Friday, 30 October 2015

PREVIEW: Hyundai A-League Round 4


Melbourne City have found form after a tough start to their 2015/16 campaign. Bouncing back from a midweek 3-1 defeat at the hands of Perth Glory in the FFA Cup, City backed up with a dominating win over Central Coast. 

Melbourne started the stronger of the two sides with Aaron Mooy controlling the match with his presence in midfield. After a number of early free kicks that went close to finding the back of the net, Patrick Kisnorbo found himself on the receiving end of a Mooy free kick and comfortably guided it past young Mariners keeper Paul Izzo. The lead was short lived though, with Nick Fitzgerald screamer finding the net from long range despite Sorensen getting a touch on it. City’s defensive lapses were short lived as they continued to press forward and dominate a lacklustre Mariners defence. Come the second half, City new boy Bruno Fornaroli found his feet in the match scoring a brace within the 28 minutes of the restart.

Newcastle have surprised many with the current run of form that they are basking in, having 6 points from their opening three matches and currently sitting 4th (equal 2nd if you want to get specific) on the table. 

Last week they were written off by many as they faced a fiery Victory side who were showing their dominance on the back of a 3-2 Victory over cross town rivals City. The Jets controlled this match for large periods, varying defensive structures from sitting deep in their own half to pushing on high up the field and cutting out the ball before Victory could do anything with it. The first half was a case of rueing missed opportunities with Milos Trifunovic missing a number of chances early on. Last week saw the class of Leonardo who played a key part in the centre of midfield, a number of times making the Victory players look a lot more ordinary than they were already playing. 

Last week also saw the resurgence of Ben Kennedy in goal, with a number of crucial saves made by the shot stopper he has giving new coach Scott Miller a lot to think about going into this week with Mark Birighitti coming back into the line-up. Then there was the man of the match, David Carney who put in another decent performance and scoring from the Leonardo set piece from distance rocketing the ball past Danny Vukovic. Whilst the goal was a great finish Muscat will be asking questions of the Melbourne defence and the wall that was set up to why they left Carney in an open space so large, if they had set up properly that goal doesn’t happen. Newcastle will go into the clash with City this week full of confidence and rightly so having played well under new manager Scott Miller for the first 3 rounds, they will look to push on and continue to climb the ladder and sit 1st for at least tonight.

City walked away convincing winners although the Central Coast didn’t really put up that much of a fight. This week though will be a different story coming up against a Jets side who are in good form. Of the 15 meetings the two sides have had since 2010, (this is including the days of Melbourne Heart), both sides have come away with 6 wins a piece with 3 draws being played out. The key for this match will be the role that Aaron Mooy plays, if Newcastle cannot shut him out of the game, it could be a long night at the office. And my tip is based purely off the likelihood of  shutting out City’s play makers and Mooy.

Keegan’s Tip: 3-1 City
Ty’s Tip: 2-1 City
Alex’s Tip: 1-0 Newcastle

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Mariners haven’t had the start they would have dreamt of after the first round Victory over Perth Glory, slumping to two start losses in convincing fashion being out-played and out-classed on both occasions. Last week simply summed up, they were just poor all round. With the club looking to axe goal keeper Liam Reddy for off field dramas, the Mariners relied on new signing Paul Izzo stepping up to the plate and taking over the gloves. 

Whilst he pulled off a brilliant save from a Aaron Mooy free kick which was cheekily directed at goal from an improbable angle, although he could do nothing about Patrick Kisnorbo’s header. Mariners only highlight from the match came in the 13th minute when Nick Fitzgerald fired a long range pearler past City import Sorensen to equalise the match once again. From then on it was one way traffic with City dominating the midfield and creating chances. Not long after half time City capitalised on their dominance with Bruno Fornaroli scoring a tap in from a David Williams cross, with his brace coming in the 73rd minute as Fornaroli found himself in open space after some poor Mariners defending left him one on one with Izzo, and despite getting a strong hand to it, the ball found its way underneath Izzo and into the back of the net.

