A-League | Matildas
Sydney FC becomes the first team to crack 60 points in two consecutive seasons and Bobo becomes the A-League's greatest scorer in a single season09 April 2018 | FT Editor
A "tense climax" to the A-League season writes Ray Gatt as it comes down to two games that could make or break the season of three clubs: Western Sydney Wanderers, Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory.
Jonathan Howcroft has a similar theme in The Guardian writing that after a "predictable season" due to Sydney FC's dominance (yawn), the finals could well be the finals the FFA had to have - and they get the gate also - with places still up in the air, and the form of teams, other than Sydney, coming into the finals period.
Once again, the old chestnut arises about simultaneous kick-offs in the final round - but it's dismissed by FFA/FOX Sports. It's particularly apposite this year as all but one of the five games next weekend will have an impact, one way or the other, on the final make-up and order of positions 3-6 on the A-League ladder with Western Sydney Wanderers in the best position playing the final game of the home-and-away rounds. The matches are:
- Friday: Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
- Saturday: Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne City; Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets; Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar
- Sunday: Western Sydney Wanderers v Adelaide United
Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix, 2-1 (Attendance: 13,182)
For all but the final eight minutes of the game, it looked as if Wellington Phoenix might actually win their fifth game of the season courtesy of an own goal via Leigh Broxham in the 23rd minute. But 'King' Kenny Athiu had different ideas. Heartbreak for Wellington Phoenix, and Melbourne Victory continues to breathe down the neck of Melbourne City for the coveted number 3 position on the A-League table.
- Athiu came on in the 72nd minute, was judged to have been brought down in the box in the 83rd for Leroy George to slot away the equaliser penalty, and then popped-up four minutes later to put away the winner after a well-directed pass from James Troisi. Another version of the AAP report here.
- It was a "flat and frustrated" Melbourne Victory side who looked as if they were sliding towards a defeat until a stunning and dramatic late reversal of fortune writes Anthony Colangelo.
Sydney FC v Adelaide United, 3-0 (Attendance: 9,110)
An opening goal from the apparently evergreen Matt Simon and a brace to Bobo (pictured) who now takes his tally to 26 goals for the season, and it was all over Reds rovers at Allianz Stadium last night. Truth is, Sydney FC could have/should have scored more, such was their superiority over Adelaide United.
- Gatt says here that it was a "bold statement" from Sydney FC as they "took apart" the Reds, with three non-regular players in the side, and mostly on cruise control.
- Records tumble, and the swagger is back, writes Tom Smithies; the 19th win of the season, 63 goals, yada yada yada. Graham Arnold says that playing in the Champions League has prepared them mentally and physically for the finals assault. And some might say the swagger never really went away.
- More here on the win, focussed around Bobo's scoring feats - rightly recorded as the best of any striker in the A-League competition so far.
- From an Adelaide perspective, it was a "dismal" display. The loss means they won't get to host a semi-final, and instead have set-up a do-or-die semi against one of the Melbourne teams.
- John Aloisi accepts responsibility for the position Brisbane Roar finds themselves in after their poor display against Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday evening. He said some of the players he selected were "touch and go" in terms of their readiness. He said after the Wanderers' second goal the players, panicked and started to chase the game rather than stick to the structures.
- Meanwhile, Marco Monteverde helpfully points out that in order to put maximum pressure on Western Sydney Wanderers in the final game of the season, Brisbane Roar must beat Perth Glory in Perth for the first time in more than five years. They last won in Perth in January 2013 when James Meyer gave the Queenslanders a 0-1 victory. Hoo-doos like this are made to be broken.
- After missing so much of the season, Bruno Fornaroli is keen to extend his, and Melbourne City's, as far as possible into the finals series. He wants his side to be as "ruthless as possible".
- 18-year-old Christian Theoharous is likely to leave Melbourne Victory at the end of the season for an unnamed German club.
Western Sydney Wanderers
- Tom Smithies writes that the Wanderers have to "face down destiny" again this coming weekend when nothing but a win against Adelaide United will be good enough to put them into the finals. Josep Gombau says he was happy with the win, as it was the first hurdle to making the finals, but he's now focussing on the next game.
Val Migliaccio follows-up his match report from Amman with some quotes from Alen Stajcic and Emily van Egmond following the 0-0 draw v South Korea. Stajcic said it was up to them to crack defensive tactics, such as those used so effectively by South Korea. He said they need "skill and guile" to create chances and the Matildas didn't do so. Van Egmond echoed his comments.
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