2014-15 Hyundai A-League – Round 21 recap

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A-League Rd 21 - Perth v Wellington

Western Sydney secured their first home league win of the season in a catch-up match, with fatigue catching up to them in a quick turnaround. Wellington Phoenix topped the table at the end of the round that was capped off by a nine goal thriller on Sunday.

Western Sydney Wanderers 3-2 Melbourne City (Round 10 catch-up)
(Poljak 38′, Juric 79′(PG), Rukavytsya 90′ / Baharudin 28′, Mooy 71′)
Crowd: 7,239 @ Pirtek Stadium

A Connor Chapman red card helped Western Sydney Wanderers edge Melbourne City to record their first home win of the league season.

Safuwan Baharudin looked to continue the Wanderers’ woes before the half hour mark, after Patrick Kisnorbo’s header from Aaron Mooy’s cross was chested into his path by Yojiro Takahagi for the Singaporean defender to head past a scrambling Dean Bouzanis, adding to his impressive scoring record since joining the side.

Mateo Poljak put the AFC Champions League winners back on level terms ten minutes later, pouncing on the rebound from Tomi Juric’s first shot in the home side’s first complete attack of the night.

Aaron Mooy scored a shock free kick all the way from the touchline to put Melbourne City ahead once again, his attempt alluding everyone to find its way into the net. The Wandeers returned fire from the spot minutes later, with Juric scoring his first A-League goal of 2015 from a penalty kick after the Socceroos striker was pushed off the ball by Chapman.

Chapman received a straight red card in the 82nd minute for approaching the referee to argue an attempted challenge by Takahagi, leaving Strebre Delovski no choice but to give him his marching orders after being manhandled.

The extra man advantage gave the Wanderers the boost they needed to get the job done and they did just that, with Nikita Rukavytsya volleying from Kisnorbo’s attempted clearance to send the home fans into delight.

Adelaide United 2-1 Central Coast Mariners
(Carrusca 24′, Goodwin 67′ / Caceres 23′)
Crowd: 7,767 @ Coopers Stadium

Adelaide found their winning ways at home after two consecutive losses on the road, downing a Central Coast Mariners side in transition under technical director and interim coach Tony Walmsley.

Anthony Caceres put the Mariners ahead after stealing the ball off a lackadaisical Isaias Sanchez and finished with aplomb from outside the box, but Argentinian import Marcelo Carrusca responded within a minute of the restart, sending two defenders the wrong way with a feint before striking in a similar fashion.

New Socceroos call-up Tarek Elrich almost helped Adelaide to double their lead, sending a long ball over the defence into Carrusca’s path, but the playmaker was unable to take the ball in its stride.

It was Craig Goodwin and some luck that helped Adelaide to the three points, taking James Jeggo’s pass inside to shoot, while a wicked deflection from Zac Anderson sent the ball into the net.

Western Sydney Wanderers 0-3 Melbourne Victory
(Berisha 26′ 82′, Thompson 62′)
Crowd: 11,073 @ Pirtek Stadium

With less than 48 hours to recover from their last A-League match due to their congested schedule, Western Sydney fell to the sword of three Fahid Ben Khalfallah assists as Melbourne Victory eased to a three-goal win.

The French-Tunisian attacker started his night of tormenting the opposition by worming his way into the box to send a short cross to the poorly-marked marquee man Besart Berisha, whose quick reactions sent his header into the net.

Nathan Coe made an impressive double-save 15 seconds after the restart, stopping both Jaushua Sotirio’s and Kerem Bulut’s attempts at equalisers before Nick Kalmar sent his shot into the side netting. The former Socceroo was made to make another important save ten minutes later, palming away a Kalmar free kick that was destined for the net.

32-year-old Khalfallah’s speed saw him get on the end of a loose ball in the 62nd minute to send a first-time pass to 36-year-old Archie Thompson to net the Melbourne side’s second of the night, before another magical pass from the Tunisian international found Berisha on a run behind the defence for their third.

Melbourne City 4-0 Newcastle Jets
(Jaliens 18′, Novillo 47′, Williams 63′, Ramsay 87′)
Crowd: 5,867 @ AAMI Park

Melbourne City found themselves back in Finals Series contention as they climbed into the top six with a convincing 4-0 win over struggling last-place Newcastle Jets.

With coach John van ‘t Schip under pressure by owners City Football Group, the home side proved their credentials as an attacking threat after failing to keep themselves ahead in their midweek match.

Kew Jaliens got the ball rolling with a side-footed effort into the net from Aaron Mooy’s corner, which was the only goal of the first half before a romp in the second.

New signing Harry Novillo opened the scoring, with the young Martinique international attacker after capitalising on defensive naivety from the Jets. David Williams doubled the lead after latching onto an inch-perfect pass from Robert Koren, but could possibly consider himself lucky to have not had the goal called offside.

Iain Ramsay finished the scoring with a few minutes remaining, capping off a counterattack by shooting across goal and putting the ball past the wrong-footed Ben Kennedy.

Perth Glory 1-2 Wellington Phoenix
(Zadkovich 29′, Krishna 23′ 78′)
Crowd: 9,178 @ nib Stadium

Wellington Phoenix picked up three important away points to lift themselves to top  of the table against former league leaders Perth Glory with the help of a Roy Krishna brace.

The struggling Perth side almost gave away the opener at the start of the match, with Scott Jamieson’s pass straight into Krishna, which the Fijian striker failed to convert with his one-on-one chance against Danny Vukovic.

He finally found the net 20 minutes later, pouncing as Josh Risdon took too long to clear the danger.

Ruben Zadkovich equalised six minutes later with a bullet from ten yards outside the box, crashing off the upright and into the net to delight the home fans and give them a glimmer of hope.

Andy Keogh and Jamie Maclaren narrowly missed the target early in the second half, while Keogh again threatened to score in the 77th minute as he wriggled his way into the box and stung the gloves of Glenn Moss, but an individual effort a minute later from Krishna resulted in a delightful winner that earned the Fijian international deserved plaudits.

Sydney FC 5-4 Brisbane Roar
(Jurman 7′, Janko 38′(PG) 52′ 75′(PG), Brosque 89′ / Henrique 5′, Kaluderovic 80′(PG), Lustica 84′, Petratos 90′)
Crowd: 13,818 @ Allianz Stadium

Six second half goals entertained the Allianz Stadium crowd despite the wet and windy conditions, as a hat trick from Marc Janko saw Sydney FC win 5-4 despite a late surge by the visiting Roar.

Brisbane opened scoring early, with Costa Rican winger Jean Carlos Solorzano assisting a controversially offside Henrique Silva who scored a goal made with Latin flair.

Matthew Jurman returned fire almost immediately with a vicious shot from the edge of the box after the defender surged forward to assist Janko and Alex Brosque on the front line.

As heavy rain began to pour, penalties became in vogue as referee Chris Griffiths-Jones awarding two for Sydney and one for Brisbane Roar over the course of the game, with Janko scoring two and Serbian attacker Andrija Kaluderovic netting the third.

Janko scored a third goal in open play between his penalties, giving the Sky Blues yet more incentive for their desired contract renewal with the Austrian.

Brandon Borrello played the ball to the edge of the box for Lustica to bring the margin back to a single goal, before Sebastian Ryall squared the ball to Sydney captain Brosque to try to put the game all but out of doubt with moments remaining in regular time.

An error in trying to clear the ball from the Sydney FC penalty area a minute later allowed Dimitri Petratos to fire from close range and close the gap once again, but the four minutes of additional time allowed by Griffiths-Jones was not enough to prevent Sydney FC from securing second on the table for Round 21.