Leijer secures win for Victory
Defending champions Melbourne Victory moved top of the table after Adrian Leijer's late strike secured a first home win of the season with an entertaining 2-1 win over Brisbane Roar at Etihad Stadium.
Perth Glory were earlier denied a win against basement side North Queensland Fury which would have put them clear at the top. Instead, Leijer netted with 17 minutes remaining as Melbourne took advantage of leaders Gold Coast United being held goalless by Wellington Phoenix yesterday. Victory moved up from sixth into a one-point lead after recording a third straight win.
Sydney can claim top spot outright with victory against Central Coast on Sunday, although a win for the Mariners would leave them level on points with Melbourne at the top of a congested table after nine rounds.
Ney Fabiano handed Melbourne an ideal start after just four minutes as he met Archie Thompson's cross with a diving header from the penalty spot which gave Brisbane goalkeeper Liam Reddy no chance. The visitors were back on level terms just seven minutes later though as Reinaldo fired through the legs of Glen Moss from just inside the area.
Following a superb run and pass from the lively Fabiano, Thompson rattled the Brisbane crossbar after 20 minutes before Fabiano struck the post with the last action of an entertaining first half. But Melbourne were finally rewarded as Leijer bundled Carlos Hernandez's free-kick past Reddy at the far post after winning the initial header before firing home following a fortunate bounce.
Earlier in Perth, ten-man North Queensland earned a 1-1 draw at ME Bank Stadium. North Queensland's Ufuk Talay was given a second yellow card just before the break for simulation and Glory took advantage just three minutes into the second half as Mile Sterjovski converted from the penalty spot.
Perth opted to defend in an attempt to preserve their lead, but allowed a goal with 18 minutes remaining. Perth pressed for a winner in the closing stages, but were frustrated by a resolute North Queensland defence and Glory were forced to settle for third place behind Gold Coast on goal difference.