SNAPSHOT OF ROUND 20 IN THE A-LEAGUE
THEY SAID IT: “I’ll be dancing on the tables tonight with the missus.” – Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe knows how to celebrate a big win, and they don’t come much bigger than a 6-3 belting of the league’s top team, Brisbane Roar.
STAT THAT MATTERS: As Sydney FC coach, Graham Arnold is yet to lose to Western Sydney and that record continued on Saturday night. A 1-1 draw was tough on the Sky Blues, which finished the stronger and saw Matt Simon hit the bar. But as Tony Popovic pointedly remarked after the match, the draw keeps the Wanderers six points clear of their rivals.
PLAYER OF THE ROUND: A shared prize between Morden Nordstrand and Aaron Mooy. Nordstrand’s first two A-League goals rescued Newcastle against Wellington on Saturday. The Dane produced two fine strikes to give the Jets a 3-2 win that keeps alive their faint finals hopes. On Sunday, Mooy was crucial in surging City past Central Coast. The Socceroo set up Patrick Kisnorbo’s equaliser and scored from the penalty spot and a free kick as City won 4-1.
CONTROVERSY CORNER: Thankfully, the Sydney derby and the “original rivalry” between Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United passed without incident, ensuring the Wanderers and Victory enter a new era of subdued support from the stands.
UNDER PRESSURE: Kevin Muscat says his side hasn’t quite lost control of the premiership race but Victory’s 0-1 loss to Adelaide should ring the alarm. United’s discipline and control of the contest was evident at AAMI Park, and Bruce Kamau’s winner kept the Reds’ good times rolling. Muscat has just three wins since November and his side looks a shadow of the championship-winning outfit from May 2015.
LOGJAM LOOMS: The 2015 grand finalists begin Asian Champions League duties midweek, with Sydney in Japan to face Urawa Red Diamonds and Victory hosting Shanghai East Asia. The two sides meet on Saturday night in Melbourne and the loser could find themselves out of the top six.