Three red cards, record attendances, champions held, 15 goals and Tim Cahill hasn’t even played yet! Robbie Striker reviews round one of the 2016/17 A-League season both on the pitch and in the tipping competition.
The Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Season has started with a bang, setting a single round attendance record with 106,365 people pouring through the turnstiles across the five matches in Brisbane, Wellington, Sydney, Perth and Newcastle over the weekend.
The figure overtook the previous record – Round 2 2014/15 with 106,082 people – in Adelaide, Gosford, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Also the record for the highest Round 1 aggregate – Round 1 2013/14 with 100,988.
“The Hyundai A-League has started with a flurry and we are thrilled to have set a new single round attendance record to go with the record crowd at the Sydney Derby. To see 106,365 people attend across the five matches is a tremendous start to the 2016/17 season,” said FFA CEO David Gallop.
The Sydney Derby at ANZ Stadium attracted a single match attendance record of 61,880 with strong crowds also turning out at the other four opening round matches.
Brisbane Roar 1-1 Melbourne Victory
Brisbane Roar FC 1 (Luke DeVere 90+6’) – Melbourne Victory FC 1 (Austin 83’)
This match had an eerie similarity to the finals match from last season. Both sides showed a desire to score but lacked execution. Then there was a second half red card – Matt McKay with his second bookable offense sent off in his 200th match. Mitch Austin breaking the stalemate in the 83rd minute. Returning from 18 months on the side line Luke DeVere’s 96th minute looping volley whilst falling backwards in a goal mouth scramble from a late freekick – sent the 15,805 crowd into raptures as the ball landed in the back of the net.
“I’m delighted with that late response. We’ve proven in the past that we never give up, we never stop and we deserved something out of that game,” said Brisbane Roar coach John Aloisi on the late equaliser.
Wellington Phoenix 0-1 Melbourne City
Wellington Phoenix 0 – Melbourne City 1 (Caceres 31’)
City dominated the first half and should’ve gone into the break with more than their solitary goal which came through some great control from Anthony Caceres in the 31st minute. The second half Wellington came into the game a little more and in the 58th minute City lost their keeper Thomas Sorensen to a straight red card when he was adjudged to have handballed outside his box in attempt to shut down a Nix attack. Substitute keeper Dean Bouzanis made a number of crucial saves to help City secure the three points in what is always a tough away trip.
“So very happy about the football we played in the first half in the sense that it’s always a difficult game coming here to Wellington but that we had good possession, we created opportunities to score a goal, we scored a goal, and also very happy and pleased with the fighting spirit we showed in the second half to get the three points back to Melbourne.” John van’t Schip reflected on his side’s performance.
Western Sydney 0-4 Sydney FC
Sydney FC 4 (Holosko 51’, Bobô 54’, O’Neill 84’, Brosque 89’) – Western Sydney Wanderers 0
Sydney FC have delivered the biggest ever winning margin in a Sydney derby through four second half goals. With the first half stalemate both teams had periods where they took control but that all changed six minutes into the second half. Filip Holosko opened the scoring with a well-taken goal before laying another on a plate for Bobô. Brandon O’Neill put the game beyond doubt in the final ten minutes with a sublime free-kick, with club captain Alex Brosque adding a fourth late on. Wanderers finished the game with ten men having had Anitz Borda sent off for a professional foul when bringing Brosque down who was clear on goal.
“I don’t think it was a 4 nil game. The first half was an arm wrestle, a typical derby. It was physical but I thought that we controlled good parts of the first half. It was a bit messy at times, but that’s a derby. We spoke at half time about playing our football, getting the ball on the ground and playing with the quality players that we’ve got.” Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold after the match.
Perth Glory 3-3 Central Coast Mariners
Perth Glory 3 (Taggart 4’, 27’, Castro (P 35’) – Central Coast Mariners 3 (O’Donovan 57’, P 86’, Reddy OG 82’)
A game of two halves as Central Coast spoiled the heritage celebration for Perth Glory. The writing was on the wall for the Mariners early as Glory scored via Taggart with their very first attack of the game in the 4th minute. Two more goals came before half time – Taggart’s second in the 27th minute and Castro in the 30th minute from the penalty spot.
Last year’s wooden spoon side were tipped to cop a beating all season long however their new coach Paul Okon had other ideas. The Gosford club came out in the second period with a renewed attitude. O’Donovan pulled a goal back in the 57th minute, then an Appiah-Kubi shot in the 82nd minute was cleared off the line only to rebound off Perth’s keeper Liam Reddy for their second goal. Three minutes later the Mariners received a penalty which O’Donovan stepped up and finished to complete the comeback and secure the Mariners a deserved point.
“To be honest I always felt we were in the game when we had the ball. At the start we looked nervous, maybe the occasion got to us and we were sloppy, we gave away three silly goals which is probably the most disappointing thing about it but in the second half I have to give full credit to the players. They fought, they believed, we say the rewards are there for the brave and we were brave in the second half to come away with the point.” Paul Okon said on his side’s efforts to secure a point.
Newcastle Jets 1-1 Adelaide United
Newcastle Jets 1 (Brown 17’) – Adelaide United 1 (Makarounas 29’)
With both goals coming in the first half, neither side was able to create a winner in the Hunter and share the points. Adelaide with a number of changes from their championship winning side from last season showed they still need some time to gel as the fluent style we have come to expect from the Reds simply wasn’t on show. Newcastle took the lead in the 17th minute with Englishman Wayne Brown blasting a shot from distance stunning the champions. However in the 29th minute the Hunter side handed Adelaide a way back into the game after a mix up at the back between Daniel Mullen and keeper Jack Duncan serving the ball to Makarounas on a plate who happily accepted, slotting into an empty net.
Tipper of the week for round one is “bergkamp” – With three correct winners, one correct margin and two correct scores totally eight points. Three other tippers finished with a six point tally – “Blueroos”, “promontorio” and “Teal 30”. Robbie had an average start to the campaign tipping two correct winners with one correct score – it’s early days.
This article was originally posted on Robbie Striker Football – partner site of Football Central