Cracking goals, club farewells and late comebacks: The A-League players who were the difference in Round 11


There were 18 goals in six matches, some goal-of-the-season contenders and only the Central Coast Mariners managed to keep a clean sheet. Along with that, two draws, while all four teams that claimed three points, did so by a margin of one goal.

Check out who made a difference for their team in Round 11.

Adelaide United

Nestory Irankunda created chaos in the final third for the defence of Wellington Phoenix.

The up-and-coming talent with all the tricks proved me wrong, as he started the game and can no longer just be considered as an impact player off the bench, based on his display against the Phoenix.

The 17-year-old brought about the equaliser for Adelaide United, which made the score 2-all in the 55th minute and gave Hiroshi Ibusuki a brace.

Wellington Phoenix

Kosta Barbarouses looked the most likely for Wellington Phoenix and was rewarded for his persistence with a brace.

The 33-year-old was a constant threat and was arguably the reason why the Phoenix claimed a point.

Macarthur FC

Ulises Davila was sensational in the second half, as he worked tirelessly to endeavour to get his team at least a point out of the game.

The Mexican created five chances and was the reason that the Bulls controlled the balance of play in the second half. Along with that, Davila had a goal overturned by the VAR in the 51st minute, but that did not deter him from playing some delightful passes and creating opportunities for his teammates.

Newcastle Jets

Clayton Taylor played well and scored the opening goal of the game in the ninth minute with a clinical finish.

The 19-year-old displayed why he is a fantastic prospect that he is, as his youthful exuberance showed through. Unfortunately, in the 12th minute, Taylor hit the bar.

It was a game of two halves and the entire Jets team were off the pace in the second half.

Western Sydney Wanderers

Daniel Margush was thrown in at the deep end, as he has been third choice goalkeeper for the Wanderers; Lawrence Thomas was a part of the Socceroos squad and Jack Gibson was injured during the warm-up.

The 26-year-old took his opportunity with both hands as he made five saves, which included two top-draw interventions; the first came in the 59th minute with an outstanding save from Angel Torres and the second he cut out a chance for Jing Reec in the 79th minute.

Central Coast Mariners

Marco Tulio was the difference between the two teams, as his strike from distance in the 25th minute was the only goal of the game, in what was his last game in the A-League.

The Brazilian 25-year-old showed maturity beyond his years; the coach of the Mariners, Mark Jackson summed up what makes him such a special player: “he’s got the flair, but also got the work rate.”

He is now leaving the club after the game for his new career in Japan – and what a way to go out.

Watch #CCMvWSW live on @ParamountPlusAU!

— 10 Football (@10FootballAU) January 6, 2024

Brisbane Roar

Nikola Mileusnic scored a goal that changed the complexion of the game, as up until that point the Sky Blues were controlling the game, as he made the deficit one goal for the Roar. The 30-year-old scored in the fourth minute of first-half injury time.

Sydney FC

Fabio Gomes provided two moments of magic as the Brazilian scored a brace with goals coming in the first half.

The 26-year-old scored a stunning second goal with a goal in the 41st minute from a back heal that nestled into the back of the net and proved to be the difference between the two teams.

Perth Glory

Cameron Cook has taken his chance provided by Perth Glory coach, Alen Stajcic to be the number one goalkeeper, which was given to him in Round 3.

The 22-year-old was immense in Round 11 as he kept the Glory in the contest against the Melbourne Victory; Cook made six saves, with most of them top draw.

Melbourne Victory

Eli Adams came off the bench and scored a goal-of-the-season contender with a fantastic goal that gave Victory the impetus to go on and win the game against a 10-man Glory team in the second half.

The 21-year-old displayed his quality with a goal from distance in the 82nd minute. His coach Tony Popovic showed the belief he has in Adams: “he’s a special talent.”

WHAT A HIT! ???? WHAT A GOAL! ????

Take a bow, Eli Adams! An outrageous strike into the top corner and @gomvfc take the lead!#PERvMVC is live on Paramount+

— Paramount+ Australia (@ParamountPlusAU) January 6, 2024

Western United

Angus Thurgate was a pivotal cog in the Western United team in a game that they did not deserve to lose.

The 23-year-old provided the assist for the opening goal of the game for Michael Ruhs in the 13th minute. To go with that he had seven passes into the final third.

The current predicament of Western United was summed up well by Thurgate post-match: “It’s fairly frustrating. We’re working hard.”

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Melbourne City

Terry Antonis showed great character given he didn’t play a single minute last season at Western Sydney Wanderers; the Melbourne City substitute scored what proved to be the winning goal of the game with a cracking strike.

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