With a handful of matches remaining in the regular season of the Hyundai A-League, competition for first round byes and home advantage are certainly heating up. Newcastle were able to show their worth and prove they are contenders against Sydney, Victory edged out cross-town rivals, City, to regain some much needed form while Brisbane were able to stay in touch of the main finalists heading down the final stretch.
The Melbourne Derby never seems to disappoint, always coming at crucial times in both teams’ seasons, and delivering a great spectacle for all football fans. Berisha looked to have opened the deadlock almost immediately after the start of play, only to be ruled offside and crush the Victory fans’ hearts. However, there was no problem with Kosta Barbarouses efforts in the 12th minute, giving the Victory the upper hand and control of the game.
While City were able to maintain possession around the pitch, they were unable to capitalise on their dominance for the remained of the first half, heading to the change rooms trailing 1-0.
Yet, it wouldn’t be a Derby without a push-and-shove, with Manny Muscat and Thomas Deng being the instigators behind the melee at the half.
It didn’t take long for the City fans to be off there feet, with a Broxham handball gifting Fornaroli a kick from the spot, making no errors and squaring the ledger at 1-1. Villain soon to hero though for Broxham, placing a well-timed cross for inform marquee, Leroy George, to header the Victory back to the lead in the 61st minute. The score would remain there despite an influx of City domination towards the end of the game, and a missed opportunity from Troisi with an open goal. The Victory now close the gap between them and third placed City, to just a single point.
Newcastle Jets 2 – 1 Sydney FC
For just the second time this season, Sydney FC have lost, this time to second placed Newcastle Jets. The effort is more remarkable with the Jets being a man down from the 14th minute in the game, announcing themselves to the rest of the competition.
O’Donovan was sent off by the VAR, following his tackle on Buijs. Newcastle didn’t panic though, putting the first score on the board, with Petratos having no struggles with the penalty kick, giving the Jets some breathing room. Marquee-man, Bobo, was able to even the game up with his header in the 52nd minute, before in-form striker, and possibly Russia-bound, Andrew Nabbout was able to add to his collectables with stunning goals, with a 30-yard screamer to give the Jets an unlikely victory.
The Jets were able to close the gap between them and first-placed Sydney to just eight points, and extended their lead to be 11 points clear of third-placed City.
An Eric Bautheac stunner has given the Roar some hope in making the finals this season, with a 1-0 victory over fifth-placed, Adelaide United. The Roar now sit only two points behind sixth-placed, Western Sydney Wanderers, with just five matches remaining.
Adelaide dominating with the ball for majority of the game, however, were unable to create chances and were unable to get the ball in the back of the net. In what was an uneventful matchup, the Roar were able to hold on, and keep their season alive.
Western Sydney and Wellington, and Perth and Central Coast will face each other this week to close out Round 22.