Preview: Adelaide United v Western Sydney Wanderers

Preview: Adelaide v Western Sydney Wanderers

Adelaide United and Western Sydney Wanderers will meet in Round 15 of the 2013-14 A-League season at Coopers Stadium on Sunday, January 19 at 5.00pm AEDT (4.30pm local time).


Played 4 – Wins: Adelaide 1, Western Sydney 3, Draws: 0

Previous encounter:

Western Sydney 2-1 Adelaide, November 1, 2013

Past five matches

Adelaide: WDWDW
Western Sydney: LWLDW

The Game:

After a lacklustre performance in their 3-1 loss to Melbourne Victory on Tuesday night, Western Sydney Wanderers will enter their third game in eight days under significant pressure. While the reigning A-League premiers remain second on the table, two defeats in their past three fixtures has put the spotlight on Tony Popovic’s men. It is testament to the incredible success the Wanderers have achieved in their one and a half seasons that most A-League pundits believe Western Sydney have yet to reach their best in the current campaign.

It could be argued that the Wanderers could not face a tougher test on Sunday than a trip to Coopers Stadium to take on Adelaide United. The Reds are the form team in the competition with three wins and two draws in their past five games. Since Josep Gombau had a run in with a local journalist, Adelaide have remained undefeated and claimed their best win of the season last week with a 2-1 triumph away to league leaders Brisbane Roar. While Adelaide remain outside the A-League’s top six, another strong performance this week would enhance their credentials as a dark horse for the championship.

The big issue:

Adelaide – Gombau’s men are on a roll but can Adelaide put in a dominant performance after, arguably, riding their luck against 10 players in the past two matches? Sydney FC went very close to nicking all three points in Round 13 with Corey Gameiro missing two decent chances, while Brisbane kept chasing victory at Suncorp Stadium last week despite Diogo Ferreira’s first-half red card. In Round 4, Adelaide had 62 percent possession away to Western Sydney but lost 2-1. If they can turn that kind of dominance into a comprehensive victory this week, the league will certainly take notice.

Western Sydney – Last season, the Wanderers entered the finals as the equal-third most-prolific scoring team in the A-League despite a genuine lead striker. Western Sydney scored just over 1.5 goals per game but despite new recruit Tomi Juric, who has five goals in nine matches, leading the line brilliantly this campaign, the Wanderers’ scoring threat has actually diminished. Western Sydney have 17 goals in 15 games at 1.13 per match. Popovic needs some of his other attackers to chip in with Mark Bridge, Shinji Ono and Youssouf Hersi yet to reach the scoring heights of last season.

The game breaker:

Ryan Griffiths – Before the versatile attacker left for Beijing Baxy midway through last season, Griffiths was arguably one of the best players in the A-League  having scored nine goals in 21 games for Newcastle Jets and created another seven. Able to play out wide, as a central striker and in the hole, Gombau should be able to find a spot for the 32-year-old in his starting line-up and Griffiths’ element of mongrel could be critical against the Western Sydney machine.

Kruse in doubt for World Cup after knee injury

Sunday, 19 January 2014 9:47 AM

Kruse in doubt for World Cup after knee injury

Robbie Kruse will miss the rest of the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.

The 25-year-old sustained the injury to his left knee in training and will go under the knife next week.

The news will come as a massive blow for Ange Postecoglou and the Socceroos with Kruse becoming a key figure in the national side over the past year.

The winger has been capped 27 times for his country and with Australia set to face Chile, Spain and the Netherlands in Brazil the timing of the injury couldn’t be worse.

A Leverkusen statement read: “Robbie Kruse suffered a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in training and thus is likely to be missing for Bayer 04 in the entire second half of this season.

“The Australian International picked up the injury on Friday at training, today (Saturday) an MRI scan showed the worst results.”

Kruse moved to the BayArena from Fortuna Dusseldorf in the close-season and has made 21 appearances for Leverkusen this season, scoring three goals.


Football Federation Australia

Frank Farina promises changes after Mariners defeat

Sunday, 19 January 2014 6:47 AM

Farina promises changes after Mariners defeat

Disappointed Sydney FC coach Frank Farina says it’s got to the point where he will have to make changes after hinting some of his players gave up in the loss to the Central Coast on Saturday night.

