New boys win first game but the Melbourne Derby fizzles | A-League Round 1 Review
The A-League kicked off for it’s 15th season over the weekend with some historic games. Western Sydney Wanderers returned home to Parramatta for their first game at Bankwest Stadium whilst newcomers Western United got the win in Wellington for their inaugural game.
Adelaide United 2 – 3 Sydney FC | Coopers Stadium
The action started in Adelaide on Friday night as they hosted defending champions Sydney FC in what was a very eventful match. 5 goals, 3 VAR decisions, a red card and an 87th minute winner.
Adam Le Fondre got two goals for Sydney in the first half hour as they took control early but Adelaide eventually settled into the game and brought it back to 2-all just after half time. Al Hassan Toure scored the second goal in what was an impressive display from the young striker. The reds looked the better side in the second half before Ryan Strain was sent off.
A goal to Sydney defender Ryan McGowan in the 87th minute sealed the win in what was his debut A-League game for the club.
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 – 1 Central Coast Mariners | Bankwest Stadium
Saturday afternoon saw the long awaited return of the Western Sydney Wanderers to Wanderland hosting Central Coast. The Western Sydney fans were in full voice for their first game in Bankwest but they were silenced just after the half hour mark when Milan Duric let fly a stunning 20-yard strike to give the Mariners the lead.
The Wanderer’s responded quickly with skipper Mitch Duke flicking home a corner to level the score.
Good chances went each way in the second half with both goalkeepers pulling off important saves. It was the VAR that had the final say though awarding a penalty against the Mariners for a handball in the box. It was down to Captain Duke again who cooly slotted home to give the Wanderer’s the win.
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Melbourne Victory 0 – 0 Melbourne City FC | Marvel Stadium
All eyes then turned to the highly anticipated Melbourne Derby at Marvel Stadium. Opinion was split as to who went in as favourites considering both sides have new coaches and lots of new faces. Marvel stadium looked more like an Elton John concert pre-game than a football match but unfortunately, despite all the build-up, the game fizzled.
Both teams had their chances but it finished a disappointing scoreless draw with few highlights to really speak about. Andrew Nabout looked very dangerous for Victory down the right flank and Elvis Kamsoba had an early goal chalked off by the VAR for offside but both sides had to settle for a point each.
Wellington Phoenix 0 – 1 Western United FC | Westpac Stadium
It was over to Wellington on Sunday afternoon for Western United’s historic inaugural A-League game. Considering coach Mark Rudan and three of his players were all at Wellington last season, this was always going to be a frosty start for the league’s newest side.
It was down to the A-League’s greatest ever goal scorer to do the damage though. Besart Berisha celebrated his return to the league he’s had so much success in with a tap-in goal following some impressive build-up play.
The Kiwi’s showed plenty of fight for Ufuk Talay’s first game in charge but United’s defence held strong to take three points from their first ever A-League fixture.
Perth Glory 1 – 1 Brisbane Roar | HBF Park
It was also a first A-League game in charge for Brisbane Roar manager Robbie Fowler. Playing against Perth Glory who Fowler spent a season with as a player. It was a dramatic end to the round with Brisbane stealing an equaliser courtesy of the VAR in the last minute of injury time.
Chris Ikonomidis opened the scoring for Perth in the 34th minute but it was Brisbane who had the lion’s share of possession and chances.
Roy O’Donovan was the man who snatched the goal in the dying moments of added time before his celebrations were cut short by the linesman flagging him offside. Capping off what was a busy round for the VAR, the review system intervened one final time ruling that O’Donovan was in fact onside and Brisbane’s equaliser stood.