Debutants, defiant keepers and the ‘Kiwi Messi’: The A-League players who were the difference in Round 15
Round 15 was a weekend full of excitement and great football to watch; there’s nothing wrong with the A-League!
There were 25 goals in six matches, three score draws and Central Coast Mariners were the only team to keep a clean sheet. Incredibly, the three teams that claimed three points had less possession than their opponent.
The only game without a penalty was the first game of the round, between Brisbane Roar and Wellington Phoenix. The last game to cap off a great weekend of football was a seven-goal thriller between Macarthur FC and Western Sydney Wanderers.
Check out who made a difference.
Marco Rojas weaved his magic as he gave Brisbane Roar the impetus to get something out of the game; the 32-year-old was brought on as a substitute in the 62nd minute and although not directly involved in the goal scored by the Roar, Rojas caused chaos for the Phoenix defence.
The ‘Kiwi Messi’ provided great combination play and brought other players into the game, accompanied with that was the fact that he passed the ball at an accuracy of 100 per cent and created two chances.
Oskar van Hattum played a key role in the goal that broke the deadlock in the 51st minute, as he won the ball back off Corey Brown, which led to Mohamed Al-Taay providing the assist for the goal scored by Bozhidar Kraev.
The 21-year-old also set up a chance for Kosta Barbarouses in first-half stoppage time.
David Williams came on in the 61st minute and made an impact as he normally does. It only took him seven minutes to produce a pinpoint cross that led to the equaliser, through an own goal scored by Melbourne City defender Scott Galloway, which made the score 2-2.
The experienced maestro wasn’t done yet, as he produced an assist for the goal that put the game beyond doubt in the 98th minute, which made the score 4-2 in favour of Glory thanks to debutant Joel Anasmo.
Tolgay Arslan put in a good shift for City; the German played a part in both goals scored by City, with the first a cross, which went down as an own goal from Glory defender Aleksandar Susnjar – the goal that broke the deadlock in the 21st minute.
The 33-year-old scored the second City goal to give them a 2-1 lead, which was a simple finish with Perth Glory goalkeeper Oliver Sail caught in no man’s land due to a poor back pass by Giordano Colli.
Noah Botic helped his team claim a point as he was involved in both goals that they scored; the goal scored by Botic in first-half stoppage time brought Western United back into the game, as it made the deficit just one goal.
The 22-year-old provided an assist for the equaliser scored by Ben Garuccio in the 53rd minute through sheer will.
His post-match comments were telling: “Proud of the boys for showing grit.”
Fabio Gomes played a part in both goals scored by the Sky Blues: he was calm and composed from the penalty spot when he broke the deadlock in the 36th minute.
The Brazilian provided an assist for the second goal scored by Sydney FC with a header from Jake Girdwood-Reich, which made the score 2-0 in favour of Sydney FC.
Ryan Scott was outstanding for the Jets; he saved shots through determination alone.
The 28-year-old pulled off some ridiculous saves, eight in total, despite the ball flying at him from all angles.
Paul Izzo played a key part in Victory claiming a point, as he saved a penalty from Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, which had to be retaken as Izzo was over the line. It took character to save the second penalty, which was what the Victory goalkeeper produced.
His honesty post-match was refreshing: “Very frustrated. We need to look hard in the mirror, because that’s pathetic.”
Along with that he also shed some light on the penalty saves: “That was just a bit of homework.”
Stefan Mauk helped Adelaide United control the balance of play and the tempo of the game for the majority of the second half; he was substituted on in the 54th minute.
The 28-year-old brought energy into a Reds team that was off the boil in the first half: “If you’re not going to give 100 per cent you may as well stay in the sheds. To me it’s an effort, it’s a concentration thing.”
Central Coast Mariners
Angel Torres put on a master class in the first half; we are so lucky to have him in the A-League, but it’s difficult to see him staying as he has well and truly put himself in the shop window.
The Colombian provided an assist for a goal that broke the deadlock, which was scored by Christian Theoharous.
The 23-year-old scored a brace within the space of four minutes, late in the first half. In the second half, he and his teammates took their foot off the gas but Adelaide United failed to capitalise on that.
Valere Germain had an exceptional game as he scored a hat-trick and played a part in all four goals scored by the Bulls.
The Frenchman cooly slotted away a goal from the penalty spot to break the deadlock in the 18th minute. Along with that, he provided the assist for Raphael Borges Rodrigues that made the score 2-2 in the 32nd minute.
The 33-year-old made it 3-3 in first-half stoppage time and gave Macarthur FC a 4-3 win in the 93rd minute. The final goal was contentious, but at the end of the day it was given.
It was a selfless post-match interview from the striker: “Most important was the three points.”
Western Sydney Wanderers
Lachlan Brook played an unbelievable game, even though he was in the losing team, as he was involved in all three goals scored by the Wanderers.
The 22-year-old made the score 1-1, two minutes after Germain broke the deadlock, just eight minutes later he provided an assist for Nicolas Milanovic with a pinpoint cross to give Wanderers a 2-1 lead.
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The young attacking prospect gave his team a 3-2 lead in the 38th minute but unfortunately, it wasn’t to be for the Wanderers as they failed to claim a point from the match.