After a round that spanned five days over the Easter weekend, the A-League’s top five clubs are separated by just three points with three matches remaining. It’s set up for an epic finish to the A-League season.
Brisbane Roar 6-1 Central Coast Mariners
(Kaluderovic 21’, Lustica 28’ 41’ 79’, Clut 48’, Borrello 50’ / Bowles (OG) 64’)
Crowd: 6148 @ Suncorp Stadium
Brisbane kept their top six hopes alive with a demolition of an insipid Central Coast outfit.
Serbian Andrija Kaluderovic opened the scoring on 21 minutes, but it was two-long range efforts from midfielder Steve Lustica that brought the small crowd to life and sealed all three points before the half time break.
The Roar walked in a fourth early in the second half and when Brandon Borrello smashed home a fifth after 50 minutes it looked as though they could register double figures.
An unfortunate own goal pegged one back for Central Coast, but Dimi Petratos, after gliding his way past the Mariners defence, teed up Lustica who turned in his third and ensured it would end as the Mariners worst ever loss.
Western Sydney Wanderers 1-1 Melbourne City
(Takahagi 20’ / Novillo 39’)
Crowd: 9054 @ Pirtek Stadium
While the Wanderers have very little left to play for apart from pride, Melbourne City were looking to further cement their place in the top six after Brisbane’s demolition the night previous.
Japanese star Yojiro Takahagi opened the scoring for the Wanderers in impressive style from the dead ball, with Tando Velaphi rooted to the spot as he watched the ball float into the top corner.
City struck back before half time when Frenchman Harry Novillo’s powerful effort from outside the box gave Dean Bouzanis no chance in goal.
Tomi Juric should have given the Wanderers the lead just before half time when Velaphi’s free kick skewed off the side of his boot and straight to Juric who had an open goal to aim at, but his effort curled too much and saved the blushes of Velaphi.
Sydney FC 0-1 Adelaide United
Crowd: 11,585 @ Allianz Stadium
Adelaide completed the ultimate smash-and-grab mission after a late goal to young gun Awer Mabil sent them, temporarily, to the top of the table. Sydney dominated proceedings throughout but a combination of poor finishing and a stellar performance by Eugene Galekovic kept them scoreless.
They thought they had taken the lead during the second half through Marc Janko, who had already jumped the fence to celebrate with The Cove, but the assistant referee raised his flag to indicate the goal was offside.
A long clearance from Galekovic allowed Mabil to get in behind the Sydney defence, cutting back into the box and unleashing a powerful left-footed effort that curled in past the outstretched hand of Vedran Janjetovic.
Wellington Phoenix 0-3 Melbourne Victory
(Finkler 1’, Durante (OG) 59’, Thompson 66’)
Crowd: 8417 @ Westpac Stadium
Wellington’s title hopes took a hit with a second consecutive 0-3 loss at home, this time at the hands of Melbourne Victory.
The visitors couldn’t have asked for a better start after Gui Finkler opened the scoring after just 34 seconds, a lead they held until half time.
Wellington came out in the second half determined to get back into the game and Kenny Cunningham was full of life early, troubling the Victory defence. But an unfortunate own goal from Andrew Durante doubled the Victory’s lead and took the life out of the Phoenix.
A third from veteran Archie Thompson with 25 minutes remaining secured all three points for the visitors and ensured they would finish the round top of the table, still with a game in hand on the rest of the top five.
Newcastle 0-2 Perth Glory
(Keogh 50’, Marinkovic 84’)
Crowd: 4162 @ Hunter Stadium
In a game played in wintry, wet conditions, the Jets were left to rue their profligacy after two second half strikes from Perth Glory saw them leave the Hunter with three points and a share of top spot.
Serbian midfielder Enver Alivodic butchered an early chance to give Newcastle the lead, inexplicably missing what looked to be a gifted goal.
Edson Montano and Mitch Cooper were also guilty of missing chances and they were made to pay when Andy Keogh got on the end of Jamie Maclaren’s inch perfect cross to head past Ben Kennedy and give Perth the lead.
A second from Nebo Marinkovic five minutes from time sealed Perth’s second win in a row after a week in which the club was plunged further into crisis with more revelations regarding their alleged salary cap breach – allegations which, if proven, will almost certainly end their season.