Monday, 10 March 2014 6:11 PM
The Sky Blues won an epic Sydney derby, while Adam Taggart shot ahead in the Golden Boot race. Here’s our strongest XI from the weekend’s ME Bank Fairer Play Round.
Goalkeeper and Player of the Week:
Vedran Janjetovic (Sydney FC): The Sky Blues gloveman was the hero in the Sydney derby with his penalty save proving to be the turning point of this epic encounter. Janjetovic baited former teammate Mark Bridge as to where his spot kick was going and his prediction proved correct as he parried the shot. The goalkeeper was kept busy all night making six further saves at a sold-out Allianz Stadium to see his side move to within one win of their cross-town rivals.
Josh Brillante (Newcastle Jets): The Jets defender has been deployed in a more attacking role in recent weeks and the move certainly paid dividends against the Heart, with Brillante setting up what proved to be the decisive goal. While his long locks might have been missing his first touch certainly wasn’t when he was able to get the better of his defender and fire in a pin-point cross for Taggart to fire home. The 20-year-old has been a standout for the Jets in recent weeks which has seen his nominated for the Young Footballer of the Year award.
William Gallas (Perth Glory): The Glory marquee turned back the clock when he opened the scoring at Westpac Stadium. The former French international intercepted possession near halfway before playing the ball forward and making an incisive run down field. The ball came back to Gallas who was able to bend a left-footed shot into the far corner from outside the box. The former Premier League may yet to be part of a Glory win but this contribution demonstrated his quality and was a far-cry from last week’s gaffe.
Sasa Ognenovski (Sydney FC): The Og-monster was a standout in a heated Sydney derby and his cool head helped turn the tide in the Sky Blues favour, particularly when he assumed the captaincy. It’s no coincidence that Sydney have turned around their defensive frailties since Ognenovski has joined the club. If he is able to consistently turn out performances like this, he will surely put himself in the Socceroos reckoning for the World Cup and be a chance to add to his 22 international caps.
Michael Boxall (Wellingon Phoenix): The Phoenix defender was at his industrious best in the draw against the Glory to help his side stay in touching distance of a congested finals race. Boxall produced eight clearances, blocked a goal-bound shot and had a 100 per cent tackle efficiency. The defensive effort from Wellington as a collective was a vast improvement on the debacle they experienced against the Reds but they need to carry this form on the road with 3 of their next four games away from the Cake Tin.
Jimmy Jeggo (Melbourne Victory): The Victory wideman was handed a rare start by Kevin Muscat and certainly made the most of his opportunity, netting the opening goal of the round just after the half hour mark against the Mariners. Jeggo received the ball on the edge of the box, then took a touch to beat his man and fired through a crowded penalty area into the far corner of the net. The goal was just his second for the club and with Victory having a busy schedule coming up is no doubt one that will be hopeful of more game time.
Ruben Zadkovich (Newcastle Jets): While you could’ve been forgiven for thinking the Jets had ten Zadkovich’s running around Hunter Stadium on Saturday afternoon, it was not entirely from the huge work rate of the Jets skipper. The Newcastle squad had all shaved their heads in the name of cancer and while he may have had a few look-a-likes Zadkovich was still a standout. He man-marked Heart linchpin Orlando Engeelar out of the game and had some tidy contributions of his own in attack to help his side arrest their poor home form this season.
Shinji Ono (Western Sydney Wanderers): Possibly playing in his last Sydney derby if the two sides do not meet in the finals, Ono put in a performance he can be proud of, even if the result didn’t go his side’s way. The Wanderers marquee got the Red and Black half of Allianz Stadium on their feet early in the second half when he was able to volley home from close range after Sydney were unable to deal with a Mark Bridge cross. The Japanese veteran had Western Sydney on top for much of the opening hour but not even his wizardry could combat a couple of bad defensive errors from his teammates.
Besart Berisha (Brisbane Roar): The Roar frontman helped fire Brisbane to a ten-point lead at the league’s summit with a goal in each half ensuring his side picked up maximum points against Adelaide. While the Reds dominated early possession at the Albanian showed his worth when he finished off a well-worked team goal on 21 minutes to give his team the ascendency. He took his tally to ten for the season when he cracked a sensational goal from distance to snuff out Adelaide’s resistance.
Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets): The Jets frontman skipped ahead of the chasing pack in the race for the golden boot when he notched his eleventh of the season to give Newcastle a much-needed home win. The 20-year-old was able to get goal side of his defender and latched onto a Brillante cross to fire in what turned out to be the solitary goal of the game against the Heart. Taggart’s efforts had coach Clayton Zane spruiking his World Cup chances and if he continues to find the back of the net he may very well find himself on the plane to Brazil at season’s end.
Source : Football Federation Australia