Fiasco Sports reviews this season’s opening round of A-league football, with prized signing David Villa’s goal on début undoubtedly being the most eye-catching headline in a captivating weekend of football.
Melbourne Victory V Western Sydney at Etihad Stadium, Friday October 10
Kevin Muscat’s Melbourne Victory kicked off the new season against Western Sydney Wanderers and cruised to a sensational 4-1 hammering of the Asian Champions League finalists.
Star signing and former Albanian international Besart Berisha got his Victory stint off to an ideal start when he converted a 19th minute penalty.
However it was another international recruit who stole the headlines on the night for the Victory, Frenchman Mathieu Delpierre, who also scored on début to open the scoring for the new season.
Goals from Victory veteran Archie Thompson and Leigh Broxham eventually made it four for Melbourne, while Mark Bridge scored the Wanderers’ sole goal in what was their worst ever defeat in the A-league.
The Victory were so impressive in their display that legendary Australian goalkeeper and Fox Sports pundit Mark Bosnich stated during the ‘Sunday Shootout’ segment that he could have fitted Melbourne’s entire starting 11 in his team of the week.
Central Cost Mariners V Newcastle Jets at Central Coast Stadium, Saturday October 11
In what was a dour 90 minutes of football, the Central Coast Mariners got their campaign off to the perfect start with a clutch 1-0 win against their local rivals the Newcastle Jets.
A free-kick in the 92nd minute was lofted into the box from the Mariners in a last-ditch attempt to record a home win in the F3 Derby, which was latched onto by potent goalscorer Mitchell Duke who broke Newcastle hearts.
Under new coach and former Adelaide United assistant Phil Stubbins, the Jets put up a resilient fight and were particularly organised defensively, but a lack of concentration during what was the last meaningful attempt in the contest cost them dearly.
Sydney FC V Melbourne City at Allianz Stadium, Saturday October 11
In what was unquestionably the most anticipated clash of the opening round, former Socceroo coach Graham Arnold’s Sydney FC hosted the revamped former brand known as the Melbourne Heart, now known as Melbourne City under new emirate ownership.
Sydney were without a string of starting players including iconic New Zealand forward Shane Smeltz and Socceroo Bernie Ibini.
However, the Sky Blues displayed a respectable performance against their star-studded opposition which most notable included Spanish star David Villa, who would eventually make his entrance into the clash off the bench during the second half.
But it was the competition’s original ‘bling’ club who scored first, when youngster Corey Gameiro curled in a masterful strike to put the hosts ahead.
However Sydney were barely able to hold onto their lead for 10 minutes, as the most talked-about man on the pitch, Villa, rifled in a low shot which crept past Sydney keeper Vedran Janjetovic.
Coincidentally, the last competitive match Villa had played in was against Australia during the World Cup, when he scored one of his most memorable goals.
Sydney were perhaps unlucky not to have won the contest, as a distant effort from Terry Antonis dipped onto City keeper Andrew Redmayne’s crossbar.
In the end both sides were made to settle for a 1-1 draw to open their seasons.
Wellington Phoenix V Perth Glory at Westpac Stadium, Sunday October 12
In what is known as the longest away trip in a domestic league in world football, Perth Glory travelled to Wellington to tackle Ernie Merrick’s Wellington troops.
The Glory’s star signing in Irishman Andy Keogh, a former Wolverhampton striker in the English Premier League, opened the scoring with a bullet header in the 32nd minute, though his heroics were cancelled out by the Phoenix’s Michael Mcglinchy in the 73rd minute.
Just as the hosts went searching for a crucial winning goal, they were caught out on the counter-attack when veteran defender Ben Sigmund’s error was pounced on by the Glory – Jamie MacLaren nestled in a late winner for the visitors.
Brisbane Roar V Adelaide United at Suncorp Stadium, Sunday October 12
Reigning champions Brisbane Roar locked horns with Josep Gombau’s Adelaide United to conclude the competition’s opening round.
Thomas Broich made a purposeful run down the wing inside the opening 20 minutes before he was fouled by United’s Isaias Sanchez.
From the subsequent free-kick, Broich sent in a low drive which was noticeably difficult for Adelaide’s defence to deal with, as the ball rolled past Eugene Galekovic to give the Roar the lead.
It didn’t last long though, as powerful Adelaide forward Bruce Djite struck a wonder goal in 33rd minute to put Adelaide back on level terms.
Adelaide peppered Brisbane’s goal for much of the remaining 10 minutes in the half, however both sides went into the break sharing the spoils at a goal apiece.
That was until the 56th minute when an awkward cross wasn’t dealt with by Roar defender James Donachie, who unluckily stroked the ball into his own goal off his outstretched boot.
The match took a turn for the worst from a Brisbane perspective when veteran midfielder Matt McKay appeared to lose his call after being sent off for verbally abusing the referee.
Another controversial moment came deep into stoppage time when United fullback Tarek Elrich made a last-ditch attempt from behind to disallow Roar striker Henrique from equalizing.
Fans and Roar players were adamant a penalty should have been given despite Elrich appearing to have won the ball, though all hope was lost for the Roar when the full time whistle was blown only moments later.
Written by Ellis Gelios