A-league – Round 3: Phoenix flight suspended

The Roar looked like they were suffering from Jet Lag when their game in Wellington kicked off. They were sluggish next to Wellington’s sharp incisive runs. The likes of Fenton and their quality Belgian, Huysegems (now pronounced: He’s a Gem) – no waffle – saw them carve their way behind Smith and company too many times for a Roar fan’s liking. The keeper formerly known as Theoklitas was forced into a number of remarkable saves and in doing so underlined why there are four Grand Final medals in his sock drawer.

Roar lost an easy goal but, in Champion fashion, ground out the pressure and nicked one back. A deft touch from Besart (working like a farmer’s dog) saw the ball rise above and drop behind the fairly hapless Wellington keeper. That’s three goals already this season. Despite the blond tips, he’s become a striker any club would have if they could. The commentator noted he’s the kind of love/hate player who polarises fans – he wasn’t suggesting Roar fans and every one else, but you could tell he was thinking it!

The second half had fewer highlights; Steffanutto’s headclash with Totori (wouldn’t fancy one of those), the return of the Slippery Fish – Henrique – made a wee bit of a splash and the industrious iFill (Apple’s first footballer?) was kept at bay. The game dried up a little. The Roar, working hard for their point, were the better team again. Three for three so far, even though its only earned them four points. They may not be sitting at the top of the league at the moment, but there’s a definite sense that they’ll get there soon enough.

Most importantly for me, this is the third week in a row that the A-League has been absolutely buzzing. A third in a row we’ve been offered plenty quality football. If the competition keeps this early promise, the club level game could make its most significant mark on the Australian sports landscape.

Victory bounced back from their worst ever defeat and toppled the League leaders, Adelaide. Two bitter derbies provided some hair-raising entertainment. Del Piero showed his worth. Again. The F3 derby saw Heskey earn his wages for the Newcastle Jets in a controversial 2-1 win over the CC Mariners (Arnold’s face was tripping him as usual). The first Hyundai A-League all Sydney clash had all the hallmarks of a down and dirty derby, the kind that sees grudges carried for years! It wasn’t a classic, but it was a cracking game in a very healthy atmosphere. I’ll leave the week’s round up to the astute Tom Rio, I just wanted to pass comment. This is the most excited I’ve been about the A-League. Two fingers to the doubters!

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