It was a weekend of shocks as chances for top teams to stamp their authority went begging, and Perth were left reeling after being kicked out of the finals for serious breaches of the A-League’s salary cap.
Melbourne Victory 0-1 Newcastle Jets
Crowd: 19,277 @ AAMI Park
The title race was thrown on its head when Newcastle Jets caused one of the biggest upsets in recent seasons as the bottom-placed side defied the odds to edge Melbourne Victory 1-0.
Victory, knowing that three points would go a long way to sealing the top spot with a game in hand, played like a side burdened by pressure. Newcastle, with nothing to play for and with no relegation, were free of expectation and it showed as they had the best of the chances in the first half. The visitors should have taken the lead when Enver Alivodic was found free in the box, but the Serbian inexplicably headed wide of the post.
Early in the second half it was Alivodic who played provided, whipping in a ball from the right that Ansell failed to clear, allowing Edson Montano to pounce and give the Jets the lead, a lead that Victory couldn’t reel in.
Perth Glory 0-3 Sydney FC
(Brosque 35’ 65’, Ibini 60’)
Crowd: 7426 @ nib Stadium
Just hours after being heavily punished by FFA for serious breaches of the salary cap, Perth fronted up to face a Sydney side that hasn’t lost on the road all season.
Sydney took advantage of Perth’s fragile state and jumped into the lead late in the first half after Marc Janko’s header was well saved by Danny Vukovic, who could only palm it into the path of Alex Brosque who reacted quickly to tap home the opener.
A stunning strike from Bernie Ibini doubled the lead on the hour mark and Brosque secured a brace when Ibini turned provided, cutting the ball back to find an unmarked Brosque who side-footed home past Vukovic to send Sydney joint top of the table.
Adelaide United 2-3 Brisbane Roar
(Goodwin 71’, Sanchez 90’+4 / Kaluderovic 26’, Galekovic (OG) 40’, Hingert 54’)
Crowd: 10,659 @ Coopers Stadium
After Melbourne Victory slipped up the night previous, Adelaide had a chance to go top of the table when they hosted seventh-placed Brisbane Roar on Saturday afternoon. The visitors have an excellent record in Adelaide and it was no different on this occasion.
Andrija Kaluderovic opened the scoring midway through the first half with a cool finish past Eugene Galekovic, and it was the Reds keeper who was left embarrassed for Brisbane’s second. Galekovic came out of his box to clear a ball only to misjudge the bounce, seeing the ball sail over his head. Reacting quickly he turned to clear, but only managed to boot the ball straight up and in the battle with Jean-Carlos Solorzano then managed to punch the ball into his own net.
Jack Hingert scored a third for Brisbane as they looked on their way to an easy three points. Craig Goodwin gave Adelaide some hope when he scored with 20 minutes left, but despite scoring from the spot in the last minute to pull it back to 3-2 there was no miracle comeback for the home side who remain one point behind Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC.
Central Coast Mariners 1-0 Western Sydney Wanderers
Crowd: 9548 @ Central Coast Stadium
In Central Coast’s final home game of the season, the club paid tribute to retiring veteran John Hutchinson who will call time on his career at the end of this campaign. A good crowd turned out and they were rewarded early when full back Jose Rose stormed forward to score his second goal of the season in just the second minute.
Iacopo La Rocca should’ve equalised for the Wanderers minutes later when presented with a free header but somehow headed over the bar. In the second half Nick Fitzgerald almost made an immediate impact off the bench, going close to scoring with his first touch of the game after fantastic lead up work from Fabio Farreira.
Neither side could add to the scoreboard and it was the Mariners who sent club legend Hutchinson out a winner.
Melbourne City 0-0 Wellington Phoenix
Crowd: 6720 @ AAMI Park
After back-to-back losses at home dented their title hopes, Wellington were gifted a chance to return to the summit after Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United both stumbled.
City started the game brightly and attacked from the outset, creating a number of half-chances. A foul from Singaporean Safuwan Baharudin on Louis Fenton inside the box gifted Wellington a glorious chance to take the lead against the run of play, but Nathan Burns’ spot kick was poor and easily saved by Tando Velaphi in goal. Marquee man Robert Koren tested Glen Moss, the busier of the two goalkeepers throughout the game, with a stinging drive.
City were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position in the last minute of the game with Aaron Mooy delivering a perfect attempt met by Erik Paartalu, who could only watch his header glance to cross bar ensuring the match ended scoreless with Wellington joining Adelaide on 43 points.