A-League | Matildas | A-League finals
While the Matildas head for some downtime in the Dead Sea, it's all eyes on Melbourne for the first weekend in the A-League finals16 April 2018 | FT Editor
Western Sydney Wanderers v Adelaide United, 2-3 (Attendance: 12,122)
- A season that started with a seismic shock, when coach Tony Popovic walked out less than a week before the season start, and ended in tears for Western Sydney Wanderers with a red card to Keanu Baccus in the 62nd minute more or less putting paid to the possibility of a win for the home side when it was delicately poised at 2-2.
- Tom Smithies writes that the Josep Gombau "project" has failed, on the basis of five and a half months, and he's taken the club from fourth to seventh.
- Dominic Bossi writes much the same thing, also noting that the VAR intervened twice: once to hand the Wanderers a penalty, which Oriel Riera failed to convert, and the second time with the correct decision to send-off Baccus.
- Of course, it also means that Adelaide United head into the semi-final v Melbourne Victory on Sunday with some wind in their sails after securing their first win away to the Wanderers in nine attempts.
- Will the club's management stick with Gombau, or will they be spooked by certain commentators (with whom Gombau has declined to have a beer) and who say failing to make the finals means he should be gone?
- And nothing like belief. John Aloisi, whose team made the finals thanks to their win on Saturday night and Western Sydney Wanderers' loss yesterday, says Brisbane Roar can win the A-League grand final. If they do so from sixth position, they will break an A-League record (we just had to use that word today).
- If momentum is everything heading into finals, then Newcastle Jets have it aplenty when they meet either Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory or Adelaide United in two weeks time, after their 2-8 F3 demolition derby on Saturday.
Central Coast Mariners
- We wrote yesterday that the Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets match gave Mike Mulvey plenty to think about - and now the man says it himself! He also says he's not deterred by the job ahead of him, that the past is the past and it's looking ahead from this day forward.
It being the end of the season, Ante Jukic and Jonathan Howcroft of The Guardian give their A-League team of the season with the winners being Lawrence Thomas, Michael Zullo, Luke Wilkshire, Alex Wilkinson, Bart Schenkeveld, Josh Brillante, Steven Urgakovic, Milos Ninkovic, Adrian Mierzejewski, Leroy George and Bobo.
What do you do when you're in Jordan? Plenty - it's actually a wonderful country to visit with so many sights.
However, elite athletes don't get to be 'ordinary' tourists with their time in camp mostly spent training, sleeping, playing, receiving treatment, playing computer games and so on, but the Matildas made a deal with coach Alen Stajcic that if they topped their group, they could have an outing. Top of the list? The Dead Sea of course (picture) where, if you wanted to, you could swim from Jordan to the West Bank or Israel and back again.
It will be all eyes on Melbourne on the weekend when Melbourne City meet Brisbane Roar on Friday night and Melbourne Victory meets Adelaide United on Sunday. Michael Lynch gives a brief overview. Melbourne Victory also has an Asian Champions League match v Shanghai SIPG at home on Wednesday and it is unlikely that Kevin Muscat will risk too many of his top players.
- Friday 20 April: Melbourne City (3rd, 43 points) v Brisbane Roar (6th, 35 points) at AAMI Park, Melbourne, 7.50pm AEST
- Sunday 22 April: Melbourne Victory (4th, 41 points) v Adelaide United (5th, 39 points) at AAMI Park, Melbourne, 6pm AEST
- Friday 27 April: Newcastle Jets (2nd, 50 points) v highest-ranked elimination final winner at McDonald Jones Stadium, 7.50pm AEST
- Saturday 28 April: Sydney FC (1st, 64 points) v lowest-ranked elimination final winner at Allianz Stadium, 7.50pm AEST.
- Saturday 5 May or Sunday 6 May: details TBC
a-league, matildas, a-league finals