The Sky Blues were second best for much of the night and produced a lacklustre performance in front of their home fans, going down 1-0 to Mile Sterjovski’s deflected second half strike.

It’s now five games without a win for Sydney and it seems Farina has had enough, threatening to wield the axe ahead of their Australia Day clash with Melbourne Victory.

The Sky Blues boss said he expected more from all his squad, accusing some of his players of throwing in the towel after going behind just before the hour mark.

“I expected a better reaction after the goal and if I’m not going to get that then I’ll try players that hopefully will,” a furious Farina said.

“I’m not going to go into individuals but I was disappointed with the reaction after (the Mariners goal).

“We’ve shown since the time I’ve been here that we’ll fight until the end but I don’t think we did that as well as we could.

“Tonight was a good opportunity to jump back in (the top six) and we didn’t do it and some of the performances weren’t as good as I expected…so if we have to change we’ll change.

“It’s about winning games of football and getting points. I’m not happy with that tonight.”

Farina could hardly argue with the result as the Mariners squandered a host of first half chances to put the game to bed long before Sterjovski’s fortunate strike.

Making things harder for the Sky Blues was the lack of impact from talisman Alessandro Del Piero, who is struggling to produce the type of form that lit up the A-League last season.

Asked if he was getting enough out of the veteran Italian, a coy Farina said: “It’s hard in games like this when it’s a grind.

“They (Mariners) close people down well…I want more input from all my players.

“I expect more from all of them, not naming individuals.”

And Farina says he needs to get much more from his side, especially in attack, if they are to turn things around against the Victory.

“I’ve said it for the last few weeks but we need to fix our execution in the final third. That’s two games we haven’t scored,” the Sky Blues boss said.

“You’re not going to win football games if you don’t score goals so the final third is an area we have to get better in.

“We created some chances tonight but didn’t finish for whatever reason so it’s probably the main area we need to improve in.

“We’re certainly going to have to cut the basic errors out. Poor passing, poor control if you minimise those errors you will have a lot more of the ball and that’s when you can score goals.”

Football Federation Australia

Moss confirms no Mariners return for Rogic

Sunday, 19 January 2014 6:42 AM

Moss confirms no Mariners return for Rogic

Central Coast are desperate to bolster their squad during the January transfer window but there will be no return for former star playmaker Tom Rogic.

Mariners coach Phil Moss confirmed after his side’s 1-0 win over Sydney FC on Saturday night that they tried feverishly to entice Rogic back to the club on loan but failed.

While Sydney FC were another club keen on Rogic it appears the 20-year-old, currently at Scottish giants Celtic, will join A-League rivals Melbourne Victory on a six month loan deal.

But it’s not because the Mariners didn’t go all out to get his signature, with Moss revealing owner Mike Charlesworth and new chief executive Bruce Stalder had done all they could to make a deal happen.

“It looks as though we’ve fallen a bit short but that’s not through lack of trying or lack of endeavour,” Moss said.

“It looks as though he’ll sign elsewhere. I’ve spoken to Tommy quite a few times in the past few days.

“He’s a great guy, a fantastic player and I hope he makes the right decision for the sake of Australian football because we need him fit and firing at the World Cup.”

With Michael McGlinchey moving to Japan and a knee-injury bringing Marcos Flores’ season to a premature end, Moss said Rogic would have been an ideal replacement but believes the youngster was talked out of a return to Gosford.

“Yeah of course (he would have been the perfect fit for us) and I believe we would have been a perfect fit for him,” the Mariners boss said.

“But Tommy’s a big boy now, he’s a European professional and he’s got people around him advising him where to go.

“I just hope he makes the right decision but certainly we tried our hardest.”

Moss said the club was most likely looking abroad to bolster their squad and is confident of finding at least one new signing before the transfer window closes.

And if he can they will join a side that appears to be hitting its straps at just the right time.

The Mariners moved up to third thanks to Mile Sterjovski’s deflected second half effort but should have won by a lot more if not for some wasteful finishing.

“I think we’ve been building to this,” a delighted Moss said.

“I said during the week with all the changes we had it was like sailing a ship into a storm and you can see over the last few weeks that there’s calmer waters ahead and that’s a credit to everyone.

“No-one’s lost the belief. I’m just proud as punch of the boys and how they’ve come through a difficult period.

“But it’s not over yet. The table is still very tight and one bad result can turn a lot of things around.”

