The Inner Sanctum has put together a team of the week comprised of the best performing players that took part in Round 17 of the A-League Men season.
Western United retained their place at the top of the ladder after a quality performance against the Jets, in which Leo Lacroix shined, while the Wanderers got back to winning ways in a thrilling Sydney Derby.
Following the latest set of fixtures we’ve compiled the best XI from the stand-out performers, in The Inner Sanctum’s Team of the Week.
Goalkeeper and defenders
GK: Filip Kurto (Macarthur FC)
Kurto did pick the ball out of his net three times, but if it weren’t for his heroics, the Bulls could have conceded even more goals. The Polish shot-stopper made five saves, including two phenomenal ones to deny Nick D’Agostino and Chris Ikonomidis from inside the box.
RB: Tomoki Imai (Western United)
Imai started as a right-back in the absence of Josh Risdon and had an excellent game, in his 50th A-League Men appearance. He contributed both defensively and offensively and came very close to scoring in the second half.
CB: Leo Lacroix (Western United)
Two goals highlighted another colossal display from the Swiss defender, who is largely considered as one of the front runners for the Johnny Warren Medal.
CB: Phillip Cancar (Western Sydney Wanderers)
The 20-year-old centre-back looked like a real veteran in his team’s win over local rivals Sydney FC. According to FotMob, Cancar made five clearances, two interceptions, and seven ball recoveries, helping the Wanderers keep their fifth clean sheet of the season.
LB: Adama Traore (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Traore rolled back the years with his impressive display in the derby, giving almost no chance to the likes of Kosta and Grant to influence the match. He made four tackles (most in the game), six interceptions, and three clearances, whilst also relentlessly running forward to support Najjarine with his overlaps.
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CM: Keanu Baccus (Western Sydney Wanderers)
The African-born midfielder makes his debut in our TOTW after a Man of the Match showing in the Sydney Derby. Baccus was superb in breaking up Sydney’s play, but the highlight of his game was the goal that basically sealed the win for Rudan’s men.
CM: Joshua Brillante (Melbourne Victory)
Brillante pulled the strings from midfield for Victory at AAMI Park, after being given license to roam forward, with Leigh Broxham sitting deeper. The captain amassed 56 touches, made seven ball-recoveries, won 100 per cent of his tackles, and to put the cherry on the top, assisted Marco Rojas’ goal.
RW: Beni Nkololo (Central Coast Mariners)
Nkololo retains his spot in the Inner Sanctum’s Team of the Week after scoring the opener against the Roar on Saturday. The Frenchman was very active on both sides, switching places with Nicolai Muller, and on another day could have picked up a few assists as well.
ST: Nicholas D’Agostino (Melbourne Victory)
The former Perth and Brisbane attacker played one of his best games against Macarthur on Friday. He scored a brace in the first half and was a consistent menace for the Bulls’ backline.
ST: Hiroshi Ibusuki (Adelaide United)
Hiroshi was the hero for the Reds at HBF Park. The Japanese forward opened the scoring with a towering header in the first half and assisted Mo Toure’s goal after some great number 9 play.
LW: Ramy Najjarine (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Najjarine didn’t get on the scoresheet in the Sydney Deby, but his overall influence was massive. The young winger was the Wanderers’ main outlet on the left and it was his silky footwork that won the penalty which broke the deadlock.
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