of the season with a cracking goal in the 25th minute, which incidentally was Adelaide United’s only goal in a shellacking at the hands of Western United, which was the equaliser, making the score 1-all.

Who stood out from the pack?
Alessandro Diamanti was in amazing form for the second week in a row. He was instrumental in most of Western United’s attacks, leading from the front.

What went right?
Alessandro Diamanti passed the ball to Josh Risdon, who crossed the ball to Besart Berisha, who scored his 13th goal of the season.

Ryan Scott, the reserve goalkeeper who came on for Filip Kurto, prevented an attack from Stefan Mauk, leading to a goal in the 27th minute by leaving the penalty area.

Alessandro Diamanti scored a quality goal in the 32nd minute, Max Burgess with the assist. Alessandro Diamanti scored his fifth goal of the season.

Josh Risdon appeared to be caught offside, but the VAR intervened correctly, with Besart Berisha crossing to Josh Risdon, who headed the ball to Max Burgess, who scored in the 38th minute. George Blackwood had a shot well saved in the 89th minute by Ryan Scott.

What went wrong?
Adelaide United nearly scored in the first minute with Nikola Mileusnic volleying over the bar. Filip Kurto left the area and headed the ball, injuring himself in the seventh minute. It was a no-brainer to substitute him as he had blurred vision. It wasn’t worth the risk of leaving him on the field.

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Nikola Mileusnic had a few poor pieces of play in the opening stages of the game in the Adelaide United final third.

Facts and figures
Ryan Strain and Stefan Mauk were back in the Adelaide United line-up. Sebastian Pasquali was brought into the Western United line-up.

Adelaide United had 64.3 per cent of possession, but they were trailing 3-1 at half time. Josh Risdon got a hat trick of assists thanks to a clinical finish from Besart Berisha, scoring his second goal of the game in the 56th minute to make the score 5-1. Risdon now has eight assists for the season.

Like the Western Sydney Wanderers in their game in Round 22, Adelaide United weren’t at the races. There was 62 per cent of possession in favour of Adelaide United, but Western United won 5-1.

Alessandro Diamanti playing for Western United

(AAP Image/James Ross)

Melbourne Victory 1, Sydney FC 4
Sky Blues beat Victory

Magic moments
Marco Rojas scored a fantastic goal in the fifth minute to give Melbourne Victory the lead. Anthony Caceres scored a stunning goal in the 64th minute to give Sydney FC the lead as it made the score 2-1 in their favour.

Who stood out from the pack?
Rhyan Grant made many marauding runs down the right wing. You would’ve thought he was a midfielder not a defender.

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What went right?
Sydney FC showed why they are on top of the A-League table. Ola Toivonen had a free kick well saved by Andrew Redmayne in the 48th minute.

Lawrence Thomas brilliantly saved a Milos Ninkovic attempt in the 55th minute. Adam Le Fondre scored in the 66th minute with a stunning chip over Lawrence Thomas. Kosta Barbarouses scored from a well taken penalty kick in the 87th minute.

What went wrong?
Melbourne Victory were outplayed. Ola Toivonen managed not to score in the 18th minute. Marco Rojas didn’t score in the 21st minute when he should have. Ola Toivonen could have scored in the 30th minute. Elvis Kamsoba found it difficult to score. It’s the only thing missing from his game.

Unlike last round, Andrew Nabbout wasn’t clinical enough in the final third. Ola Toivonen just couldn’t score and also failed to look dangerous when the team needed him. Marco Tilio failed to score in second-half stoppage time, when he had the opportunity to, but despite that he appears to be a prodigious talent.

Facts and figures
Storm Roux replaced Adama Traore from Melbourne Victory’s Round 21 starting line-up, due to Traore being unavailable because of injury.

Anthony Caceres, Milos Ninkovic and Kosta Barbarouses all came in from the team that played for Sydney FC in the Asian Champions League.

Tim Hoogland received a red card in the 85th minute for pushing Trent Buhargiar over, which meant that it was a penalty. Tim Hoogland’s red card was the 15th red card in 53 Big Blues. This game was the fifth straight Big Blue win for Sydney FC.

Possession was fairly even with Sydney FC having 54.8 per cent. Sydney FC had five shots on target to Melbourne Victory’s three.

