Another round of COVID-related postponements meant there were only two A-League Men games this weekend, and which one you saw depended on where you watched.
Adelaide United’s 2-2 draw with Melbourne City was clearly the more entertaining of the two, with the Reds twice pegging back the defending champions at Coopers Stadium.
They might have claimed all three points had Craig Goodwin not seen his tame stutter-step penalty easily saved by Tom Glover with 20 minutes remaining, only for the unlikeliest of sources to step off the bench and secure a point for the Reds.
After a few not overly successful spells in Spain, Belgium and his homeland Japan, Hiroshi Ibusuki arrived in the City of Churches with plenty to prove.
He failed to score a league goal for a bang-average Shimizu S-Pulse last season – mainly coming off the bench – and with the Reds looking for a replacement for the injured Kusini Yengi, it’s fair to say Ibusuki probably wasn’t a player anyone expected Adelaide to sign.
Yet the 195-centimetre giant made an immediate impact at his new club, staying alive to volley home after Glover had shovelled away a Stefan Mauk header.
Ibusuki’s equaliser came on the back of Mat Leckie laying two goals on a plate for Andrew Nabbout and Jamie Maclaren respectively.
The Socceroos veteran had come under some criticism on social media for his lack of impact, only to turn in an attacking masterclass against the club where he started his professional career.
And some of the criticism is noteworthy given the lack of context around it.
One of the most obvious reasons Leckie enjoyed a successful ten-year career in Germany is because he was surrounded by better players. He was never the star of the show at clubs like Hertha Berlin but an able member of the supporting cast.
However, it’s hard to have an impact when you’ve missed huge stretches of the past three seasons through injury, which might also explain why he’s been slow to get going in the A-Leagues.
At any rate, City will no doubt hope Leckie has put those recurring injuries behind him and continues to provide the sort of service Nabbout and Maclaren received on Saturday night.
It was a different kind of game in Kogarah where Brisbane Roar battled to a hard-earned point in a 1-1 draw with Sydney FC.
That was the game I watched – more on that in a moment – and it was another reminder of the dangers of writing off A-Leagues teams without ever watching them play.
No one would suggest Warren Moon’s side look terribly likely to lift the A-League Men trophy this season, but some of the online criticism of Brisbane Roar has been laughable given the fact they haven’t even played for a month.
They were decent enough value for the point in Kogarah after Nikola Mileusnic volleyed home a skipping equaliser that Andrew Redmayne could only palm into the corner of his goal.
And if you were watching the game on Channel Ten in Sydney or Brisbane, that’s exactly what you saw.
The news that Ten had split the two broadcast games into respective regional markets is a welcome announcement from a broadcaster still finding its way in the A-Leagues.
Certain elements of the coverage so far have been good – particularly the main broadcast game on Saturday nights – while others need a fair amount of work.
Broadcasting FFA Cup games on 10Play and not on Paramount+ adds an extra layer of complexity even before we get into the now well-worn list of complaints, which includes the inability to pause or rewind live matches, the length of time it takes to post replays and the lack of a dedicated app for a significant range of TVs.
I’d like to think Ten ViacomCBS is taking some of these concerns on board, as evidenced by the decision to split the two broadcasts on Saturday night.
But what do you think? A par score so far, or plenty of room for improvement?