Five things we learned from A-League Round 7

Governing body gaffes, potential departures and season-defining performances highlighted round seven of A-League action this past weekend.

A-League

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Will Cahill leave City?

Cahill


“I need game time … I would have done anything to be part of this group and I’m going to do anything to stay a part of it.” 

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Tim Cahill’s comments came after the Socceroos booked their place in next year’s FIFA World Cup with a 3-1 playoff victory over Honduras on Wednesday night. 

And while Australia’s greatest ever goalscorer would love to see out his three-year deal at Melbourne City, his future may lie elsewhere if his relationship with head coach Warren Joyce continues to break down. 

Speaking prior to City’s error-riddled 3-1 defeat to Brisbane Roar on Friday night, Joyce admitted he had not spoken to Cahill since he last departed for international duty at the beginning of the month. 

The lack of communication between Joyce and Cahill have brought the former’s man management under scrutiny as other high-profile names such as Luke Brattan, Neil Kilkenny and Polish marquee Marcin Budzinski continue to see limited minutes. 

Brisbane’s performance, enough to claim their first win of the season, means City are now winless in three consecutive games – a far cry from the title talk many awarded the side after their impressive start to the campaign. 

Cahill’s place in the squad will remain a prominent talking point as the January transfer window approaches, starting with this Friday’s match against Perth Glory.

Victory at last



Melbourne Victory’s 2-0 win over Perth Glory on Sunday night could be the wake-up call Kevin Muscat’s men need if they are to go on and emulate last season’s success of reaching the grand final. 

Goals from Besart Berisha and Leroy George sealed Victory’s first win of the season and saw them move off the bottom of the league and up to sixth place in the process. 

Perth weren’t without their chances, but, like so often this season, were made to pay in transition as Melbourne used the wings to stretch the home side and leave space in the middle of the park.

The win will come as a huge relief to the Victory, who had drawn their last four matches after playing without a host of first-team players unavailable due to international duty. 

Muscat and co. will breathe a huge sigh of relief at this result, and will now approach Thursday’s match against the Jets expecting another three points to propel them back to where they feel they should be.

That’s the way it’s gonna be, little darlin’

Mariners


One week removed from handing Sydney FC their first loss since February, Central Coast fell 2-1 at home to Adelaide United after goals from Daniel Adlung and Ryan Kitto cancelled out Wout Brama’s first half penalty.

The match, scheduled for 7:50pm on a Thursday night, attracted just over 5,000 supporters – a number Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp blamed solely on the FFA.

“Simply, the FFA has not yet truly embraced a ‘bums on seats strategy’ for the A-League which ensures that all the moving parts are headed in the same direction,” Mielekamp said. 

“We are a family club and our core members are families. The decision (to play on Thursday night) flew in the face of what is best for the fans and members of our club.” 

Mielekamp’s rant echoes the long-standing displeasure at the A-League’s marketing and scheduling this season, as well as the game’s significance in Australia’s sporting landscape. 

A-League boss Greg O’Rourke defended the league’s decision shortly after full-time, and revealed that Central Coast Stadium’s unavailability was due to a Rugby League legends match set for the weekend. 

Unfortunately, O’Rourke’s response is exactly why football may never usurp rival codes in this country. And with that, despite last week’s rendition, it seems Daryl Braithwaite’s chorus of “The Horses” now holds new meaning to Mariners fans.  

What a joke

Gombau


Western Sydney’s match at home to the Wellington Phoenix was postponed after officials deemed the pitch at Spotless Stadium unsafe during its “necessary seasonal transition” from Rye (Winter) grass to Couch (Summer). 

While the announcement came just two days out from kick-off, fans were left baffled after a popular music festival set for next week was still scheduled to go ahead. 

As a result, the legitimacy surrounding this “seasonal transition” remains in question and becomes yet another example of the FFA’s incompetence to at least plan ahead and move the fixture elsewhere. 

The Wanderers are the only team yet to taste defeat this season, having played one game fewer than their opposition and the Phoenix fixture yet to be rescheduled. 

Their next home game against Brisbane Roar on December 2nd has since been moved to ANZ Stadium. 

Sydney FC are champions for a reason



Despite Newcastle’s impressive start to the season, the Jets were unable to generate a telling blow against Sydney FC, going down 2-1 on Saturday night. 

Torrential conditions had little effect on the defending champions, who controlled the contest and returned to the top of the league thanks to goals from Milos Ninkovic and Bobo. 

The Brazilian was in inspired form on the night, punishing a horrendous Jack Duncan blunder that ultimately proved to be the match-winner despite Dimitri Petratos’ long-range effort five minutes past the hour mark. 

While Ernie Merrick’s men had their fair share of chances to level things up, even without leading goalscorer Roy O’Donovan, Graham Arnold felt the result flattered the away side. 

“Should have been four, five, game should have been over,” Arnold said after the game. 

Having inflicted the Jets their first loss of the season, Sydney will be full of confidence ahead of Tuesday’s FFA Cup final against Adelaide United as they attempt to complete the treble for the first time in club history. 


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6 min read
Published 20 November 2017 at 8:52am
By Jonathan Bernard