Hyundai A-League Team of the Week: Round 9
Milos Ninkovic pulled the strings from the midfield, while Nikola Mileusnic and Sarpreet Singh danced past defenders, in an eventful Round 9.
Lawrence Thomas was unlucky to concede so late in the Melbourne Derby and may have wished he had Louis Fenton in front of him.
Did we get the selection right for Round 9?
Lawrence Thomas (Melbourne Victory)
After a nervy start to the Melbourne Derby, Thomas settled into his normally assured self with a series of smart stops.
His four saves included an important hand to Rostyn Griffiths' stinging drive and the game-changing one-on-one denial of Lachlan Wales.
Louis Fenton (Wellington Phoenix)
A powerhouse performance from Fenton included everything aside from what would have been a well-earned goal.
The New Zealand international has taken to his role as a right wing-back with ease and injected real thrust into Wellington at Westpac Stadium.
He made six clearances, provided four crosses and finished with a passing accuracy of 93 per cent.
Aaron Calver (Sydney FC)
Jop van der Linden might have a tough time getting back into Sydney FC's starting XI.
His deputy, 22-year-old Calver, was composed and combative in quelling a high-class opposition attack at nib Stadium.
Alex Wilkinson could have a new long-term partner in central defence.
Scott Jamieson (Melbourne City)
Some questions might be asked of his part in Ola Toivonen's opener in the Melbourne Derby but the City skipper's response was telling.
Dario Vidosic's last-gasp equaliser wouldn't have happened without the left-back's brilliant run and measured delivery.
Jamieson made eight crosses in total while topping his team's tally for passes and duels.
Milos Ninkovic (Sydney FC)
Steve Corica must have been delighted see to star midfielder Ninkovic back to his best against Perth.
The Serbian was involved in both of Sydney FC's goals and unleashed three shots himself during a masterful performance.
Sarpreet Singh (Wellington Phoenix)
Mark Rudan described him as a "little gem" and it won't be long before Singh is recognised as much more than that.
Phoenix's chief playmaker was sensational in bamboozling Brisbane, compiling some extraordinary stats to go with his canny free-kick.
The teenager led both teams for shots (five), key passes (four) and duels (16).
Dimitri Petratos (Newcastle Jets)
Star playmaker Petratos was the standout force in inspiring Newcastle's come-from-behind triumph in the F3 Derby.
The 26-year-old constantly probed for openings in the early part of the second half and Central Coast Mariners' inability to contain him sealed their fate.
Petratos registered three key passes, four shots and an enormous 12 crosses to underscore his contribution.
Truth be told, Mileusnic is more of a winger than a midfielder, but our hypothetical formation allows the flexibility to fit him in our squad.
And, with two goals against Western Sydney Wanderers in the space of seven minutes, how could we not include him in our squad?
Mileusnic is growing into a reliable, attacking outlet for Marco Kurz's side, three years after making his debut in the 2016/17 Season.
Now, the 25-year-old threatens almost every time he gets the ball and has kick started his goal tally for the campaign.
David Williams (Wellington Phoenix)
Wellington's big win over Brisbane was made to look easy thanks in large part Williams' impact off the bench.
The ex-Roar forward changed the game in his 30-minute cameo, the highlight of which was an excellent curling finish to restore Phoenix's lead.
Scoring in the Hyundai A-League for the first time since March 2015 should do wonders for the 30-year-old's confidence.
Ola Toivonen (Melbourne Victory)
Took his goal with aplomb and the volley was one of several classy touches which helped Victory into the ascendancy during the second half at AAMI Park.
It's four in five starts now for the big Swede, who had the joint-most shots of any player in the match.
Oriol Riera (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Oriol Riera grabbed his second goal in as many games, as Western Sydney Wanderers salvaged a point against Adelaide United on Boxing Day to finish off Round 9 proceedings.
The 32-year-old has had 36 shots on goal, 20 of which have been on target, and five of which have found the back of the net.
Riera appears to be growing into the form that captured the Hyundai A-League in 2017/18 Season, so defenders beware.
Coach of the Round
Steve Corica (Sydney FC)
Not many teams will got to nib Stadium this season and return home with three points, let alone with the general level of comfort Sydney FC enjoyed.
Aside from a nervy few moments after Chris Ikonomidis cut the deficit late on, the Sky Blues were largely in control and worthy 2-1 winners over the previously unbeaten leaders.
A statement victory from the Premiers and the biggest of Steve Corica's short tenure.
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