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Central Coast Mariners 1, Wellington Phoenix 3
Central Coast Mariners red-faced again

Magic moment
Jair scored a quality goal in the 89th minute, which will hopefully give the Central Coast Mariners confidence moving forward.

Who stood out from the pack?
Liberato Cacace broke the deadlock and played a good game.

What went right?
Gary Hooper scored the second goal of the game in the 30th minute, with a great assist from Rene Piscopo. Jaushua Sotirio scored a goal in the 78th minute, with a clinical finish thanks to an assist from Alex Rufer.

David Ball had a shot well saved by Mark Birighitti in the 82nd minute. Liberato Cacace curtailed an attack for the Central Coast Mariners in the 86th minute.

What went wrong?
Chris Harold had a chance to score, but his shot was well saved by Stefan Marinovic in the 11th minute. It’s the 13th time in last 14 game the Central Coast Mariners have conceded the first goal, with Liberato Cacace scoring the opening goal of the game in the 18th minute.

Jack Clisby struck a free kick over the bar in the 28th minute. Chris Harold headed a ball wide of the goal in the 35th minute. Gianni Stensness could have scored from a header in the 67th minute. Stensness shot wide of the goal in the 69th minute. Jaushua Sotirio nearly scored in second-half stoppage time, but was caught offside.

Facts and figures
Liberato Cacace played his 50th A-League game. Central Coast Mariners made three changes: Lewis Miller, Milan Duric and Daniel De Silva were back in the starting line-up. The Wellington Phoenix were unchanged from the team that played in Round 20.

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Liberato Cacace scored his fourth goal in the A-League and third of the current A-League season. It was two goals from three shots for the Wellington Phoenix, at the point at which the second goal was scored by the Wellington Phoenix, which was the 30th minute. Gary Hooper has now scored three goals in the last four games, following scoring the second goal of the game.

Gary Hooper on the ball for Wellington

(AAP Image/Ross Setford)

Daniel De Silva won the first corner of the game in the 45th minute. There were 22 balls into the area to 12 in the 74th minute in favour of the Central Coast Mariners, yet they were losing 2-0 at that point in time.

It was seven shots to no shots in favour of the Central Coast Mariners in the second half in the 74th minute, but Stefan Marinovic only had to make two saves from the 12 shots that the Central Coast Mariners had.

Perth Glory 2, Melbourne City 3
Five-goal thriller

Magic moments
Florin Berenguer scored a freakish goal in the 30th minute thanks to a pass from Scott Jamieson. Liam Reddy prevented a goal in the 44th minute from Jamie Maclaren and Craig Noone. It was two consecutive saves from Liam Reddy.

Gregory Wuthrich nearly scored from distance in the 57th minute, but Tom Glover did well to save it. It would have been close to goal of the season if Glover didn’t get a glove on it.

Liam Reddy made a double save in the 85th minute, first from Jamie Maclaren and then Adrian Luna. Bruno Fornaroli had a shot well saved in the 90th minute by Tom Glover.

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Who stood out from the pack?
Scott Jamieson finished the game with two assists and worked hard defensively too.

What went right?
Alex Grant nearly scored from a header, but Craig Noone cleared the ball off the line, in the 15th minute. Tom Glover made a good save from a header by Bruno Fornaroli, but Joel Chianese scored a good goal in the 53rd minute, which was Perth Glory’s a first goal of the game, which gave the Perth Glory belief as they decreased the margin to two goals, with the score 3-1. Bruno Fornaroli scored in the 65th minute thanks to an assist from Joel Chianese.

What went wrong?
The weather was hot. Melbourne City performance wasn’t up to standard in the second half. Tom Glover’s distribution wasn’t the best.

Facts and figures
Gregory Wutrhich came in for Jacob Tratt for the Perth Glory. Melbourne City were unchanged from their Round 21 team. Craig Noone and Josh Brillante are the only two players to start every game this A-League season.

Rostyn Griffiths received his fifth yellow card of the A-League season, meaning he misses Melbourne City’s next match.

Markel Susaeta scored his first goal in the A-League in the 34th minute thanks to Scott Jamieson providing the assist. Adrian Luna received his fifth yellow card of the A-League season, so he won’t take part in Melbourne City’s next match.