Hyundai A-League Weekend Wrap
Drama, intrigue, exhilaration, heartbreak, controversy, passion, record crowds, hoodoo’s broken … the second round of the Hyundai A-League had it all. If the rest of the season is played like this then its going to be very exciting one the fans which they will not easily forget.
Drama, intrigue, exhilaration, heartbreak, controversy, passion, record crowds, hoodoo-s broken … the second round of the Hyundai A-League had it all. If the rest of the season is played like this then its going to be very exciting one the fans which they will not easily forget.
Results Newcastle Jets 2 lst QUEENSLAND ROAR 3 NEW ZEALAND KNIGHTS 1 bt Adelaide United 0 MELBOURNE VICTORY 2 bt Sydney FC 2 PERTH GLORY 2 bt Central Coast Mariners 0
Game Wraps Queensland recorded the first away victory of the season and stayed top of the table, with Scotsmen Simon Lynch grabbing a late winner. It was rough justice on the Newcastle Jets who dominated large parts of the game and fought back twice. A mix up at the back by the Jets allowed Reinaldo to open the scoring early, but a Roar mix up resulted in Chad Gibson scoring an own goal and it was all tied up. In a bad night for the captain, the Jets captain Paul Okon also put through his own net to give Roar back the lead, but parity was restored with Mark Bridge making it 2-2 at the break. Newcastle dominated the second half searching for a home win, but Lynch was quickest to react after the ball struck Okon on the chest to give Queensland the three points.
New Zealand broke a hoodoo in spectacular fashion with Malik Buari-s sensational strike from 20-metres with three minutes of normal time remaining, earning the Knights its first ever win at North Harbour Stadium. The win was richly deserved as they dominated last season-s premiers, who have started the season with two losses on the trot. Last season-s wooden-spooners gave their long-suffering fans finally something to smile about and the hint of good season ahead.
Just under 40,000 were on hand at the Telstra Dome to witness one of the most drama-charged nights in Australian domestic football history. The game had it all with most of the key decisions on the night falling the way of home Victory. The first 20 minutes was all action, with two controversial goals going the way of Melbourne, scored by Danny Allsopp and Kevin Muscat from the penalty spot. Not long after Sydney-s captain Mark Rudan was then sent off after first receiving a yellow card and then going with it, while Alessandro was on the ground. But it didn-t stop there as Sydney hit back with Iain Fyfe grabbing his second successive goal. 10-men Sydney was more than matching the home side, but soon after half time, Melbourne went two goals ahead again, with Muscat-s superb ball not dealt with by Qantas Socceroo Mark Milligan and Allsopp had the simple task of lobbing a stranded Clint Bolton. The drama didn-t stop their with Milligan going down holding his throat and then Sydney put a scare into the Victory fans when Carney-s shot was deflected into the net, setting up a tense finish.
Perth Glory put aside the disappointing end to their Round 1 encounter against Queensland, with an impressive performance in defeating Central Coast Mariners 2-0 at Members Equity Stadium. Kiwi International Leo Bertos and former West Ham and Birmingham City star Stan Lazaridis led the way for Perth, but it was the foresight of Simon Colosimo that led to first goal, his quickly taken free kick catching the Mariners out, while they looked to form a wall. They wrapped up the deserved win when Stuart Young drove a Bertos cross home with ten minutes remaining.
Highlights Despite a week of upheaval in the code that had a few of football-s rival sports believing its bubble had burst, just under 40,000 fans at Melbourne-s Telstra Dome turned up and showed that the code is alive and well. We can also not forget New Zealand Knights winning its first ever Hyundai A-League game at North Harbour Stadium thanks to Malik Buari-s late strike.
Weekend Goals Tally: 13
Card Count: 17 yellows - 2 red
Attendance/Average: 58,335 / 14,584
Goal of the Week A goal to savour for New Zealand Knights fans. A stunning strike from Malik Buari, who held off Richard Alagich wide on the left and then from just outside the corner of the penalty area, his shot whistled past Adelaide keeper Robert Bajic and nestled into the top corner. The former Fulham midfielder could be the find of the season and in his two games so far has shown he will be a handful for defenders all season long.
Player of the Week If there were any doubters about, who questioned how effective Qantas Socceroo Stan Lazaridis will be for Perth Glory this season, they were laid to rest at Members Equity Stadium on Sunday. Lazaridis playing in a more advanced role than he was used to in his days with Birmingham City, displayed all his attacking skills and experience in guiding Perth to a deserved win. Based on this display, we can look forward to some vintage Lazaridis in the season ahead and that will be exciting to watch.
One to Watch Several this week, including Malik Buari (New Zealand) and Mark Bridge (Newcastle), but Leo Bertos from Perth looks to be an exciting player and one to watch. His two games to date, he has looked lively in attack and very creative and if he retains his consistency, will be a key player for Glory.