Moss gave special praise to defender Trent Sainsbury who he believes is ready to play at a “higher level”, while youngster Anthony Caceres was also excellent in midfield as cover for suspended skipper John Hutchinson.


Football Federation Australia

Glory women nab much-needed win

Saturday, 18 January 2014 10:46 PM

Glory women nab much-needed win

Perth Glory kept their slim Westfield W-League finals hopes alive with a fighting 3-2 victory over the winless Newcastle Jets at Percy Doyle Reserve on Saturday night.

The Jets looked destined to secure their first win – and points – of the season when they took a 2-0 lead in the first half, but Glory fought back to level the score by half-time and sealed maximum points when Marianna Tabain found the back of the net in the 67th minute.

Glory’s win broke a four-game losing streak for last season’s semi-finalists, but the West Australian club faces an uphill battle to break into the top four with just three games remaining in the regular season.

The Jets suffered an early blow when Hannah Beard had to be subbed off after just 10 minutes with a corked thigh following a clash with Shawn Billam in the opening minute.

Departing Canadian international Christina Julien presented Glory with the first chance of the match with a low cross from the right, but striker Kate Gill was ruled offside.

Tara Andrews then put the visitors ahead after 20 minutes when she pounced on a clever pass from her unmarked teammate Rhali Dobson.

Glory had a chance to equalise moments later, but both Gill and Rosie Sutton were unable to get on the end of a searching cross from Tabain.

Dobson was causing headaches for the depleted Perth defence missing Sasha Andrews (ankle) and Sarah Carroll (shin) and almost made centre back Brownyn Studman pay for a careless pass, but the Newcastle striker’s shot was easily stopped by goalkeeper Chantel Jones.

But Sophie Nenadovic quickly caught Jones napping in the minutes that followed and fired a low shot past the helpless goalkeeper to give the Jets an unlikely 2-0 lead.

It didn’t take long for Glory to respond, with Elisa D’Ovidio capitalising on a chance from 30m out to peg one back for the home side.

D’Ovidio, playing at right full back in the absence of Carroll, was in the thick of the action again shortly before half-time when she perfected a cross to Sutton, who headed the ball past Jets custodian Eliza Campbell, only to have the goal cancelled when the assistant referee’s flag was raised.

However, Sutton was able to equalise in the third minute of additional time before the main break when she knocked the ball into the back of the net from another great Tabain cross.

Julien and D’Ovidio had chances in quick succession early in the second half, while Newcastle’s Hannah Brewer forced Jones to make a diving save in the 58th minute.

The result was secured when Sutton intercepted a fumble from Jets defender Siahn Bozanic and passed to Tabain, who casually placed the ball into the lower left corner of the goals.

Dobson and substitute Ashley Spina had chances to equalise, with Jones tipping a high ball from the latter over the crossbar.

Gill, Julien and Ella Mastrantonio also missed opportunities to add a fourth for the home side in the final minutes.

Perth Glory 3 (D’Ovidio 31m, Sutton 45m+3, Tabain 67m)
Newcastle Jets 2 (Andrews 20m, Nenadovic 28m)
Played at Percy Doyle Reserve

Perth Glory: 1. Chantel Jones (GK), 3. Cecilie Sandvej, 4. Bronwyn Studman, 5. Shannon May, 9. Rosie Sutton, 12. Kate Gill, 13. Elisa D’Ovidio (18. Amy Knights 85m), 16. Thia Eastman, 17. Marianna Tabain, 19. Shawn Billam (8. Ella Mastrantonio 56m), 21. Christina Julien (15. Jess Dillon 90m).

Unused substitute:
28. Gabrielle Dal Busco (GK)

Yellow cards:
Bronwyn Studman 50m

Newcastle Jets: 1. Eliza Campbell (GK), 2. Hannah Brewer, 4. Siahn Bozanic, 5. Ciara McCormick, 7. Gema Simon, 9. Tara Andrews, 10. Rhali Dobson (17. Lauren Brown 82m), 12. Hannah Beard (6. Ashley Spina 10m), 14. Sophie Nenadovic, 16. Cassidy Davis, 18. Clare Wheeler (23. Stacey Day 70m).

Unused substitute:
20. Claire Coelho (GK)

Yellow cards:

Football Federation Australia