With Round 23 of the A-League being played over a split round, last weekend saw just three games played, but with major implications for the play-off picture. Here’s our wrap of the weekend that was, with a reminder that results last weekend saw Sydney FC beat Central Coast 1-0 and Melbourne Victory get up for a 4-1 victory over Perth Glory.
City establish themselves in third with Jets thrashing
Third place on the A-League ladder is now Melbourne City’s to lose after they recorded a 4-0 rout of the Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park. Star import Tim Cahill got things going with a thunderous header past keeper Jack Duncan, before Nick Fitzgerald produced a composed chip for the second on 65 minutes. Uruguayan forward Bruno Fornaroli then made it four with two strikes within six minutes. The first a penalty after Bruce Kamau was taken down by Daniel Mullen, and the second a back-post tap to seal the 4-1 win with nine minutes remaining. City now have a three point gap over nearest rivals Brisbane.
Valkanis: There could have been more but we are happy. #MCYvNEW
— Melbourne City FC (@MelbourneCity) March 19, 2017
Late drama sees Adelaide home against Roar
Defending champions Adelaide United gave their fans a rare opportunity to celebrate in season 2016/17, in downing fourth-placed Brisbane Roar 2-1. The result sees Adelaide climb to within two points of Central Coast, as they race to avoid the wooden spoon, while for Brisbane it leaves them three points behind Melbourne City in third. Papa Diawara had opened the scoring on 16 minutes with a strong header at the back post for the only goal of the first half. The prolific Jamie McLaren hit back for Brisbane on the hour, and the game looked destined for a draw. But eight minutes into added time, United, who were down to 10 men after Marcelo Carrusca picked up his second yellow, stuck the killer blow. After keeper Michael Theo was sent off for elbowing Dylan McGowan inside the box, Sergio Cirio buried the ensuing penalty to secure the last-gasp win.
— Shane Harmon (@ShaneHarmon) March 19, 2017
Wanderers edge closer to play-off berth
The Western Sydney Wanderers have secured a crucial three points in their quest to make the finals, beating nearest chasers Wellington Phoenix 3-1. Goals from Brendon Santalab either side of half-time, and a goal from Nico Martinez had Wanderers comfortably in front inside the final 20 minutes. Phoenix midfielder Gui Finkler curled home a free kick on 76 minutes to add some excitement to the final exchanges, but ultimately Western Sydney had far too much class. Wellington missed a number of scoring opportunities and now face an uphill battle to make the top six, trailing Wanderers by five points with only four games left.
— WS Wanderers FC (@wswanderersfc) March 19, 2017