Five things we learned from A-League Round 4

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat complained about there being "two sets of rules" in last week's FFA Cup semi-final against Melbourne City. He had no reason to complain though after Monday night's A-League game against Wellington Phoenix, which Victory won 6-1.

Kevin Muscat

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat Source: AAP

1. Nothing wrong with this set of rules for Victory

The Victory had two first-half penalties in two minutes, the first of which was definite and the second debatable. Besart Berisha scored from both. 

Kevin Muscat's side committed slightly more fouls than the Phoenix, but had less yellow cards.

Unfortunately for Wellington, two of their cards went to the same player, central defender Dylan Fox, resulting in a red.

Phoenix scored their goal from what was a fair penalty soon after Fox was sent off, but the floodgates opened when Marco Rojas scored in the 71st minute to make it 3-1.

But that goal should have been disallowed after Berisha shoved Phoenix defender Adam Parkhouse out of the way in the lead-up. The Phoenix folded after that.

While the Victory would have won anyway, they did get the rub of the green and that allowed the score to blow out.

2. The race for the Golden Boot is already on in earnest

The three leading goal-scorers from last season all found the back of the net in round four.

Reigning Golden Boot winner, Bruno Fornaroli, recorded a double in Melbourne City's 2-1 win over Adelaide United, Jamie Maclaren got one for Brisbane Roar in their 2-1 win over Perth Glory and Berisha came up with three for the Victory against the Phoenix.

Rojas, back in the A-League after a stint in Europe and doing a lot of damage already for Victory, got a double.

Rojas, Fornaroli and Berisha are joint leaders, with four goals apiece. Alex Brosque (Sydney FC) and Brendon Santalab (Western Sydney Wanderers), each of who scored one goal in this round, are on three, along with Filip Holosko (Sydney FC) and Andy Keogh (Perth).

3. A caged Kenny Lowe is no good for anyone

While his Perth Glory side was doing battle with Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium, coach Lowe was pictured sitting alone behind the glass in a corporate box in the grandstand, banned from match-day contact with the players for two games after abusing a referee.

It was like looking at a lion behind the glass at the zoo. They're capable of doing something, but they know they're not going to get the chance so they appear benign.

Lowe is one of the A-League's great advertisements, with his sideline enthusiasm and entertaining media conferences, but he had to pay the price for stuffing up. The sooner he is back in the spotlight, the better.

4. Kerem Bulut's future is up to him

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic drives a hard bargain at training and he would be a fool if he didn't. Players are expected to put in at a high level every day and if they perform one day and then drop off in intensity the next day it is considered unacceptable.

Striker Bulut was dropped from the match squad for the game against Central Coast Mariners because of inconsistency at training and now the Wanderers will see how he responds. The ball is in his court.

5. Phoenix falling

It was supposed to be a brave new world for Wellington this season, following the signings of star players Kosta Barbarouses and Gui Finkler, but the competition table is looking scary for them after their 6-1 drubbing by Victory.

Four games, four losses, one goal for (from a penalty, so still no goals from general play) and 10 against. Another loss in their home game against the Newcastle Jets on Saturday and the alarm bells will be ringing, if they're not already.

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4 min read
Published 1 November 2016 at 7:39am
By Greg Prichard