2014-15 Hyundai A-League – Round 18 Recap

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A-League Rd 18 - Adelaide v Western Sydney

Tropical Cyclone Marcia forced the Brisbane Roar vs Melbourne Victory clash to be postponed, while further south Sydney blew away Central Coast with a scintillating second half performance that will have made the rest of the competition sit up and take notice.

Sydney FC 4-2 Central Coast Mariners
(Janko 14′ 90’+2, Grant 68′, Smeltz 81′ / Ferreira 45’+1 58′)
Crowd: 14,239 @ Allianz Stadium

After being forced to come from behind to rescue a 3-3 draw last week, Sydney took the initiative this week thanks to an early goal from Austrian marquee man Marc Janko. They couldn’t hold the lead going in to half time, however, with new Mariners signing Fabio Ferreira breaking free in injury time to draw the Mariners level.

It was the ex-Adelaide United man that gave the Central Coast the lead just before the hour mark as an upset looked on the cards. A goal-of-the-year contender from Rhyan Grant levelled things up ten minutes later before Sydney simply swept aside the Mariners with goals to Shane Smeltz and another to Marc Janko sealing all three points at home for the first time since the fourth round.

Adelaide United 2-1 Western Sydney Wanderers
(Djite 51′, Cirio 90’+2 / Haliti 19)
Crowd: 9212 @ Coopers Stadium

The script at Coopers Stadium was torn up inside 20 minutes when bottom of the table Western Sydney took an early lead through Labinot Haliti. After failing to clear from the set piece, Brendon Santalab’s scuffed volley caught the Adelaide defence napping with Haliti pouncing for a tap in at the back post.

A change at half time that saw Awer Mabil introduced sparked life into an otherwise lifeless Adelaide side and they soon restored parity with Bruce Djite beat Ante Covic to the ball on the edge of the box, expertly finising past the 2014 AFC Champions League MVP. Despite creating chance after chance, Adelaide’s profligacy looked as if it would come back to haunt them yet again before Craig Goodwin got in behind the Wanderers defence and cut the ball back for Spaniard Sergio Cirio to side foot home deep into injury time to send the 9000-strong Coopers Stadium crowd into delirium.

Wellington Phoenix 2-2 Newcastle Jets
(Krisha 68′, Hicks 90’+4 / Bonevacia (OG) 12′, Neville 18′)
Crowd: 8437 @ Hutt Recreation Ground

A major boil-over looked to be on the cards when Newcastle took an early 2-0 lead. It was a set of corners that did the trick as first a ricochet off Roly Bonevacia and then a near post flick on from Scott Neville gave the visitors a two-goal advantage. Wellington dominated proceedings for the remainder of the half but try as they might just couldn’t find the back of the net. Only the post prevented Newcastle from scoring a third when Edson Montano’s header smacked the upright late in the first half.

The second half went the way of the first with Wellington, in particular Fijian Roy Krishna, continuing to create headaches for the Jets defence, which eventually cracked with just over 20 minutes remaining when Nathan Burns skipped his way into the box, cutting the ball across goal for Krishna to tap in at the back post. Just when all looked lost, up stepped substitute Jason Hicks in the fourth minute of stoppage time with a sumptuous free kick to earn a point for the home side.

Melbourne City 0-0 Perth Glory
Crowd: 6486 @ AAMI Park

Perth Glory’s winless streak extended to five as they were held to a scoreless draw by Melbourne City on Sunday. Melbourne City had the better of the early proceedings with Paddy Kisnorbo heading over before new marquee man Josh Kennedy was denied his first goal in City colours by a fine save from Danny Vukovic after getting on the end of an inch perfect cross from new signing Kew Jaliens.

Perth’s best chance fell to Andy Keogh, who found himself on the wrong side of the law during the week, when he got the better of Connor Chapman on the touchline, skipping into the box and firing just wide on the half hour mark. Both sides had their chances in the second half, but neither could find the decisive breakthrough and had to make do with sharing the points.

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