Sydney FC has sent the Phoenix back to Wellington empty handed following a 3-2 win, while the Jets and the Glory were left frustrated via a 2-2 draw.
Sydney FC stave off gutsy Phoenix
Bobo of Sydney FC scores his second goal during the round two A-League match against Wellington Phoenix in Sydney on October 15, 2017. (AAP: Craig Golding)
Wellington Phoenix twice came from behind but Sydney FC held firm to close out a 3-2 victory at the Sydney Football Stadium.
But Sunday night’s win may have come at a hefty price for the A-League champions, with star Polish winger Adrian Mierzejewski in serious doubt for next weekend’s Sydney derby after sustaining a second-half hamstring injury.
Phoenix rose twice, Serbian frontman Andrija Kaluderovic and Dario Vidosic each scoring to threaten a boilover.
But it was not quite enough against the Sky Blues, as left-back Michael Zullo complemented Bobo’s brace with his first goal in nearly a decade, a contentious late decision the only barrier to the table’s top spot.
That said, all threatened to unravel in the first minute when Andrew Redmayne fumbled a Kaluderovic header off a free-kick and pounced on his spill in the nick of time as Andrew Durante rounded.
A nondescript opening half hour bore negligible chances as Kaluderovic skied a menacing through ball and Alex Brosque fired a sitter wide of Keegan Smith’s right upright.
Smith, Wellington’s 18-year-old goalkeeper, was less fortunate in the following sequence of play.
Just like the previous scuppered move, Milos Ninkovic was the orchestrator and laid off to Brosque, the skipper feeding a cutting pass for Bobo to ram home.
Six minutes later and Sydney had another, as Mierzejewski chased the ball to the byline down and crossed for Zullo to cannon into the corner – his first A-League goal since 2008 when he was in Roar colours.
Daniel Mullen, off whom both goals had deflected, was at risk of an unfortunate of hat-trick until Kaluderovic stole the attention with a neat half-time finish.
After the break, Bobo cushioned Luke Wilkshire’s inch-perfect cross to head home Sydney’s third but coach Graham Arnold’s cheer was soon replaced with concern as Mierzejewski pulled up and clutched at his hamstring.
The stress was compounded when, no sooner had former Sky Blues fan favourite Ali Abbas’ introduction evoked resounding applause from the crowd of 11,284, the Iraqi’s new teammates mounted another comeback via Vidosic.
Glory steal draw with Jets in Newcastle thriller
Daniel Georgievski of the Jets (R) competes for the ball with the Glory’s Diego Castro. (AAP: Darren Pateman)
A late second goal from Perth striker Adam Taggart has earned Perth Glory an away point in an exciting 2-2 draw in Newcastle.
The Jets looked set to start their season with successive wins until Taggart’s well-placed header in second-half stoppage time.
As was the case last week, Newcastle came from behind, after Taggart neatly flicked home a fine right-wing cross from Diego Castro in the eighth minute.
Irishman Roy O’Donovan followed up his hat-trick in the Jets’ 5-1 opening round away win over Central Coast, with an equaliser in front of 14,833 fans in Newcastle.
He was set up by Andrew Nabbout, who also assisted in two of his goals last week.
Newcastle created most of the opportunities in the second half.
Ben Kantarovski put then ahead with a close-range shot on the hour, after a Nikolai Topor Stanley header from a Dimi Petratos corner hit a post.
They had more chances to extend their lead, but Petratos and Ronald Vargas has attempts saved by Glory goalkeeper Liam Reddy.
Perth persisted and Taggart was denied once by a good save from Jack Duncan before finding the net for a second time.
The Jets are away to Brisbane Roar next Sunday and Glory host the Mariners the same day in their first home game of the season.