An action-packed triple-header kicked off with an incredible away victory for the Wellington Phoenix over Sydney FC at Jubilee Oval. Melbourne Victory dispatched a pecky Adelaide United outfit at Marvel Stadium while Perth Glory returned to the top of the table with a gutsy one-goal win over Melbourne City at NIB Stadium.
Sydney FC 1-3 Wellington Phoenix
A double from Roy Krishna and a power header from English import, Steven Taylor all inside the opening half saw the Wellington Phoenix shock Sydney FC at Jubilee Oval on Saturday afternoon.
Fresh off a controversial draw against the Perth Glory the week prior, the ‘Nix were looking to follow up on their recent turn of form by knocking off the Sky Blues for the first time since 2016.
While Sydney FC were able to dispatch a gallant Central Coast Mariners outfit in a less than impressive victory on the road this past Saturday.
However, this less than impressive form seemed to carry over when Krishna got in behind the Sydney defence to slam home the opener inside twenty minutes leaving the home fans in shock.
Only nine minutes later, this lead was doubled when Krishna once again got on the end of a beautiful through ball from Mandi to slam home the Phoenix’s second inside the opening half-hour.
Things would go from bad to worse for the Sky Blues when Taylor got on the end of a superb cross from Liberato Cacace to make it 3-0 before the break leaving Steve Corica’s men with much to ponder heading into half-time.
Sydney FC needed to respond in the second-half and turned to the returning Siem de Jong and Danny De Silva to try and rescue something from what looked to be an unassailable lead.
The Sky Blues were barely able to test the Yellow Fever in the second stanza with a last-minute consolation goal from Michael Zullo being all they could conjure up on an afternoon to forget for reigning minor premiers.
For Mark Rudan’s men, the win put them into seventh with goal-difference separating them from the Western Sydney Wanderers as they head into a very winnable game against the winless Central Coast Mariners at home next Saturday.
Steve Corica will be going back to the drawing board as his side lost significant ground on the top two sides with this defeat as they head into a massive Sydney Derby against the Wanderers next Saturday night.
Melbourne Victory 2-0 Adelaide United
A second-half masterclass from Terry Antonis and Ola Toivonen was enough to seal a fifth win on the bounce for the Melbourne Victory as they dispatched Adelaide United at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.
The Victory went into this game without Spanish import, Raul Baena and Nick Ansell who both missed with injury and were replaced by Leigh Broxham and Georg Niedermeier.
While the Reds were without the suspended Taylor Regan and attacking duo, Ken Ilso and Ryan Kitto succumbed to injury with Michael Jakobsen returning to the XI along with the ever-versatile, Ryan Strain and young striker, Apostolos Stamatelopoulos.
However, an early injury to Niedermeier saw him replaced by James Troisi, forcing Leigh Broxham into the heart of the defence alongside Thomas Deng.
This injury allowed for Adelaide to begin controlling the tempo of the game and were inches away from opening the scoring when Jordan Elsey slammed his header against the woodwork.
The Victory were finally able to conjure up an opportunity when Toivonen found some space on the edge of the area to fire from range forcing a brilliant save from Paul Izzo.
However, controversy reigned supreme as Adelaide United defender, Scott Galloway seemed to handle the ball inside the Victory area.
After a check from VAR, the call was upheld and a penalty was not given to the dismay of the home fans who were adamant Galloway had clearly given away a spot-kick.
The second-half saw the Reds get off to a fast start as Stamatelopoulos came agonisingly close to opening the scoring just after the break with his shot narrowly missing the target.
This early spark was not to be for Adelaide as a brilliant cross from Antonis found Toivonen’s whose header was poorly parried by Izzo which fell into the path of Kosta Barbarouses to give the Victory the lead on the 62nd minute.
Kurz’ men went in search of an equaliser as Craig Goodwin tested Lawrence Thomas from range with a stinging effort on his non-preferred right foot.
It wasn’t to be for the Reds as once again Antonis and Toivonen linked up brilliantly allowing for the Swedish international to slam home the second and seal the three points for the Victory.
Kevin Muscat’s men have now locked a spot inside the top two as they travel to Brisbane next Friday to face the Roar while Adelaide United host Melbourne City on Sunday night at Coopers Stadium.
Perth Glory 1-0 Melbourne City
The Perth Glory continued their marvellous start to life under Tony Popovic with a gutsy win over a resilient Melbourne City outfit at NIB Stadium.
The home side who were returning from a long trip to Wellington welcomed back Socceroo defender, Matthew Spiranovic who played his first game for the Glory while City were still without Bruno Fornaroli who missed a third consecutive game.
However, Sprianovic’s night ended early when he was forced off with an injury inside the opening half as Dino Djulbic was thrusted on to replace him.
The Glory were able to conjure up some early opportunities with Ivan Franjic coming close to giving the home side the lead with a stinging effort from range.
They didn’t have to wait too long after to then be given the lead when Chris Ikonomidis got on the end of a deflected Andy Keogh pass to tap home the opener just before the break.
City, failed to test in the early stages of the second half as the Glory came close to a second when Diego Castro’s shot was well saved by Eugene Galekovic.
For Warren Joyce’s men the game went from bad to worse when Curtis Good received a second yellow-card ending his night prematurely and making the job all the more difficult for the away side.
The Glory had to survive some testing last few minutes as City looked to pile numbers forward as they were able to hold strong and come away with all three points to lock up top spot on the A-League table.
Perth will travel to take on Newcastle next Sunday while City will head to Adelaide to face the Reds on Sunday evening.