Central Coast Mariners fought back from a two goal deficit to draw with champions Sydney FC and reclaim second spot in Australia's A-League today.
The Mariners salvaged a point with second-half goals from Argentine midfielder Patricio Perez and Matt Simon after Sydney FC took a two goal lead. The point enabled the Mariners to leapfrog Adelaide and return to second spot in the standings while struggling Sydney remain ninth.
Elsewhere, Wellington Phoenix thumped Perth Glory 4-0 at home to move into seventh spot and closer to a top six play-off spot.
Melbourne Victory skipper Kevin Muscat was sent off as Melbourne Heart clawed their way back for a 2-2 draw in a passionate city derby yesterday. Two John Aloisi goals pulled Heart out of a deep hole after they trailed 2-0 after 32 minutes, with the result ensuring both Melbourne clubs remain in finals contention.
But in front of more than 32,000 fans, Muscat was sent off for the second time in successive matches for a challenge on Heart midfielder Adrian Zahra with 12 minutes remaining. Zahra was carried off injured after Muscat's tackle and referee Chris Beath had no hesitation showing red to the Victory skipper, who was making his return from suspension.
A Bruce Djite hat-trick kept Gold Coast United in fourth spot after a 5-1 thrashing of Newcastle. Gold Coast moved back into striking distance of Adelaide and Central Coast with their biggest victory of the season. A crowd of nearly 15,000, boosted by Coast owner Clive Palmer's generosity in throwing the gates open to raise funds for Queensland's flood relief, savoured the rout.
On Friday, ruthless Adelaide United produced the A-League's highest score with an 8-1 drubbing of North Queensland Fury.
Hat-tricks for Dutch striker Serg van Dijk and Argentine playmaker Marcos Flores were the highlight of a victory that surpassed 6-0 wins notched by Melbourne Victory in the 2007 grand final and Wellington Phoenix in October 2009. Van Dijk's hat-trick took his his season tally to 16 goals -- six clear at the top of the league's goalscoring chart.