Victory outlast Perth, Tulio’s departing gift, Western United’s stadium update


The fixtures keep coming thick and fast as many are still in holiday mode, and there’s plenty to discuss so let’s get into it.

Here are your A-League Round 11 talking points.

Victory earn important three points on the road

It’s a cliché, but Melbourne Victory’s win over Perth on Saturday evening is the kind of game champion teams win. It takes character to leave WA with all three points after going down 1-0 in the first half, then being pegged back to 2-2 late on. Sure, it’s a game they’re expected to win, and Bruce Kamau’s red card hardly helped Glory’s cause, however you’ve still got to get the job done.

It was an eventful evening at HBF Park, with youngsters Eli Adams and Kaelan Majekodunmi both netting their first A-League goal. Daniel Arzani had a moment to forget early on, providing the ‘assist’ for Adam Taggart’s long-range rocket but he redeemed himself by setting up Zinedine Machach’s well-taken goal.

I can see why Alen Stajcic would be frustrated – that’s a game, on their home patch, that Glory really needed to take something from. Alas, Ben Folami would break home fans’ hearts with a nifty effort deep into second-half injury time to send his side top of the table (for real, this time).

Tulio leaves departing gift for Mariners faithful

Unfortunately for Mariners fans, another of the 2023 championship class has left the club, with Marco Tulio departing for Japan after Saturday’s win over Western Sydney. Tulio had one more moment of magic up his sleeve, opening the scoring at CommBank Stadium with a powerful effort from outside the area that gave Daniel Margush no chance at all.

The perfect farewell for Marco Túlio ???? An absolute ???????????????????????????????? in his final game for @CCMariners! ????????????

Talk about signing off with something special ????

???? Details:

Tune in on Paramount+ ????#WSWvCCM #ALM

— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) January 6, 2024

It proved to be the only goal of the evening as the Wanderers’ attack failed to fire and Central Coast closed out the game with some resolute defending.

Tulio’s departure is another blow to the Gosford side’s push for back-to-back titles, with the likes of Jason Cummings and Samuel Silvera leaving for new experiences abroad after that famous Grand Final triumph in Parramatta.

The good news is the Mariners have recovered from an awful start to the season, putting together seven games undefeated to sit inside the top six. Mark Jackson is starting to put his stamp on the side, and they are beginning to resemble the team that claimed only the club’s second toilet seat last June.

My concern is, much like all clubs around the league, there’s more pain to come in terms of struggling to hold on to players such as Jacob Farrell and Josh Nisbet. In Farrell’s case, I wonder if a good offer could come in for him before the month is out. The left-back is capable on both sides of the ball – somewhat rare for a modern fullback – and is a good shout for a Socceroos call-up in the not too distant future.

Western United set stadium target

Credit to Joey Lynch, who is one of the most influential Australian football journos still around. In an interview published in ESPN earlier this week, Lynch managed to extract a timeline for Western United’s much-hyped new stadium from chairman Jason Sourasis: ready for A-League football by the commencement of 2026-27 – or about 34 months from today.

It’s nothing we haven’t heard before, of course – time will tell if the latest promises come to fruition. The immediate goal is to lay foundations for the historic ground before 2024 is out.

United’s brass have been decidedly quiet on the stadium issue in public as the league’s second-youngest active club have toiled through an embarrassing nomadic existence, taking home games to different parts of Victoria and even Tasmania. As things stand right now, the venue has not been confirmed for multiple United games for the back end of 2023-24.

The club are, supposedly, moving into a new training facility before the end of the season, which will make scheduling much simpler for the next few seasons. From reports, this will be an impressive base that will host both A-League Men and Women matches. It will much more closely resemble Macedonia Park than a proper top-flight stadium, but it’ll be home and provide the club with some much-needed stability.

Let’s just hope this new target is not bullshit, because the league has seen more than enough of that from this ownership group.

Quick hits

-Nice to see some good sportsmanship from Macarthur duo Valere Germain and Tomislav Uskok, consoling Philip Cancar after he conceded a crucial late penalty, allowing the home side to sneak a point at Campbelltown Stadium.

-Still in Sydney’s southwest, not many have been as harsh on the Bulls as myself, but it’s pleasing to see their crowds slowly heading north. If they can work towards a 7000 or 8000 average attendance long-term, the perception of Macarthur will definitely improve.

-With Lawrence Thomas on national duty and Jack Gibson suffering an injury pre-game, the Wanderers had to go outside the box for their reserve keeper on Saturday.

Pretty crazy stuff in Western Sydney, where 20yo defender Anthony Pantazopoulos is sensationally the Wanderers’ emergency keeper today.

The former Oakleigh star is on the bench after Daniel Margush replaced Jack Gibson in line-up following an injury in the warm-up.#WSWvCCM

— Sacha Pisani (@Sachk0) January 6, 2024

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