The weekend started with Melbourne City getting a much-needed three points. There was everything from controversy to a seven-goal game and plenty of points of interest with the fans back in numbers for the Original Rivalry. Check out the one player from each team who made a difference, in Round 3.
Steven Ugarkovic changed the complexion of the game with a superb goal near half-time, as it took a magic moment to break the deadlock and lift the team; a piece of brilliance from Ugarkovic, which he shot from outside the box. It’s no coincidence that Melbourne City doubled their lead early in the second half. In the post-match he summed the game up well with a fresh voice at the helm: “The reaction from the boys was excellent.”
Anthony Caceres provided a lot of energy in the middle of the park. Unfortunately, he was a lone ranger, as he stood out from the pack. He provided two crosses for Fabio Gomes in the 76th and 81st minute, only for Gomes to miss the target.
Oskar Zawada was clinical in the final third as he scored a hat-trick and it could’ve been four goals for him as he hit the post in the 45th minute. He found openings in the Brisbane Roar defence and took advantage of the space they gave him and took most chances that came his way. His captain Alex Rufer summed up where Zawada is at: “He’s in form and his going to score goals.”
Jay O’Shea’s work rate is something to be admired, as he could easily have dropped his head. Instead, O’Shea continually looked to find pockets of space and make insightful runs, as he finished the game with 26 passes into the final third.
Jonathan Aspropotamitis was inspirational the way he carried on playing after rolling his ankle early in the contest. He blocked shots and put his body on the line for 60 minutes. Macarthur FC coach Mile Sterjovski summed up his performance well: “I thought Aspro did really well. It’s great to see the character he showed.”
Thomas Heward-Belle did well to make five saves and keep his team in the contest; it was the calibre of saves that Heward-Belle made that was impressive. He made two crucial stops; one came in the 18th minute and the other in the 42nd minute and didn’t deserve to be on the losing side, but that’s football.
Zinedine Machach played well for Melbourne Victory as he asked plenty of questions of the Adelaide United defence.
Machach did brilliantly to get his way through the Adelaide United defence and provide the assist for Bruno Fornaroli, who broke the deadlock in the 28th minute. Along with that, he had eight touches in the opposition box and always looked threatening.
Joe Gauci kept his team in the game and they’ve got him to thank for them leaving with Melbourne with a point. He made brilliant saves in the second minute and the 34th minute. The game should’ve been over early, but Gauci ensured that Adelaide United stayed in the contest. Gauci showed what a competitor he is in his post-match interview: “We definitely wanted to come here and win.”
Cameron Cook stepped up in the key moments as the result could easily have been different if not for his presence. Cook grabbed the chance to be a permanent member of the team with both hands: “Great to be back in the squad. It gives us confidence to get on a bit of a roll. In football momentum is everything.”
His coach Alen Stajcic summed it up well: “It’s a lot of pressure on the young man and I thought he had an exceptional game.”
Central Coast Mariners
Josh Nisbet found pockets of space and continually displayed great endeavour, putting everything into his team controlling the tempo of the game in the middle of the park. It was a typical Nisbet performance as he never gave in and continually looked to find openings with six passes into the final third.
Apostolos Stamatelopoulos made the difference for the Newcastle Jets with two goals. The first was a sublime finish in the 18th minute with a headed goal from a Trent Buhagiar cross. The second goal he scored in the 37th minute he made look easy, which made the score 2-0 in favour of the Newcastle Jets, which should’ve put the game to bed. The combination between him and Buhagiar worked extremely well as they were a constant threat.
Western Sydney Wanderers
Jorrit Hendrix played a part in both goals scored by Western Sydney Wanderers. The first goal for his team came due to a pinpoint corner, which ended up in Joshua Brillante making it a one-goal deficit for his team, while the second goal came via a pass from Hendrix in the midfield, which led to a goal from Marcus Antonsson, levelling the game at 2-2.
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