Thrilling finishes, goalie heroics and a Sky Blue derby: The A-League players who were the difference in Round 24


If you were looking for an intriguing Round of football then Round 24 was a good one. There were 19 goals in six matches, with eight goals scored by Melbourne City!

Along with that four of 12 teams kept a clean sheet and there were no draws. Check out which players made a difference for their respective teams.

Wellington Phoenix

Oskar van Hattum played a key role in the Phoenix claiming three points and scoring the only goal of the game.

The 22-year-old was brought off the bench in the 82nd minute for arguably the best player on the field, Bozhidar Kraev. But van Hattum justified Chiefy’s decision, as he won the free kick and took the set piece that led to the winning goal from centre-back Finn Surman, which was disputed as an own goal by Victory centre-back Roderick Miranda.

Kraev’s thoughts on the goal are indicative of why Phoenix has been successful: “Chiefy believes in everyone.”

Melbourne Victory

Damien Da Silva put in a good shift and was unfortunate to be in the losing team.

The Frenchman stopped a possible opportunity in the 37th minute with a brilliant tackle on Kosta Barbarouses.

Along with that, the 35-year-old created an attack, which led to a chance for Adama Traore in the 52nd minute and blocked a shot from Bozhidar Kraev in the 67th minute.

Adelaide United

Stefan Mauk was outstanding for the Reds; the 28-year-old provided the assist for the goal that broke the deadlock through Nesotry Irankunda in the 20th minute.

The Reds midfielder created five chances and it’s no coincidence that the Reds went from being 1-nil up to losing the game 2-1, as Mauk was substituted off in the 74th minute; his leadership was sorely missed, despite the Bulls being down to 10 men from the 73rd minute.

Kurto CAN stop Irankunda ????

The 18-year-old was surrounded by white shirts in the lead up and subsequently miss hits the spot kick ????#ADLvMAC

— Paramount+ Australia (@ParamountPlusAU) April 12, 2024

Macarthur FC

Filip Kurto played a great game for the Bulls. The Polish goalkeeper pulled off some good saves and couldn’t do anything about the goal he let in.

The 32-year-old made a good penalty save in the 98th minute from Nestory Irankunda.

Post-match his humility shone through: “Just focus on my job. It’s a very strong shot, but I think I could do better.”

Western United

Angus Thurgate put in a pretty good performance, even though Western United left the game empty-handed.

The former Jets player passed the ball at an accuracy of 94 per cent and passed the ball into the final third on four occasions.

Central Coast Mariners

Christian Theoharous made an impact off the bench, despite only being brought on in the 76th minute.

The former Western United and Melbourne Victory player scored a great goal from distance in the 80th minute to give the Mariners what proved to be an unassailable two-goal lead.

It was as if Theoharous played with a point to prove.

The 24-year-old post-match comments were interesting: “I’d like to add more goals. The boys have done brilliantly all season. Vuka always said if we win or lose play our way.”

76’: Subbed on ????????’: ???????????????????????? ???????? ???????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????? ???? Instant impact from Christian Theoharous!

We’re not sure what’s better: the strike or the celebration ????

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

— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) April 13, 2024

Brisbane Roar

Corey Brown had a good game, even though the left-back was on the losing side. The 30-year-old created six chances, but to no avail, as none of the Roar players could put the ball in the back of the net.

The post-match comments made by him were insightful: “Pure hard work. I can always get better.”

Newcastle Jets

Clayton Taylor changed the game with a tidy finish, as the young prospect broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute, which changed the whole complexion of the game, as it was difficult to see where a goal was going to come from for either team.

The 20-year-old epitomises the belief that the Jets squad have, even though they have their issues off the field.

Sydney FC

Jaiden Kucharski won the game for the Sky Blues with a good finish in the 98th minute just three minutes after the Wanderers scored the equaliser.

The 21-year-old made an astute comment: “That’s why people around the world love football.”

Sydney FC coach Ufuk Talay made an intriguing comment as to what it takes to be successful: “The players set the culture.”


Absolute pandemonium in The Cove as Jaiden Kucharski slots the latest of equalisers to steal back the 3 points for @SydneyFC

WHAT. A. FINISH.#SydneyDerby

— Paramount+ Australia (@ParamountPlusAU) April 13, 2024

Western Sydney Wanderers

Zac Sapsford did what he did in Round 5; the 21-year-old was subbed on in the first half for an injured Brandon Borrello in the Sydney Derby and Sapsford made an impact on the game by scoring their only goal.

The Wanderers substitute scored an equaliser in the 95th minute with a good header that appeared to have given the Wanderers a point, only for his team to concede three minutes later.

Post-match Sapsford put things in perspective: “I guess that’s just football. That’s just how the cookie crumbles. I guess today wasn’t our day.”

Melbourne City

Mathew Leckie played a pivotal part in City claiming an 8-nil win; the leadership and intensity that the Socceroo brings are infectious.

Mathew Leckie celebrates with teammates after a Melbourne City goal. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

The 33-year-old provided the assist for the second goal scored by City through Tolgay Arslan in the 16th minute.

Leckie was the architect of the third goal with his pinpoint cross leading to Glory centre-back Kaelan Majekodunmi scoring an own goal in the 19th minute.

The City maestro also played a part in the sixth goal scored in the 60th minute with a pass to Leo Natel who provided the assist for a goal scored by Jamie Maclaren.

Melbourne City coach Aurelio Vidmar outlined Leckie’s value to the team: “Really happy Leck’s was able to get through 60 minutes.”

Perth Glory

David Williams provided some energy off the bench, as Glory had a few chances in the second half to make the scoreboard respectable.

The 36-year-old summed up the predicament of the club post-match: “It’s very difficult. We can’t underestimate their ability. It’s a collective, as a whole club. There are no excuses. It’s got to start from the top. It’s a learning curve. There’s probably things I could say, but not on TV.”

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Perth Glory coach summed everything up: “In the second half, I felt we had six or seven good chances. All you can do is apologise to everyone who supports the club.”

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