Wednesday 13 December 2017 / 02:35 PM

A-LEAGUE ROUND 26 WRAP

Video drama, finals teams confirmed and desperation to avoid the wooden spoon – last weekend in Australasian football had it all. Here’s our look at how it all went down in penultimate round of the A-League.

City hold third with gritty win

A home final is now well and truly in Melbourne City’s sights after they picked up a 1-0 victory over Adelaide United on Friday night. A trademark header from superstar import Tim Cahill on 36 minutes was all City needed, with the former Everton player getting on the end of a Nicolas Colazo corner. Melbourne should have doubled their advantage just before half-time after Bruce Kamau unleashed a stinging effort which was kept out by a miraculous save from veteran keeper Eugene Galekovic. The loss for Adelaide means they remain entrenched in a battle with the Central Coast to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon heading into the final round this weekend.

Video controversy as Nix and FC can’t be split

A 92nd-minute equaliser from Michael McGlinchey saw the Phoenix steal a 1-all draw against Sydney FC to temporarily keep their finals hopes alive on Saturday night, in a match full of drama. The A-League elected to trial the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) in the game – a strange decision given what was on the line for Wellington – and on 72 minutes it became a feature point of the match when Sydney were awarded a penalty after video intervention found a Phoenix hand ball inside the box. Prolific forward Bobo stepped up to calmly slot the penalty for FC, but in the dying stages the resilient Phoenix piled forward and secured a last-gasp goal. As it happened the Perth Glory’s victory the next day ended Wellington’s hopes of making the finals anyway.

Wanderers miss golden chance in stalemate

The Western Sydney Wanderers won’t be hosting a home final in 2017, after failing to get over the top of a 10-man Melbourne Victory side for a result which would have kept their top-four hopes alive going into the final round. After Melbourne enjoyed the running of the first half, they had Daniel Georgievski sent from the field in the 53rd minute after he picked up a second yellow card, handing the advantage to Wanderers in the process. But some clever tactical adjustments and pure desperation in defence saw Victory repel numerous Western Sydney raids to earn a point.

Glory wrap up finals spot with convincing win

Finals football is confirmed for the Perth Glory after they upset the Brisbane Roar 3-1 at nib Stadium, keeping their faint hopes of making the top four alive in the process. Two goals in the final 25 minutes lifted the Glory to the result, after captain Richard Garcia’s 35th-minute strike was cancelled out by Roar midfielder Brett Holman’s goal just before the hour. Andy Keogh and substitute Rostyn Griffiths both found the back of the net for Perth, who will still require a victory over Melbourne City this weekend to have any hope of cracking the top four.

Mariners win tense F3 Derby

The Central Coast Mariners have given themselves every chance to avoid claiming the wooden spoon in 2017, with a 2-0 win over their nearest neighbours the Newcastle Jets, which lifts them even with Adelaide United. After Nick Montgomery gave the Mariners the lead on 32 minutes, Portuguese playmaker Fabio Ferreira doubled the advantage six minutes after the break. Central Coast midfielder Connor Pain played a huge role, assisting both goals on his way to winning the Man of the Match. With the Central Coast and Adelaide playing the A-League’s two top sides this week, the wooden spoon could well be decided by an upset result or goal difference, with Adelaide currently holding a two-goal advantage over the Mariners in that category.

[YouTube – Matchday Highlights]

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About the author

Corey Rosser

One of CBS’s newest contributors, Te Aroha product Corey is the New Zealand correspondent for NRL.com, the editor for the excellent new site Kiwi League Central, and a guru of the local Auckland rugby league scene.

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