Close your eyes and you can almost see it; the imagery seems to be permanently etched in our minds over the past two seasons…
Round 16 was action-packed with plenty of intriguing battles. The weekend started and finished with two six-goal thrillers. It was absolute chaos, with two red cards in the final game to the Wanderers.
There were two 3-all draws, 25 goals scored in six matches and only the Phoenix and the Bulls managed to keep a clean sheet.
Check out who made a difference.
Zach Clough was calm and composed from the penalty spot as he gave the Reds a 2-0 lead in the 17th minute.
The former Nottingham Forest player was extremely impactful in his general play as he delivered pinpoint crosses; in the 53rd minute the corner he took should’ve resulted in a goal for Hiroshi Ibusuki, which would’ve made the score 3-1 in favour of Adelaide United, but it wasn’t to be.
David Williams was the player that made a difference for the third week in a row!
The impact player accepts his role and continues to produce, as he scored just two minutes after entering the game, to make the score 2-2 in the 63rd minute.
His post-match comments were bittersweet: “Happy to play my part, but disappointing just at the end. It’s good to have the backing of the team. Taking a point away from Adelaide is very difficult.”
Bozhidar Kraev played well for Phoenix and helped his team score an early opening goal when he unselfishly put the ball on a plate for Nicholas Pennington who scored a simple goal in the third minute.
The Bulgarian worked hard for the team to have an impact on the game; in the 54th minute, a shot from him was well saved by Western United goalkeeper Thomas Heward-Belle. Along with that, he cleared the ball in the 67th minute and never shirked a contest.
Kane Vidmar stopped a goal being scored by Kosta Barbarouses on three separate occasions in the first half. Then in the 80th minute, he prevented a third goal for the Phoenix being scored by Nicholas Pennigton.
The son of a former Socceroo proved that he can live up to the hype and is a good prospect for the future.
Zinedine Machach had moments of brilliance where he looked to change the game.
The Frenchman crossed the ball accurately in the 43rd minute, which gave Bruno Fornaroli a chance to score, but the Socceroo hit the bar with his header.
The 28-year-old was a threat in the final third, as he had two shots on target and created two chances, both for Fornaroli.
Filip Kurto played an incredible game and was the ‘difference’ between the Bulls and Victory.
The 32-year-old goalkeeper made nine saves with many of them top draw, including one save from a penalty in the 84th minute, from Bruno Fornaroli, which may’ve been over the line, but at the end of the day it was deemed not to be over the line and that’s all that counts.
The shot-stopper showed his humility post-match: “I’m glad I helped the team get the three points and that I have a clean sheet.”
It wasn’t a fluke that he saved the penalty as when asked about it he said: “I study him before the game and expect the ball down the middle.”
Jay O’Shea showed his class as per usual; he was the architect of four of the five goals scored by the Roar.
The Irishman took the corner that led to the opening goal scored by Kai Trewin in the second minute. What followed was an incredible passing sequence by O’Shea in the 30th minute that led to the second goal for the Roar and a confidence booster for young Thomas Waddingham, who finished off a great team goal.
O’Shea scored the all-important third goal for the Roar from distance on his left foot. Along with that, O’Shea provided the assist for the fourth goal scored by the Roar from outside the box by Keegan Jelacic.
Terry Antonis gave City some hope with a quality finish in the 73rd minute, which breathed some life into what was a disappointing day for his team.
Angel Torres got the Mariners back into the game with a sublime finish in the 56th minute, with a ball played through by Storm Roux, which made the deficit for them two goals.
The Columbian created five chances and was at the centre of the majority of the Mariners’ attacking raids.
Anthony Caceres provided the assist for the opening goal of the game in the fourth minute through Rhyan Grant.
The 31-year-old scored the second goal of the game in the eighth minute and his good work brought about the Sky Blues third goal through an own goal by Mariners centre-back Dan Hall.
In his post-match interview Caceres was philosophical: “satisfied with the performance overall. Firstly, we had to match their intensity. We’ve got a lot of growth left in us. I think we executed the game plan well.”
Marcelo got the Wanderers a point in the 92nd minute; it was a clinical header from a corner by the new signing Sonny Kittel and it was a remarkable goal, as it may be a season-defining point for them.
Apostolos Stamatelopoulos scored a brace and gave the Jets a good opportunity to win the game, which they failed to do.
The 24-year-old scored from the penalty spot in the 50th minute, which made the score 2-2. He followed that up with a fantastic header in the 70th minute, that gave the Jets the lead.
The striker made some interesting comments: “It’s just the story of our season. It’s my job to put the ball in the back of the net. We just let it slip.”