New boys sink Mariners to go top, Phoenix rise
Western Sydney Wanderers have continued their remarkable rise with a battling 1-0 over Central Coast Mariners to leapfrop their opponents into top spot for the first time in the club’s short existence. The league’s newest club have now moved a point clear with just four rounds remaining, while their rivals face the distraction of the AFC Champions League.
Below the pair, Melbourne Victory romped to a 5-0 win over a youthful Newcastle Jets, while Adelaide United slumped to a lethargic 1-0 loss on home turf against champions Brisbane Roar who are slowly building momentum as the finals loom.
At the other end of the ladder, Wellington Phoenix ended a tumultuous week with a much-needed 1-0 win over Melbourne Heart. A typically classy finish from Jeremy Brockie was the difference on the scoreboard in the southern city of Dunedin, providing a first win for interim boss Chris Greenacre who took the reins following the shock departure of Ricki Herbert.
Big match: All eyes were on Central Coast Mariners’ stadium as Wanderers substitute Labinot Haliti scored the crucial goal nine minutes from full time in front of a sold-out crowd of just under 19,000, including a record travelling support in Gosford. Earlier, Mariners goalkeeper Mat Ryan, a western Sydney native, missed from the penalty spot as Graham Arnold’s men failed to turn their domination into goals by spurning a spot-kick for the third time in as many matches.
Headline-grabber: Not for the first time this season, Marco Rojas proved the star-turn for Melbourne Victory. The New Zealand youngster bagged two goals - the second with a stunning slalom dribble - as the Victory shot down the Jets to consolidate third.
Wonder-goal: Sydney FC’s Alessandro Del Piero continues to defy his 38 years, with the Italian FIFA World Cup™-winner banging in a ferocious dipping long-range strike. However Il Pinturicchio’s stunning effort was unable to rescue the Sky Blues, who fell to a 2-1 defeat at Perth Glory, lifting the home side back into finals contention.
8 – Having now equalled Melbourne Victory’s eight-match A-League record winning streak, Western Sydney Wanderers can make the record their own this Sunday with a win against bottom side Wellington Phoenix.
"If you're good enough, you're old enough and if Danny continues to work hard and continues to listen to and learn from the great players that we've got at this club, he can go a long way in the game." Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards on his rationale for selecting attacking midfielder Daniel De Silva, who became the second-youngest player in the A-League’s eight-year history when he came off the bench against Brisbane Roar still four days shy of his 16th birthday. Adelaide’s United’s Teeboy Kamara is the record-holder, having turned out for the Reds last year at 15 years and 212 days.