Sydney FC stormed to an impressive A-League record with their 19th victory of the season in Round 25, while the fight for the final play-off spots took a couple of interesting turns. Here’s how it all played out last weekend.
Controversial penalty mars Glory v Reds
A dubious penalty late in the first half gifted Perth their goal in an eventual 1-1 draw with Adelaide, in a match where the scoreboard probably didn’t reflect the all-round excitement of the contest. Defending champions Adelaide hit the lead on 23 minutes after Taylor Regan glanced a corner towards goal which Dylan McGowan then headed home awkwardly. But just before the break McGowan turned villain when he slid and missed a dribbling Diego Castro inside the box, before making a second effort which connected, with Castro going down to earn a penalty. The Spanish magician then converted to even scores, as it would remain through a scoreless second half. The shared point saw Perth lose ground in the highly competitive race for a top-four spot.
Cornthwaite double leads slick Wanderers to win
The Newcastle Jets’ slim play-off hopes ended, while Western Sydney’s received a further boost as Wanderers got up for a 3-0 win on Saturday night. Captain Robert Cornthwaite’s strikes in the 40th and 50th minutes, along with a Jaushua Sotirio goal in the middle, gave Western Sydney a comfortable margin heading into the final 40 minutes, as they made it four-straight A-League games undefeated. Both of Cornthwaite’s goals came from commanding headers, while Sotirio smashed home a volley following a free kick. The win takes Wanderers up to fifth on the ladder and they could now secure a finals spot this weekend if results go their way.
— Footy Analysis (@footyanalysis) April 1, 2017
Relentless Sydney hit record books
They already have the Premier’s Plate wrapped up, but Sydney FC showed no signs of dropping their standards in Round 25, powering past Melbourne City 3-0 on Saturday. After a scoreless first half, FC captain Alex Brosque scored on 57 minutes before Brazilian forward Bobo appeared twice at the back post to bag further goals. The win means Sydney FC now own the record for the most victories in a single A-League season (19). For Western Sydney it leaves them battling to hold onto their four position on the ladder, with Western Sydney (two points behind) and Perth (three points behind) breathing down their necks.
— Sydney FC (@SydneyFC) April 1, 2017
Brilliant Bonevacia keeps Phoenix hopes alive
A pair of long-range goals from midfielder Roly Bonevacia inside the opening half hour helped Wellington to an upset 3-0 win over second-placed Melbourne Victory, to keep them in the play-off race. Leading 2-0 at the break, Wellington were in control but did have to survive a second-half resurgence from the Victory, before All Whites striker Shane Smeltz iced the result with a goal in the final minute of regulation play. Melbourne did it with 10 men for the final 20 minute after defender Alan Baro was dismissed for mowing down Kosta Barbarouses on his way to goal. The Phoenix are now just four points away from the sixth-placed Glory, with two matches remaining to try and secure a play-off berth. Melbourne meanwhile are mathematically a chance of falling from second place, but with a six-point advantage over third-placed Brisbane, and a commanding +17 goal difference, it seems unlikely.
— Morgan (@zealmanNZ) April 2, 2017
Roar hit devastating form in Mariners rout
The first half suggested it could be destined for a stalemate at Suncorp Stadium, before an incredible six second-stanza goals brought the contest to life and saw Brisbane clock a 5-1 victory to remain third on the ladder. Central Coast had opened the scoring four minutes after the break via a Fabio Ferreira rocket, before prolific Brisbane forward Jamie McLaren bagged a hat-trick in the space of eight minutes. Further Roar goals to Thomas Broich and substitute Nick D’Agostino capped off a remarkable match, with Brisbane establishing a three-point buffer over fourth-placed Melbourne City. The Central Coast remain rooted at the bottom of the ladder, with the wooden spoon beckoning as the final fortnight approaches.
— Brisbane Roar (@brisbaneroar) April 2, 2017