Sydney sides go top and City snare mental edge for FFA Cup | A-League Round 2 Review
The Sydney derby is perfectly poised as Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC both got wins in Round 2 to make it a top of the table clash.
Western United showed they’re the real deal with a hard fought draw against defending Premiers Perth Glory but Melbourne Victory and Adelaide have struggled to get off the ground so far.
Melbourne Victory 1 – 2 Western Sydney Wanderers | Marvel Stadium
The Wanderers have won their first two games of the A-League season for the first time in their history.
There were few clear chances for either side in the first half. Matt Jurman hit the post from a Wanderer’s set piece and Elvis Kamsoba showed why he’s such a bright talent creating Victory’s best chance, denied by Daniel Lopar who was excellent in goal all night.
Western Sydney looked dangerous in the second half and got their reward early courtesy of a long-range Keanu Baccus screamer. Alex Meier doubled the lead soon after punishing a defensive mixup from Victory with a perfectly weighted lob for a deserved maiden A-League goal.
Victory were given a penalty lifeline courtesy of a handball in the box and Ola Toivenen made no mistake but the Wanderers were very effective in shutting the game down from there. Worrying signs for the Victory considering their only goal so far has come from the penalty spot.
Western United 1 – 1 Perth Glory | GMHBA Stadium
It was another historic day for Western United as they played their first home game at Kardinia Park in Geelong. The first half was tight and void of any clear chances but boy did things open up in the second half.
Panagiotis Kone made United’s first home goal one to remember with a perfectly placed shot in the top corner just after half-time. Both sides traded chances before substitute Kristian Popovic rewarded his father’s decision to bring him on with a clinical header to equalise in the 75th minute.
It was a frantic final 15 with both teams pushing for a winner. Bruno Fornaroli saw his low curler pushed away by Filip Kurto before Liam Reddy stood strong to deny Kone a second off a fast United break. Young Dylan Pierias almost became an instant Western United hero with what looked to be a perfect chip past Reddy only to see it bounce back off the crossbar.
Both sides were forced to settle for a draw but it’s another positive sign for the new boys who continue to show that they mean business in their first season.
View this post on Instagram
Central Coast Mariners 1 – 1 Newcastle Jets | Central Coast Stadium
It was an action packed F3 derby at Central Coast Stadium right from the first whistle. Milan Duric smashed home a wonderful volley in the 5th minute of the game for his second goal of the season. The rest of the first half was a tight and cagey affair but the Mariners came out firing in the second with Duric almost getting a spectacular second when his free kick was just pushed onto the post by Glen Moss.
It was the Jets that got a chance to equalise soon after when the Mariners were penalised for a handball in the box. Mark Birighitti pulled off a brilliant save to stop Dimi Petratos’ penalty before VAR ruled him to have stepped off his line in the process. Petratos stepped up for a second attempt and sent it the same way, with Birighitti unable to repeat his heroics.
Birighitti was able to deny former Mariner Matt Millar on his return to Gosford with a sharp block of the defender’s volley. Duric really deserved a winner but it wasn’t to be with his long-range effort in the dying minutes cannoning back off the post to leave the F3 derby a justified draw.
Melbourne City 2 – 1 Adelaide United | AAMI Park
City lacked the finishing touch in the derby last week but a returning Jamie Macalaren was exactly what they needed against Adelaide in the precursor to tomorrow night’s FFA Cup Final. His striker’s instinct had him in perfect position to latch onto a deflection and poke it past Izzo for City’s opener midway through the first half and intent on making up for lost time, Maclaren was in the right spot again just minutes later to score his second from a corner.
Adelaide found their feet half-an-hour in and the lightning quick Nikola Mileusnic was just a yard off from reaching a cross to finish a counter attack he started. The reds pressed and finally got their reward midway through the second half when former City man Riley McGree swept the ball into the bottom corner after it popped out from a scrappy corner. He had a golden opportunity to equalise for the reds minutes later but flashed his volley across the face of the goal from close range.
Alas, Adelaide continued to probe for an equaliser but just couldn’t find the finishing touch required. They’ll look to make amends when silverware is on the line tomorrow night.
Sydney FC 2 – 1 Wellington Phoenix | Leichhardt Oval
It was a truly stunning Sunday evening for this clash in Sydney’s inner west and Leichhardt Oval showed why so many in the league are pushing for suburban grounds to be used more.
Sydney FC came out firing and Rhyan Grant was acting more like a right winger getting two early chances. The Sky Blues got their reward in the 18th minute when Brandon O’Neill showed good close control to dig out a goal from a corner courtesy of a big deflection.
Wellington responded very well though, dominating possession and field position for the rest of the half. Their best chance came just before the break when Josh Sotirio had a free header in the box, forcing Andrew Redmayne to pull off the save-of-the-round to push it wide.
The Phoenix continued to press in the second half and were desperately unlucky to see Davila’s shot hit Redmayne square in the chest before David Ball’s follow up crashed off the post. Finally they got the goal they deserved when Davila shifted it onto his left foot at the edge of the box and placed it smartly in the bottom corner with 20 minutes to go.
Five minutes later though, O’Neill turned from scorer to provider whipping a free kick to the front post where Grant’s deft flick looped over Marinovic for a goal-of-the-round contender. It was a gallant display from Wellington and they’ll feel hard-done by to not have come away with a point but the defending champions showed their class to see out the win.