Central Coast Take the Top

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Brisbane Roar 1 – Central Coast Mariners 2
After a slow start to the season, Central Coast Mariners have now won five straight and are unbeaten in their last eight, taking over the top of the ladder with a 2-1 away defeat of Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium. Just 10,006 showed up to see the slumping Roar give up two first half goals, one from Mustafa Amini (pictured) in the sixth minute and the other from Pedj Bojić in first half injury time. Kofi Danning pulled one back for the struggling home side when his 83rd minute shot deflected off of Patrick Zwaanswijk. The third straight loss for Brisbane, after thirty-six unbeaten, is a bit of a shock to the A-League hierarchy, though it can be at least partially explained by injuries and absences of Matt Smith and Thomas Broich. The Mariners are now top with a game in hand.

Newcastle Jets 1 – Sydney FC 2
Sydney FC came from a goal down, scoring twice in the final half-hour to defeat F3 rivals Newcastle Jets 2-1 at Ausgrid Stadium. Jeremy Brockie got the opener for the Jets off the volley in the 25th minute. But a reshuffling for the Sky Blues when Brett Emerton was removed due to injury at half-time led to increased offensive production. Rhyan Grant was the replacement and his cross led directly to Sydney’s first goal, a Bruno Carazine effort in the 59th minute. The visitors got the match-winner in the 84th when a poor Jets clearance came to Pascal Bosschaart whose ball back into the box was headed in by Juho Mäkelä. All three points for Sydney take them to fourth place, only trailing Melbourne Heart on goal difference. Newcastle barely hang on to a finals position despite the home loss.

Perth Glory 1 – Melbourne Heart 2
A dramatic 87th minute goal from Mate Dugandžić saw Melbourne Heart to yet another win, this time at the expense of Perth Glory. The 2-1 win at the nib Stadium came after the teams traded goals in a three minute spell in the first half. Matt Thompson opened scoring for Heart in the 33rd minute but was quickly equalized by Billy Mehmet in the 35th. The score remained until an Aziz Behich shot was saved by Danny Vukovic but headed in by Dugandžić. Heart stay clear of Sydney on goal difference while the Glory remain outside of the finals positions, currently seventh.

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Gold Coast Send Adelaide to Bottom at Hindmarsh

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Adelaide United 0 – Gold Coast United 3
Gold Coast United heaped further misery on a terrible start to the season for homestanding Adelaide United in a 3-0 rout at Hindmarsh. The Reds were not without chances but Gold Coast made theirs count as Ben Halloran scored from a deflection, Maceo Rigters cracked a goal from outside the box and Dylan Macallister scored in injury time for the visitors. After finishing third in 2010/11, Adelaide find themselves in tenth place amid a five-game winless streak. The three points for the Queensland club were enough to lift them above Adelaide but still leave Gold Coast in ninth place. The win was only the second on the season for Gold Coast, snapping a six-game winless streak.

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Round 11 Fixtures in US Time Zones

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Dec. 16 – Adelaide United v Gold Coast United – 1:00am PT / 4:00am ET
Dec. 16/17 – Newcastle Jets v Sydney FC – 10:30pm PT / 1:30am ET – live on FSC
Dec. 17 – Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners – 12:45am PT / 3:45am ET
Dec. 17 – Perth Glory v Melbourne Heart – 1:00am PT / 4:00am ET
Dec. 17/18 – Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix – 10:00pm PT / 1:00am ET

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Graham Arnold and the Ajax of Australia

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In a weekend where the big news was Sydney putting an end to Brisbane’s mammoth unbeaten run the action was kicked off by the quietly achieving Central Coast Mariners. The Gosford-based club finished runner up by eight points last season and took the Roar all the way in the Grand Final, at one point 2-0 up before losing on penalties, and are currently three points behind the Queenslanders after nine games but have somehow managed to avoid the attention of the media despite playing a brand of football that competes very well with the famous ‘Roarcelona’.

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Brisbane Lose Again, This Time to Heart

germano

Brisbane Roar 1 – Melbourne Heart 2
Having avoided defeat in every match since September 2010, Brisbane Roar lost for the second consecutive game, and first time at home since January 2010. Heart have won two in a row and four of five to climb directly into the finals football discussion, reaching third place and fifteen points before the rest of the league plays this weekend. Jonathan Germano (pictured) was the catalyst in many ways, scoring the opening goal with his head and creating the second. Germano delivered a perfect cross in the 27th minute to Mate Dugandžić, who then squared for Eli Babalj to score the match-winner. Mitch Nichols did pull one back for the hosts in the 78th minute but Erik Paartalu could not keep his injury-time header below the crossbar as the Roar fell again. The absences of Thomas Broich and Henrique were obvious as Brisbane is finally showing a lack of depth. Meanwhile, they do remain atop the A-League ladder, but they can be caught on points by Central Coast Mariners this weekend.

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Paul Ifill to Stay with the Phoenix

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Striker Paul Ifill has committed at least two more years to Wellington Phoenix, finalizing a new deal on Thursday night. Though he has not been able to avoid injuries since his arrival in New Zealand two years ago, Ifill has often been the Phoenix’s top player. Supporters might worry that the 32-year old former Millwall stalwart might not last through the 2013/14 season, but the club seem confident that the creative forward will be able to compete at the highest level. On the same day the club cut ties with CEO Nathan Greenham, re-signing a key part of the team will help bridge what might continue to be a tricky change over in ownership and direction for the club. Ifill showed his worth upon returning from injury several weeks ago, scoring goals and giving Wellington a capable weapon at the top of their formation.

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Round 10 Fixtures in US Time Zones

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Dec. 9 – Brisbane Roar v Melbourne Heart – 1:00am PT / 4:00am ET
Dec. 9 – Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory – 8:00pm PT / 11:00pm ET – live on FSC
Dec. 9/10 – Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets – 10:30pm PT / 1:30am ET
Dec. 10 – Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United – 12:45am PT / 3:45am ET
Dec. 10/11 – Gold Coast United v Sydney FC – 10:00pm PT / 1:00am ET
Dec. 13/14 – Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar– 10:30pm PT / 1:30am ET – in Dunedin

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Golden Boot – Round 9

shane

Ryan Griffiths scored his second brace of the season to bring him onto this list, while Carlos Hernández and Shane Smeltz also moved up to five goals on the season. All three are now four behind Besart Berisha at the top of the ladder.

roarBesart Berisha – 9

perthShane Smeltz – 5

jetsRyan Griffiths – 5

mvfcCarlos Hernández – 5

gcuJames Brown – 4

roarHenrique – 4

sydNicky Carle – 4

heartMate Dugandžić – 4

ccmPatrick Zwaanswijk – 4

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Round 9 Highlights

Friday December 2:
Adelaide United 0 – Central Coast Mariners 4

Saturday December 3:
Perth Glory 2 – Gold Coast United 0

Newcastle Jets 3 – Melbourne Victory 1

Sunday December 4:
Melbourne Heart 1 – Wellington Phoenix 0

Sydney FC 2 – Brisbane Roar 0

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