Melbourne Heart has again paid the price for failing to put a solid 90 minutes together by throwing a 1-0 lead away to lose 2-1 at Sydney. Heart’s dominant first half only produced one goal, delivered by the in-form Richard Garcia, and led to Ali Abbas reacting poorly to his involuntary departure from the field. Alessandro Del Piero took exception to the Abbas’ behaviour and remonstrated with him in the tunnel at half-time, apparently almost leading to a physical altercation. After a golden chance to level the scores, Brett Emerton redeemed himself in the 84th minute by finding that goal before Del Piero’s wonderful cross found Rhyan Grant, who made no mistake. The win may just give the boost that Sydney’s season desperately needs while the Heart continues to slip further back.
Melbourne Victory has blown a wonderful chance to keep in touch with the top 2 after failing to put more past the Central Coast Mariners in an assertive first half at Launceston. After Marco Rojas missed his penalty, Marcos Flores made no error in slotting his chance late in the first half. Graham Arnold was sent to the stands for the second half after continually abusing the referees and could only watch on as Nathan Coe somehow denied Adam Kwasnik’s close-range effort on the hour mark. But the game was to end 1-1 thanks to a Daniel McBreen penalty in the 76th minute, giving the Mariners a 2 point buffer on 2nd placed Adelaide.
Newcastle has put themselves into 5th spot by taking care of a lacklustre Brisbane outfit 1-0 at Hunter Stadium. Other than the 5-0 demolition of the Victory, Brisbane hasn’t really clicked for a whole game yet this season, and their sluggish first half emphasised that. Much to Newcastle’s frustration, they couldn’t take advantage of their first half chances and went into the break level with the champions. The Jets didn’t take long to find the onion bag in the second half; James Brown’s clever back-heel found Ryan Griffiths making a smart run before an even smarter finish saw him dink the ball over Michael Theo. A couple of half-chances for the visitors were snuffed out by the Newcastle defence, who firm as favourites to take either 5th or 6th.
If Adelaide can put a complete 90 minutes together with their full side on the park just once this season, they will put 8 goals past almost any team in the competition. It’s the lapses of concentration in certain parts of the game which at the moment is just costing them goal difference against some of the weaker teams; however in finals it will cost them games. Bruce Djite’s early injury made way for the enigmatic Jeronimo Neumann, who was on the end of a lovely assist by the Glory defence before he made his own luck with a clever run and finish to have the Reds 2 up within 30 minutes. Iain Ramsay made it 3 at half time when he hit a sublime first-time half-volley of a deflected corner past Danny Vukovic. Late goals to Shane Smeltz and Steven McGarry led to many chewed fingernails; however Adelaide clung on to keep their comfortable buffer on Melbourne Victory and stay with Central Coast.
Western Sydney has heaped more misery onto what is turning into an ugly season for Wellington by easily winning 2-0 at the Cake Tin. Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Labinot Haliti were the second half scorers for the Wanderers who sit a point behind Victory in 4th.