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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

FIVE TURNING POINTS THAT CHANGED THE GAME

‘SPOTLESS’ STADIUM NOT SPOTLESS

Following an R&B concert a week prior, it was understandable that the pitch may be a little worn down when Western Sydney Wanderers hosted Newcastle Jets at so-called Spotless Stadium.
But the stadium’s staff had apparently failed to clean the stands, resulting in shards of broken plastic cups being blown onto the pitch by the wind.
That resulted in the pitch that was more of a dangerous health hazard than a playing surface on Friday night – and more should be done to penalise those who left it in such a state.
It’s easy to say the same wouldn’t have happened had the sport been AFL or NRL, but it highlights the need for A-League clubs to have purpose-built stadiums as soon as possible.
The contrast with the pitch and atmosphere at Jubilee Stadium in the Big Blue two days later showed the difference a little respect and lot of care can make.

ILSO OPENS ACCOUNT FOR REDS

Marco Kurz’s Adelaide United faced a tricky trip to Wellington on Saturday, which was made even more difficult after they went behind through Mandi’s opening strike.
However, after being given a lifeline through Tom Doyle’s comical own goal, the Reds came roaring back to win 3-1, with off-season Danish recruit Ken Ilso opening his account with a match-winning brace.
The Dane met Michael Marrone’s enticing cross brilliantly to guide in Adelaide’s second just after halftime, before he supposedly got the last touch off of Ryan Kitto’s cross following a rapid counter-attack.
It has been well documented that Kurz is in need of a lethal striker, particularly with Baba Diawara and George Blackwood sidelined. Although Apostolos Stamatelopoulos has looked lively this season, shifting Ilso from a centre-attacking midfielder to a centre-forward may be the answer for the German.
The self-proclaimed ‘Viking’ will be looking for another when Adelaide host Brisbane on Friday night.

BUT WARREN, WHERE IS BRUNO?

It was the million-dollar question in round 5, but where was Bruno Fornaroli on Saturday?
Apart from the obvious answer of somewhere in Australia, the Uruguayan was inexplicably left out of City's travelling squad to Brisbane with coach Warren Joyce failing to give a definitive answer.
The Englishman claimed it was due to “fitness concerns” and he was “picking a team to win the match” although neither excuse rings true...especially given the result.
He was named as fully fit and in the squad on Thursday. and El Tuna has repeatedly proved to be the Cityzen's most important player.
Fornaroli is reportedly upset at missing out on a lucrative move to Sydney FC in the off-season but whether that is the root of the problem, it will need to be resolved soon or either Joyce or Bruno will soon be out the door.

RASH VAN DER LINDEN LEAVES CORICA SCRATCHING HIS HEAD

Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory played out the first Big Blue of the season on Sunday in a fantastic spectacle at Jubilee Oval despite some on-field controversy.
Questions were raised over the penalty when Terry Antonis was judged to have brought down Paulo Retre when replays suggested it was a simple shoulder to shoulder challenge.
But no one protested against Victory's second half penalty when Dutchman Jop Van der Linden stupidly lunged in on Keisuke Honda in the area.
The Japanese midfielder stepping up to convert and give Kevin Muscat’s men the three points.
In a tightly contested affair against one of your main rivals, there was absolutely no need for Van der Linden to go off his feet like that, particularly when Honda wasn’t in a position that was an immediate threat to Andrew Redmayne’s goal.
It cost Steve Corica his first loss of the A-League season but also a key scalp early on in the campaign.

TALKING POINTS GALORE AS GLORY EDGE MARINERS IN THRILLER

Where do we start? The last game of the round saw Perth host Central Coast in a clash which paired top of the league against bottom.
You would have been mistaken for thinking it would be a routine Glory victory as Mike Mulvey’s side put in a respectable effort to just come up short 3 – 2.
The match had a range of talking points from potential Socceroos call-ups for Christopher Ikonomidis and Neil Kilkenny, a stunning strike from Aiden O’Neill, a ridiculous own-goal from Tomislav Mrcela and a red card to Mariners defender Khalifa Cissé.
However, most importantly, it highlighted how when both teams take on a game, it really produces the best out of them.
Although the Mariners started slowly and were happy to sit back, once they started to come out of their shells and get at the Glory, it ended up being like a boxing match with each team knocking blows back and forth.
It culminated in the most entertaining game of the season so far but also served as inspiration to other sides in the league that just a bit of belief, confidence and risk taking can change the whole outlook on a match and maybe in some cases, a season.

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