An action-packed Round 20 of the A-League season saw an undefeated streak halted and a flurry of movement inside the top six. Here’s how it all went down.
Adelaide edge home to remain in play-off reach
Cellar-dwellers Adelaide United picked up their first win in four games to keep alive their faint hopes of defending their A-League title. It was a brave effort to come away with a 1-0 win over Newcastle United, who sat inside the top six at the time, while Adelaide also did it without first-choice keeper and captain Eugene Galekovic. A Marcelo Carrusca penalty on 61 minutes, after Tarek Elrich was brought down inside the box by a two-man tackle, sealed the deal for Adelaide, who still sit five points behind the next team above them on the ladder.
— Sportdec (@SportdecApp) February 18, 2017
Melbourne City fire, Nix humiliated at home
Melbourne City romped to their biggest victory of the season, at the expense of a hapless Phoenix side who slipped further from the reach of the top six after the 5-1 defeat. The opening quarter was all about the Phoenix, as they created but failed to execute a number of scoring chances, including a missed penalty from Kosta Barbarouses, before going behind via an own goal on 20 minutes. Bruno Fornaroli volleyed a second first-half goal before Anthony Caceres made it 3-0 just before the hour. Barbarouses got one back for Wellington, but further strikes to Neil Kilkenny and Nicolas Colazo secured the resounding victory which puts City third on the ladder.
Archrivals kill-off FC’s unbeaten streak
Sydney FC never wanted their unbeaten start to the season to end, and they certainly never wanted it to finish at the hands of their cross-town rivals the Western Sydney Wanderers. A beautiful touch from veteran Brendon Santalab brought down a cross on 26 minutes which he finished with precision to give Western Sydney the vital goal, handing Wanderers their first derby win since January 2014. Across the 90 minutes the 44,843-strong crowd at ANZ Stadium were treated to a quality clash, which had end-to-end action and drama from start to finish.
— WS Wanderers FC (@wswanderersfc) February 18, 2017
Glory and Roar go toe-to-toe in draw
The Perth Glory kept their push for a top-four spot going with a 2-2 draw against Brisbane, who dropped back to fourth position themselves after taking a point from the match at nib Stadium on Sunday. It was a game which always looked destined for a draw, and at no point did a team enjoy a lead for more than eight minutes. Prolific Roar forward Jamie Maclaren beat his marker to a loose ball to open the scoring, but six minutes later Nebojsa Marinkovic equalised for the Glory. Five minutes before half-time 17-year-old fullback Dane Ingham banged one home to give his side the lead at the break, but three minutes into the second period Perth striker Adam Taggart pulled it back to 2-2 following a spectacular back heel from teammate Diego Castro which put him into position.
— BNE Football Review (@RoarReview) February 18, 2017
Victory class too much for Mariners
A double from Albanian striker Besart Berisha spurred Melbourne Victory to a 3-0 win over the Central Coast Mariners in the final game of Round 20. Berisha netted in the 26th and 90th minutes, while former Serie A forward James Troisi also scored just before the hour mark, to give the Victory a commanding win. The result, coupled with Sydney FC’s defeat to Wanderers, means second-placed Melbourne still have a chance of winning the minor premiership, while the loss sees the Central Coast slip further from top-six contention.
— Melbourne Victory (@gomvfc) February 19, 2017