Record books were re-written for both good and bad as Brisbane Roar continued their tenure at the top of the A-League after eight rounds.
Roar have kept top spot in a tight A-League season following a 1-0 win over Perth Glory, equalling a club-record six straight home wins. Coach Mike Mulvey was full of praise for Besart Berisha, who scored the only goal of the game, and was again linked with moves away from the A-League.
“He’s got orange blood,” Mulvey said. “Did you see the way he celebrated that goal … Do you think that looks like someone who wants to go somewhere else?”
The defeated Glory could add striker Shane Smeltz to their injury list after he was withdrawn with an ankle knock before half-time. Western Sydney yielded second place to Sydney FC after they drew 0-0 at Wellington Phoenix.
Popovic rang the changes from his side’s round seven loss to the Roar, with five new faces in the first 11, but denied the Phoenix their first win of the year largely through the efforts of Ante Covic in the Wanderers’ goal.
At AAMI Park, Adelaide United threw away a two goal half-time lead as Melbourne Heart earned a 3-3 draw. Adelaide’s possession-based football yielded sharp rewards as Steven Lustica and Sergio Cirio fired Adelaide to a 2-0 halftime lead.
Two belters from Andrea Migliorini brought Heart level before a dodgy penalty allowed David Williams to put the Heart in front. Heart were denied when Steve Carrusca’s free kick was deflected past Andrew Redmayne, ending a dramatic match.
Frank Farina warned the competition his Sydney FC side still had plenty of improvement left after a 2-0 win over in-form Newcastle Jets.
New signing Branko Despotovic joined Joel Chianese on the scoresheet as the Sky Blues recorded a club record fourth consecutive win that sees the side up to second. “I’ve been around football long enough to know that things change very quickly,” Farina said.
“If I put a percentage on it, I’d most probably say we’re 60 per cent of where we want to be, still quite a way to go.”
Their opponents next week, Central Coast Mariners, played out a 0-0 draw with Melbourne Victory in Gosford on Friday. The Mariners looked second-best for much of the night but Victory failed to make them pay. The goal-less snoozer was awkwardly timed for Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro, who told a packed club business event last week the league should stop fixturing Friday night free-to-air matches that “bore viewers”.