Sydney FC got lucky last week as Milos Ninkovic scored an 87th minute goal to seal the win over fierce rivals Western Sydney. This game was by no means a spectacle, it was a typical derby, niggly fouls, drama, flares (because what’s a Sydney derby without Flares), pre match banter and a capacity crowd at each other for the entire match. The banter begun when Graham Arnold called Wanderers home ground a “Garden Shed”, and Wanderers fans fired back with banter of their own which took it too far by stealing the Tifo that the Cove had planned to use at the start of the match. I must add I say Wanderers fans stole it, but this is only from different rumours I have heard.

 The match itself was a free flowing affair with both sides having opportunities but no one capitalising. On the stroke of half time, Sydney found themselves up against the ropes with the Wanderers scoring a header, but it was Sydney who had the last laugh as the linesman correctly ruled him to be offside. Sydney came out in the second half and looked to push on for the win. Again the match was ebbing and flowing but the 87th minute was the break-through and the FC fans erupted.

This will be a good match as long as you’re a Sydney fan. With Arnold, Zac Anderson and Matt Simon all returning to the Central Coast and will be out to show that they are being missed by the Mariners faithful. Sydney will continue their impressive start to the season this weekend with a dominating performance.

Keegan’s Tip: 3-0 Sydney FC
Ty’s Tip: 3-1 Sydney FC
Alex’s Tip: 1-1 Draw

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John Aloisi has begun his career with Brisbane in good form but last week he faced his first defeat in what was a shock defeat at the hands of Wellington Phoenix. The Roar started brightly having scored in the 26th minute through Dimitri Petratos who curled the ball beautifully into the side netting. The lead was short lived though as Michael McGlinchey’s spectacular free kick found its way to the back of the net and soon after half time Brisbane had found themselves behind as Roy Krishna found the back of the net. 

But like Brisbane’s first half lead, Wellington’s lead was only to last 10 minutes before a Jade North from a Brisbane corner was hit straight at Glen Moss but still managed to creep across the line and into the goal. It was Wellington who had the last laugh though as Blake Powell scored into an empty net handing Phoenix the win and giving himself his first goal for his new club. The Aloisi brothers will look to solidify the back line once again this weekend after conceding the three goals last weekend but will have full confidence in Brisbane’s current form in pushing forward and scoring goals.

Adelaide have not had the start they would have wanted to season 11 of the Hyundai A-League. Currently winless with only 2 draws from the first 3 matches they find themselves in 9th. New boss Amor will be eager to get his first A-League victory under his belt this weekend as they travel to QLD to face the Roar. Last week was a week to forget for the Current FFA Cup champions as they were hammered by a resurgent Perth Glory. Perth wasted little time taking control of the match and just before half time Sidnei had put them ahead. Second half only got worse for United as Guyon Fernandez and Diego Castro both scored to put Glory up 3-0 with under 20 minutes remaining. Adelaide did score a consolation goal, although this was also scored by the Glory as Diogo Ferreira put one past Ante Covic.

Adelaide need to win before it is too late and Brisbane will be looking to continue their impressive start to the season and show that last week was a one off.

Keegan’s Tip: 2-1 Brisbane
Ty’s Tip: 2-0 Brisbane
Alex’s Tip: 2-0 Brisbane

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Western Sydney have had a nightmare beginning to the new season having only 1 point from a possible 9. Last week they by no means deserved to lose but did they deserve to win, I highly doubt. Wanderers were good in patches and on a few occasions looked as if they were going to take the lead against their bitter rivals FC. On the stroke of halftime they looked to have hit the lead with a header by Sotirio denied by the linesman who correctly ruled him to be offside. For the rest of the match it was Wanderers attacking and Sydney using the counter attack which inevitably paid off for the sky blues. Wanderers will have a lot of soul searching to do this week as they prepare to play host to Perth Glory. Having only scored 2 goals and having conceded 5 in the opening 3 rounds they will want to find form both defensively and attacking.

