A couple of rockets earned draws in Wellington and on the Central Coast, while Newcastle closed the gap on Sydney as the defending champions were held in a stalemate. Here’s our wrap of the Round 16 A-League action.
Jets tough out win over Roar
The Newcastle Jets scored early to defeat a dogged Brisbane Roar 1-0, extending their unbeaten run to three games.
Newcastle split the Brisbane backline early with a long ball, which was expertly tapped on by Andrew Nabbout to set midfielder Jason Hoffman up with the opening goal on 11 minutes. The Roar were throwing plenty at the Jets though, and had a penalty shout turned away when Daniel Leck went down inside the box two minutes after his side had conceded. At the other end Jamie Young was continuing his stellar form between the sticks for the Roar, blocking a powerful Dimitri Petratos free kick and Nabbout shot late in the first half. Through the second the Jets dominated proceedings, and once again Young was the only reason Newcastle couldn’t extend their lead. In a game of missed opportunities for both teams, Glen Moss made a key stop to deny a headed equaliser with 20 to go, and come full-time Newcastle were worthy 1-0 winners.
Screamer earns Nix draw with Wanderers
Western Sydney fended off a fast-finishing Wellington to secure a 1-1 draw on their trip across the ditch, with the Phoenix’s new star signing stealing the show with one of the goals of the season.
Wellington had made a positive start, forcing a clever feet save from Western Sydney keeper Vedran Janjetovic, but it would be the Wanderers who drew first blood on 28 minutes. A bouncing ball from a free kick found Brendon Santalab on the penalty spot, with the veteran marksman meeting the ball with a targeted volley for the lead. Mark Bridge should have doubled the visitors’ lead 90 seconds later, pushing his effort wide, while Oriol Riera’s dinking header was kept out only by a diving Lewis Italiano, leaving the score locked at the break. An otherwise fairly dour second half was set alight by new Phoenix import Matija Ljujic’s brilliant long-range effort, which snuck in next to the post leaving no chance for Janjetovic. The Wanderers went down to 10 after Brendan Hamill was shown his second yellow with two minutes to go, and Wellington should have taken full advantage in added time, only for Matthew Ridenton to take an ill-advised shot rather than pass to a wide open Andrija Kaluderovic or Roy Krishna.
Ljujic, take a bow.
What a STUNNING equaliser!
🎥: Fox Sports pic.twitter.com/OKu6BZS9iV
— Hyundai A-League (@ALeague) January 13, 2018
Late winner gets Victory home v Glory
It was goals aplenty in Melbourne on Saturday night, as the Victory got past the Perth Glory 3-2 thanks to a 90th-minute winner from Kosta Barbarouses and a start performance from Leroy George.
The scoring started in the second minute, with Scott Neville heading home, and it quickly became obvious that an open game was on the cards. After Liam Reddy initially saved George’s shot one-on-one, James Troisi smashed the rebound home to equalise, leaving the game tied at oranges. Two minutes into the second period George again served as the provider, whipping in a free kick which Mark Milligan flicked on into the net. A nearly 40 minute break in the scoring was ended by Diego Castro’s chipped effort up over Lawrence Thomas, which drew things up at 2-2. Melbourne had a chance to win it with two minutes left, only for Besart Berisha to put his shot onto the upright, but seconds later Barbarouses would make no such mistake, breaking free to get his foot to a George long ball and place the winner into the side of the goal.
Thought that would end in disaster. But cometh the hour cometh the man, Kosta Barbarouses.
A great win for our boys in blue.#MVFC
— William Caldwell (@Will_Caldwell10) January 13, 2018
Dramatic draw in swirling Gosford
Down to 10 men for over an hour of the match, Melbourne City rallied to secure a remarkable comeback draw against the Mariners on Sunday afternoon.
FT | Central Coast 2-2 City
— Melbourne City FC (@MelbourneCity) January 14, 2018
The opening goal more closely resembled a game of pinball at the local arcade than football, but was effective nonetheless, as Lachlan Wales swung a free kick in, which was headed onto the crossbar by City player Harrison Delbridge, before Alan Baró’s quick reactions saw him head home the scraps. Melbourne’s woes soon worsened when Delbridge was shown a red for a reckless challenge in the middle of the park, leaving his side with an uphill battle. Just before the break Scottish magician Ross McCormack equalised, only for it to be undone five minutes into the second stanza when Jake McGing netted for the Mariners, with the crossbar once again providing the assist. But City refused to go away, eventually getting their deserved reward via a bullet from Marcin Budzinski to secure a road point which for much of the game had looked highly unlikely.
FC held by United in exciting draw
An under-strength Adelaide United defied the odds to secure a 0-0 draw against top-of-the-table Sydney FC at Coopers Stadium.
If you’re an Adelaide fan you’d be smiling like the Joker after that performance. #ADLvSYD
— Les Street (@official_lesdog) January 14, 2018
Adelaide keeper Daniel Margush proved the hero for the home side, pulling off a number of quality saves to keep scores even, in a game where Sydney dominated possession. Polish star Adrian Mierzejewski went close early for FC, while at the other end Adelaide defender Ryan Strain pinged a long-range effort off the bar. Tempers flared and threatened to spill over at one stage, as both sides vented their frustrations at the nature of the match. Veteran Alex Brosque did everything but score when he broke free and pushed his effort just wide of an open goal in the second half, but in the end FC couldn’t find a way past the organised United defence and the brilliant Margush in goal.