The A-League players who were the standouts for their respective teams in Round Five

It was a fascinating weekend of football; 15 goals were scored in six matches and in three out of five matches, the winning team had less possession than their opponents.

I will break it down and take a look at the one player from each team who made a difference throughout the round.

Macarthur FC

Ulises Davila was at his best once again, and we are so fortunate that he plies his trade in the A-League.

His ball control and passing were first class and the way in which he created chances was impressive, as he provided the assist for the solitary goal scored by Macarthur FC, which came through Matthew Millar in the 12th minute.

Melbourne Victory

Damien Da Silva did not have his best game, but he was still the player for Melbourne Victory who made the difference, clearing a golden chance off the line from Raphael Borges Rodrigues, in the 79th minute.

What resulted was effectively a two-goal turnaround, because Melbourne Victory was one-nil down at the time of the clearance – and they went on to claim a deserved point with a late goal in the 95th minute.

The most telling part was that from adversity came strength, with Da Silva at his best after the 62nd minute when Adama Traore was sent off.

Wellington Phoenix

Alex Paulsen produced a couple of pivotal saves for Wellington Phoenix.

The first top-class save he produced was from Hamza Sakhi who took a free kick from a fair distance out that would have nestled into the back of the net if not for the intervention of Paulsen, in the 41st minute.

Along with that, he produced a save from a penalty taken by Jamie Maclaren in the 74th minute.

His post-match interview summed up why he is in such good form, as he has his feet on the ground, which was there for all to see when asked about the penalty save. He casually answered that it is “one of those things that’s just based on instinct and I just got lucky”.

Someone build Alex Paulsen a statue! ????

— Wellington Phoenix ???? (@WgtnPhoenixFC) November 25, 2023

Melbourne City

Samuel Souprayen was the player who made the difference for Melbourne City, as he cleared the ball off the line in the 30th minute, from an effort on goal from Kosta Barbarouses, which meant that his team went into the half-time break with a clean sheet and kept them in the match.

He also defended well in the 86th minute and if not for his intervention Barbarouses would have been one-on-one with Melbourne City goalkeeper, Jamie Young.

Central Coast Mariners

Jacob Farrell was immense for the Central Coast Mariners, as he never stopped working.

The fact that he is a great prospect was there for all to see. Farrell is capable of making marauding runs down the left-hand side and provided the assist for the goal scored by Storm Roux in first-half stoppage time, which broke the deadlock.

It was a key moment of the match that changed the complexion of the game and post-match he showed what belief from his manager Mark Jackson has done for him: “it’s been a tough start to the season for the boys. Jacko said to me play freely and do what you do best”.

Come for the goal Stay for the celebration ????

What a moment in Gosford! Storm Roux gives @CCMariners the lead in the F3 Derby with a superb strike.

????Catch the second-half action on Paramount+.#ALM #CCMvNEW

— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) November 25, 2023

Newcastle Jets

Archie Goodwin came back from injury on the bench and changed the complexion of the game, as Goodwin made the deficit for Newcastle Jets one-goal in the 76th minute.

He made the chance created by Philip Cancar look easy and after the game, Goodwin showed his class, stating: “a disappointing result overall. It’s been a long journey, I’ve had a few setbacks. It’s all positive on my end and just looking to have more game time and make an impact for the team”.

Sydney FC

Joel King put in a good shift, as he played well for 69 minutes. It is no coincidence that Sydney FC kept a clean sheet up until that point and conceded just three minutes after King was substituted off.

King defended well when he needed to, as he curtailed the influence that Dylan Pierias and Tate Russell had on the right-hand side for Western Sydney Wanderers.

Western Sydney Wanderers

Zac Sapsford had to fill the void left by the injured Brandon Borrello, who he replaced in the 17th minute.

He took his opportunity by scoring the only goal of the game with a clinical finish in the 72nd minute, as both teams found it difficult to score; it took a magic moment from a former Sydney FC player in Sapsford to break the deadlock.

He summed it up well post-match: “it’s what I dreamed of. A bit surreal in a derby”.

WANDERERS LEAD IN THE DERBY ???? What a moment for 21-year-old Zac Sapsford!

Off the bench to replace Socceroo Brandon Borrello and he produces THIS in the Sydney Derby. Incredible.

Match Centre:

Watch #SYDvWSW on 10 Bold & Paramount+.#ALM

— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) November 25, 2023

Brisbane Roar

Jay O’Shea was a standout for Brisbane Roar, as he was involved in both goals scored by them, the first was an assist for a goal scored by Henry Hore in the 56th minute, which broke the deadlock and the second goal was scored by O’Shea just nine minutes later.

His passing was exquisite as we have become accustomed to and he did not put a foot wrong.

Perth Glory

Cameron Cook was a shining light for Perth Glory, as the goalkeeper kept them in the game, as he made some stunning saves, the first of which came in the second minute from a superb shot from Florin Berenguer of Brisbane Roar.

What the save did was give Cook the confidence to keep the scoreboard respectable, in a game that was dominated by the home side.

He showed professionalism and was there for all to see post-match: “the result speaks for itself. I think we just got to be better. I hate conceding goals, I hate losing”.

Western United

Lachlan Wales was the player who endeavoured to bring Western United back into the match as he scored an equaliser in the 53rd minute, to make the score one-all.

Wales was the one making clever runs in the final third and got his just reward with a goal. He finished the game with four shots on target and tried to will his teammates to get something out of the game, in terms of points, but it was not to be for Western United.

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Adelaide United

Ben Halloran broke the deadlock in the 30th minute with a stunning strike from outside the box.

It was a game that was entertaining to watch, partly due to Halloran producing a magical strike and an exquisite assist for youngster Luke Jovanovic, with an intelligent pass that Jovanovic scored.

That made the lead two goals for Adelaide United, just ten minutes after the scores were level early in the second half.

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