In A-League of its Own – Round 2

Both Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart endured disappointing results in round 2 and although Victory’s 5-0 loss to Brisbane was more dramatic, Heart’s 1-1 draw with a severely undermanned Wellington was just as detrimental to their finals aspirations. Meanwhile Alessandro Del Piero and Emile Heskey both scored in the thrilling 3-2 win for Newcastle at a packed SFS on Saturday evening.

On champion coach Ange Postecoglou’s return to the venue where he oversaw back-to-back championships and the record breaking 36th consecutive unbeaten match the reception couldn’t have been more different to that Grand Final win before he left for Victory some 6 months ago. His former Brisbane side were on top of their game under the reign of Postecoglou’s former assistant Rado Vidosic against a Victory side who were missing 3 key players to international duties – Marco Rojas to New Zealand and Mark Milligan and Archie Thompson to the Socceroos. Stars discovered by Postecoglou such as Tomas Broich, Besart Berisha and Erik Paartalu were the destroyers on the night though as the Victory suffered a 5 goal defeat for the first time in their history. As well as the 5 scored, the Roar had 2 more goals disallowed and one golden opportunity scuffed by Besart Berisha. The Victory began well, sharing possession and chances in the first 20 minutes; however the game was turned upside-down when Tomas Broich and Erik Paartalu scored 2 very preventable goals without of 2 minutes of each other. The second half saw Berisha slam home 2 goals while Mitch Nichols put his case forward for a national call-up by laying on an assist for Berisha and scoring himself. The result makes this Friday night’s clash with Adelaide one of the most important in recent memory for the Victory who will be desperate to get at least a point on the board.

In a way it was a shame that Wellington were so competitive against Melbourne Heart on Sunday because it hid what could have been a massive injustice by the FFA to not postpone the match. Wellington lost 7 first team players and their manager to international duty over the weekend, leaving them with no option other than to call up players from the youth league and from the local leagues to fill the bench. Although it ended as a draw, if it had not been for the red card to Simon Colosimo and the resulting equaliser from the penalty spot by Paul Ifill then the result would not have been the same. Heart weren’t entirely on top in the opening exchanges; however they found their feet when Aziz Behich broke down the left wing and centred the ball for Matt Thompson, whose finish was exemplary. Fred was one of the poorer players on the park, and usually he might have converted some of the opportunities he found himself with. Then came the reflex handball committed by Colosimo on the goal line who gave the referee no choice but to send him off and award the penalty which was duly converted by my Man of the Match Paul Ifill. Dylan Macallister had the chance to spare Heart’s blushes late on, but his shot was cleared off the line by Michael Boxall, who also had a fantastic game in defence. Boxall may have also spared the FFA’s blushes however with that stop, as unfortunately the disgraceful decision to not postpone the game was able to be swept under the carpet.

The 35,419 people got what they came to see at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday, as Alessandro Del Piero scored his first goal for Sydney FC in some style. Although Sydney lost 3-2, most people who watched the game would just tell you about the wonderful free-kick Del Piero scored 25 minutes in. Much like David Beckham’s first goal for LA Galaxy, it was clearly anticipated by the crowd and executed to perfection by the player. Ryan Griffiths had scored first for the Jets though after some poor defending by Sydney and after Del Piero’s strike Emile Heskey made the score 2-1 by volleying his first goal for Newcastle. Craig Goodwin took advantage of the space vacated by Sydney right-back Rostyn Griffiths pulling a hamstring in a contest leading up to the former Heart player’s well-taken goal. Sydney fought back well through Australian marquee player Brett Emerton who set up Sydney’s second goal by crossing it in to debutant Blake Powell, whose header poised the game nicely for the final 20 minutes. The Jets managed to hang on, though, to record their first points of the season.

Adelaide United continued their perfect start to the season by defeating newcomers Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0. The goal was a rare show of class in a game marred by errors and a lack of urgency by both teams in the final third of the pitch. Jeronimo Neumann had a penalty well saved by Wanderers keeper Ante Covic just after the hour mark, but redeemed himself by converting a goal which was brilliantly made by Iain Ramsay soon after.

Central Coast has kept their unbeaten home record over Perth Glory intact by winning 1-0 in a tight encounter. Substitute Danny McBreen brought down Trent Sainsbury’s long pass well before hooking it past Danny Vukovic and into the onion bag.

About Tom Riordan

Tom Riordan is in his second year of a Bachelor of Journalism at Swinburne University. He loves all sports, and plays for Brunswick Cricket Club. He supports the Western Bulldogs and can be found on weekends among half a dozen others in Q38 on the top level of the MCC.


  1. Is Behich the left back at Heart? The Socceroos have a crisis in defence and I think Bosnich suggested the Melbourne Heart youngster as the answer.

  2. Vinnie Grella has signed with Heart – they are certainly leaving Victory in their wake as far as projecting a positive approach to the new season.

  3. Nice work Tom. Very thorough Round up. Del Piero’s free kick was a thing of beauty wasn’t it?

    Bosnich did mention Behich on the shootout show, and I think its his first good shout of the season. He’s a terrible pundit, but he is right, the lad had an excellent game for Heart, demonstrated pace and control. Socceroos need it desperately in defence. (Lucas Neil can you please step away from the squad! you’ve become a nuisnance – you are aware aren’t that football is not a dialogue with the ref? (apologies for the digression))

    Heart look good so far, but do they have the strength across their squad the way Brisbane or Perth do?

    Victory were very very poor in Brisbane Saturday – they need a keeper too. Brisbane should have had about 12.

  4. Danny Allsopp has retired, “effective immediately” – something he has not been since returning to Australia (and not having Fred’s feed)

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