From players trying to seal a spot on the plane to Qatar to poor performances to stunning goals, The Inner Sanctum is here to take you through the good and the bad of Round 5 of the A-League Men.
Melbourne Victory vs. Newcastle Jets
Good: Melbourne Victory get back to their winning ways
After going goalless in its previous three games (D1, L2), Tony Popovic’s side got back to form, slotting four past the Newcastle Jets who are having some problems of their own.
New signing Bruno Fornaroli scored his first for the Victory, putting home a penalty in the 89th minute to cap off the 4-0 win.
The return to form could not have come at a better time for the Victory, as they head to Adelaide and will be looking for a win before the World Cup break.
Bad: What on earth is going on in Newcastle?
Earning the nickname of the ‘Box-Office Jets’ last season, the side has not looked as such this season. The performance on Friday night against the Victory saw the visitors put up only nine shots, none of which were on target amid a hapless and uninspiring performance.
It has been very Jekyll and Hyde for the Jets this year, with two wins and two losses through the opening four games leading them to ninth place on the ladder.
It will not get easier for the Jets as they welcome Melbourne City to the Hunter this week before the World Cup break. They could find themselves heading into December on the back of three straight losses if they are not careful.
Melbourne City vs. Perth Glory
Good: Marco Tilio impresses as City bounce back from a disappointing draw
Marco Tilio had one last chance to impress Graham Arnold to try and secure that seat on the plane to Qatar, and impress he did.
Coming up with a goal and an assist en route to City’s 4-0 victory, Tilio did all he could as he helped his side bounce back from a 2-2 draw against Wellington last week.
Unfortunately for Tilio, he will not be joining teammates Jamie Maclaren and Mathew Leckie – both of whom also scored in this game – at the World Cup.
Bad: Things get worse for the Glory
Even though the Glory kept City scoreless in the first half, that is where the good news ends. The team only managed one shot in the entire game, and it was not even on target.
The side finds itself on the road for an extended period due to circumstances beyond their control for yet another season and battling injuries, but it is so disappointing to see what this side has turned into and continues to be.
Perth’s World Cup break starts early, and the club has a lot of work to do before it returns to action on December for the first home game of the season against the just as disappointing Western United.
Central Coast Mariners vs. Western Sydney Wanderers
Good: Garang Kuol
Does anything else need to be said other than his name here?
It does? Okay.
Coming off the bench again, Kuol lit up Parramatta, providing two assists and re-energising the Mariners as they pulled off a 3-0 victory over the Wanderers on Saturday night.
It was a performance which did his World Cup bid no harm, as he, along with Jason Cummings and Danny Vukovic were selected for the Socceroos to play at the World Cup.
Bad: Wanderers good start comes to a screeching halt
The undefeated start to the season for the Wanderers came to a sudden end as they fell to the Mariners and did not look good in doing so.
Last week, the bad for the Wanderers game was that the crowds were being cautious and still staying away despite the good start. Saturday night did nothing to convince those staying away they should come back.
With the Sydney Derby awaiting at the new Sydney Football Stadium, there is no time like the present for Marko Rudan’s side to show last week was just a blip as they head into the World Cup break.
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Wellington Phoenix vs. Macarthur
Good: Clayton Lewis’ epic free kick
What can actually be said about this that is not best explained via the visual medium? Enjoy.
Bad: Anthony Carter gets outshone by Lachlan Rose… again
Anthony Carter had some crucial chances he failed to put away that could have made the trip to Wellington far different for Macarthur had he capitalised on his opportunities.
After being subbed on in the 59th minute, Rose found the back of the net in the same minute to level the score and give his side hope.
This has started to develop into a pattern for Carter, and one that could create some concern for Dwight Yorke if it keeps happening.
Brisbane Roar vs. Sydney FC
Good: Roar pick up first win of the season
Where has Warren Moon been hiding this version of the Brisbane Roar? A stunning start saw Brisbane up two goals inside the first 12 minutes, with Sydney on the ropes before eventually pulling off a 3-1 victory.
Despite all the off-field drama surrounding the club, a performance like this is what would have been envisioned at the start of the season. The challenge is going to be in keeping it up and making sure this is not a one-off.
But for now, the Roar faithful have something to be happy about from the men’s team, and that should not be taken for granted.
Bad: Sydney stumble into the Derby
A shaky start to the season has plagued the Sky Blues as they look to rebuild the identity they have been known for since Graham Arnold took over before being replaced by Steve Corica.
The injuries have not helped, with the back line hurting the most, as injury replacement signing Adrian Vlastelica stepped straight into the starting side in the 3-1 loss to Brisbane.
In a frustrating performance, Sydney will also be without Paulo Retre as he got red carded in the 81st minute, leaving Corica with yet another absence in his squad for the Derby.
A loss here leading into the World Cup break could leave a lot of questions being asked over the next few weeks before the season resumes in December.
Western United vs. Adelaide United
Good: 30 minutes is all it takes for Adelaide to seal the win
Three goals in the opening half an hour greeted Western United as Adelaide came to town with a gift that the home side would rather they did not bring.
After a rough start to the season, Adelaide has picked up two wins on the trot as the side looks ahead to a visit from the Victory.
It was a last chance hit out for Craig Goodwin to seal his spot on the plane to Qatar, doing so in comfortable fashion as he led his club side to victory.
Bad: Things go from bad to worse for Western United
In what might just be the shock of the season, Western United are still without a win and John Aloisi’s side has not looked good at all this season.
The biggest concern for Aloisi might just be Leo Lacroix, who had yet another own goal in this fixture. He has looked the polar opposite of how he did last season as Western secured the championship.
If it was not for the gold patch adorning the green and black jerseys, one would not know this is the same side that went all the way less than six months ago.
It is a concern for Western United, and three points against Wellington is a must otherwise Aloisi’s side will be the only A-League Men side heading into the break without a win.
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