Melbourne Victory 3 – Gold Coast United 2
Two goals up after 22 minutes, Melbourne Victory had Rody Vargas sent off, conceded twice and needed a header from Carlos Hernández, of all people, to emerge with a 3-2 win over Gold Coast United at AAMI Park. Playing their first game of the season at AAMI, the Victory looked to have the match wrapped after a first minute penalty was converted by Harry Kewell and a 22nd minute spot kick was scored by Hernández. But Vargas went in on Gol-Gol Mebrahtu with two feet and with studs up, earning a straight red card in the 33rd minute. Mebrahtu won a penalty just before half-time, which was scored by substitute Dylan Macallister, bringing the visitors back into the game. Peter Jungschläger brought further intrigue when he scored just two minutes after the break to level the score and bring reminders of the Victory’s lost two-goal lead just a week earlier. But Hernández headed in an Archie Thompson chip in the 79th minute to finally secure all three points for the home side. Kristian Rees did keep it interesting to the end, hitting the post, just as Jonas Salley had done in the first half, but it was not to be for the A-League’s bottom side. Melbourne jump all the way to third place with the three points, clearing Sydney FC on goal difference.
Wellington Phoenix 2 – Sydney FC 1
Speaking of Sydney, they were the lesser side for the majority of their match away to Wellington, dropping a 2-1 decision to the Phoenix at Westpac Stadium. Though the crowds did not turn out as they’d done in Auckland last weekend, the Yellow Fever were treated to an early goal from the spectacular Paul Ifill and and stunning goal from Tim Brown. The latter will surely be atop the list for Goal of the Year in the A-League as the midfielder slipped around Nicky Carle to claim Liam Reddy’s clearance before lobbing the helpless keeper from nearly fifty yards. That 59th minute goal was vital as a weird goal from Bruno Cazarine pulled one back for the visitors in the 70th minute. Yet the Phoenix were able to hold on with Mirjan Pavlović playing a key role in continuing the home side’s pressure to the end. Gathering full points from a top three (at the time) club was a good win for Wellington and lifts them to eighth place, just a point out of finals football and just two points shy of third place. Sydney had two shouts for penalties in the match, finally do not get a late equalizer or winner and sink to fourth place, now behind Melbourne Victory on goal difference.