Round 12 of the A-League started with a flurry of goals and ended with a couple of defensive slogs, with the competition’s runaway top two finding more glory with wins and the foot of the table doing nothing to help end 2017 on a high note. Here’s the week that was in Australian top-flight football.
Keogh and Castro steal the game for Glory
Two goals in two minutes of the dying stages saw the Perth Glory come from behind and beat Brisbane 2-1 at Suncorp Stadium, in a result which keeps them just a point away from fourth position.
Dynamic Roar youngster Nicholas D’Agostino put a pair of promising chances up over the goal inside the first half hour, one off the foot and then the head, before veteran Italian forward Massimo Maccarone showed them all how it was done with a wonderful first touch which beat the defender, before pushing the ball into the corner of the net. It was all Brisbane as the second half rolled around too, with the Roar being denied further goals to Maccarone and D’Agostino due to offside calls. Perth had keeper Liam Reddy to thank for keeping them in the game as the final 15 minutes arrived, at which point Andy Keogh and Diego Castro decided to take matters into their own hands. First Castro provided the cross for Keogh to score on 80 minutes, before Keogh found the Spaniard unmarked for a tap in and the winning goal, capping what had only minutes earlier appeared an unlikely comeback.
Jets coast past Wanderers
Newcastle maintained pace with Sydney FC at the top of the ladder with a crushing 4-0 defeat of Western Sydney on Friday night, piling more pressure onto the beleaguered Wanderers in the process.
A low rocket from defender Johnny Koutroumbis got things go after 10, but it was a lead they would have to be content with until the hour, when Jason Hoffman doubled it with a piercing run through the heart of the Western Sydney defence. Further goals to Benjamin Kantarovski off the head, and Steven Ugarkovic who danced through, exposed the serious defensive issues which exist inside the Wanderers right now. The victory guarantees Newcastle will head into the new year comfortably in second on the table, as they continue a remarkable turnaround from collecting last year’s wood spoon.
26 pts after 12 games, us Jets supporters have been very spoilt this Christmas! Wonderful position to be in not even half way through the season. McGree & Rodriguez to come & players coming back from injury…believe we can give SFC a run for top spot!#NTUA
— Ivan Hecimovic (@hecivan70) December 25, 2017
Bobo hat-trick leads FC to big road win
Three goals from Brazilian magician Bobo helped Sydney FC past the Wellington Phoenix 4-1, as the Kiwi franchise finished a tumultuous week which saw them part ways with their best player in season 2017/18 and their assistant coach.
It was a game which put on full display the gulf in quality between the A-League’s best team and its worst. Sydney FC looked confident in spraying the ball around right from the start, and had a legitimate penalty claim waved away early before Bobo opened his account following a quick counter launched by Polish international Adrian Mierzejewski. Wellington’s backline went missing in action for the second, which saw Mierzejewski shadow to the backpost unmarked for a tap-in, but the home side received some hope again when the prolific Andrija Kaluderovic dinked in a header before the break. Despite both Adam Parkhouse and talented rookie Sarpreet Singh going close in the second for the Nix, Sydney FC were fully deserving of the final 4-1 margin after Bobo completed his hat-trick with a left-footed shot and a header.
After #WELvSYD last night, @OFICIALBob13 is now the @ALeague leading top scorer with 10 goals in 12 games, 5th in assists with 4, and is now the all time second top goal scorer for @SydneyFC with 34 goals in 49 appearances.
Another level. pic.twitter.com/NTlNzItOhF
— Ben 💪🏻 (@YeahTheBuijs) December 24, 2017
Late drama headlines Melbourne Derby
It took 96 minutes for the match to come alive, but it was well worth the wait for the Melbourne Victory, who upset their cross-town rivals with a late penalty to Mark Milligan which secured a 1-0 win.
The Victory enjoyed the early running, and were unlucky not to take a decent lead into the sheds after a series of near misses on goal, including Leroy George being denied by the post. By midway through the second stanza, City were at times hanging on by the skin of their teeth, and a Victory go-ahead seemed inevitable, with Besart Berisha smashing a volley at Dean Bouzanis in goal. Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas was called upon for a couple of fine saves late as well, and in the end it was a late brain fade from Bouzanis, who jumped and took down Milligan inside the box for the deciding penalty, which decided the game. The veteran stepped up and calmly slotted for a memorable derby win, which also sees City lose touch with Newcastle in the race for second on the ladder.
— Melbourne Victory (@gomvfc) December 24, 2017
United hold on for narrow Boxing Day victory
Adelaide United netted early and sat on their lead, at times unconvincingly, to remain fourth on the A-League ladder with a 1-0 win over the Central Coast on Tuesday evening.
Some precision short play in the attacking third led to Adelaide opening the scoring via Ryan Kitto after only 14 minutes, suggesting a high-scoring encounter was on the cards. But while the play remained open and exciting, both sides saved their best work for the defensive ends of the field from that point on, with attacking execution lacking on several occasions. Both sides were doing the work through the middle, creating a glut of chances on goal, but all confidence evaporated with the net in sight. Keepers Ben Kennedy and Paul Izzo performed admirably when called to action, adding weight to thoughts that they are the two best shot-stoppers in the competition after 12 weeks.
— Adelaide United FC (@AdelaideUnited) December 26, 2017