Perth have bounced back in the last two weeks from their opening two matches which both ended in defeats. On the back of beating Melbourne City to progress through to the FFA Cup final for the second year running, Perth backed up to hammer Adelaide United 4 days later. Sidnei Sciola opened scoring just before half time and from that point on Perth looked to take control of the match. Second half nothing changed as Perth came out to dominate and when Guyon Fernandez put one in the top corner Adelaide looked to have been finished off. The final nail in the coffin was when Diego Castro comfortably slotted one past John Hall giving Perth the an untouchable lead. Adelaide were able to get one back, but it was not of their own who got it, Diogo Ferreira was the unlucky Glory man who got the honour of claiming that own goal.

Keegan’s Tip: 1-1 Draw
Ty’s Tip: 1-1 Draw
Alex’s Tip: 1-1 Draw

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Melbourne, despite Kevin Muscat’s claims, were simply out played last week by a tactically aware Jets side who capitalised on Victory’s lacklustre performance. On the back of beating cross town rivals 3-2 the week before, Victory went to Newcastle with a dreadful record at Hunter Stadium but full of confidence and a slight sense of arrogance that they always have, and it was that cockiness that looked to have defeated them. 

Newcastle’s goal, whilst it was a pearler from David Carney, it could have been prevented by simply having one less man in the wall to mark him or even bringing back a player from further up the field. The idea at set pieces is to mark everyone who is a threat to your goal and a bloke standing 5 maybe 10 yards away from the kick itself, in my eyes is a pretty big threat at goal. But I digress, Victory were lucky not to have gone behind by 3 in the first half as their defence looked shaky against a Jets onslaught. This week facing the Nix they have to be a lot better in defence particularly shutting down Sarpong, McGlinchey and Krishna.

The Nix have been the headline of all sports news in Australia and New Zealand this week, besides the Rugby World Cup. The FFA have come out and publicly said that a 10 year extension was rejected for the Wellington based club but they were able to apply for a 4 year extension. Logic says you just apply for what you’re told you can apply for. 

Rumour has it that the Nix are to be kicked out of the league in favour of a third Sydney side, this alone is frustrating because Sydney doesn’t need a third side, not in the Sutherland shire anyway, why not just put a team in Wollongong if they are that persistent on a third team from Sydney. As Sydney FC have come out and said “A great portion of our fan base is in the Sutherland shire. It is literally an airport separating the two areas,” which is also true, more reason to go to Wollongong, sure will still take a portion of the Sutherland shire but also the South Coast will have an interest in the side. Or here is a really out there idea for the FFA why not give Canberra a side? Or Hobart? A second Brisbane side maybe? Geelong? Retry with North Queensland? There’s a huge buzz in the area at the moment with the sporting community up there. But then there is this idea, it has worked up until now but why not just keep the Nix in the comp? Most of the Middle Eastern countries already hate that we are a part of Asia anyway.

The Nix now play for their fans, but they also play to impress other clubs because they very well could be playing to save their livelihoods now, which will only motivate them more to continue their winning streak. Last week they were by no means the better side as they played Brisbane Roar but they certainly did enough. With Michael McGlinchey scoring a majestic free kick and Roy Krishna and Blake Powell sealing a 3-2 victory the Nix look confident, certainly not pretty football to watch but they are confident. Can they beat the Victory remains to be seen, if they play like last weekend I highly doubt it. Although I will tip them for two reasons, one they are away from home and I don’t have to listen to the worst commentary team in the footballing and sporting world, the two kiwi blokes that think Wellington are better than Barcelona or Munich, but most of all they have more to play for with the uncertainty surrounding their future as a club, they now have to play for their futures.


Keegan’s Tip: 2-1 Nix
Ty’s Tip: 2-0 Victory
Alex’s Tip: 3-0 Victory

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