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A-League Winners and Losers: Why Sydney FC have a reason to smile


Sydney FC were beaten 2-1 by Melbourne Victory in the Big Blue but there was plenty of positives to take out of the match,

Is Vedran Janjetovic's Wanderers career drawing to close?

All this and more in this week's edition of Winners and Losers.

Merrick's VAR nightmare continues


After he was on the wrong end of a VAR malfunction in last season's A-League grand final, Ernie Merrick's frustrations with the system have only continued this campaign.

Newcastle Jets failed to get the rub of the green on two occasions on Sunday against Perth Glory with Merrick accusing VAR of falling asleep in the aftermath.

"The guy in the VAR was having a cup of tea," Merrick said.

"He didn't have a chance to look at it. He probably fell asleep."

Read the full story here.

Wanderers book Y-League grand final spot courtesy of lightning strikes


A lack of blue skies cost Sydney FC dearly in their decisive Y-League clash with Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday.

Needing just a draw to secure their spot in the final, the Sky Blues opened the scoring before the Wanderers struck twice to take a 2-1 lead.

Chasing the game, Sydney FC's pursuit of an equaliser was cut short as lightning forced the game to be abandoned in the 87th minute. 

Under competition rules, the Wanderers 2-1 win was allowed to stand, in turn handing them a spot in the final at the expense of the Sky Blues.

Western Sydney will now face Brisbane Roar in the final on Friday looking to defend their title. 

Unpopular opinion: Graham Arnold hate taking away from Socceroos Asian Cup positives


Goal's Kieran Francis looks at the unfair backlash against Australian coach Graham Arnold following the team's Asian Cup quarter-final elimination by hosts UAE.

Click here to read why the positives have been overshadowed.

Mabil promises to stay strong for his family as football community shows their support


After the tragic death of his sister just hours before the Socceoros final match at the Asian Cup, Awer Mabil admits the support he's been shown is helping him stay strong.

Social media has seen a flood of support for Mabil with Sydney FC's Alanna Kennedy doing the Socceroos attacker's trademark celebration on Sunday to show her support.

The message was a touching one and Mabil responded to say the support is helping him through a very difficult period.

All our thoughts are with Mabil and his family during this time. 

Arnold linked to Hibernian job


Socceroos coach Graham Arnold is reportedly interested in replacing Neil Lennon at Hibernian.

The Scottish club look set to sack Lennon with a report suggesting Arnold could be keen for a shock return to club management. 

Check out the story here. 

Papadopoulos parts ways with Roar


Brisbane Roar have agreed to mutually terminate the contract of Greek defender Avram Papadopoulos.

The centre-back has been out injured since December and is reportedly close to sealing a return to former side Olympiacos.

Papadopoulos spent just under two years in the A-League with his time in the competition hampered by injuries and a seven-game suspension for spitting. 

Mariners not ready for next level, concedes Mulvey


After last-minute heartbreak against Adelaide United on Sunday, Central Coast Mariners coach Mike Mulvey has admitted his side isn't ready to compete with top teams just yet.

Having broken their over 300 day wait for an A-League win, the Mariners looked set for atleast a point against the Reds but conceded in injury time to surrender all three.

For Mulvey, the end result though disappointing, wasn't too surprising.

"We're playing a top-four team, should be in the top two," Mulvey said.

"They're a good side, they have got some very good players, and we took them all the way. So that gives us an indication of how far we are coming.

"But we're not ready for that next level right now, we haven't got that mental toughness to see out a game.

"We are going to have a couple of added players to the squad which will increase the depth and intensity at training and competition for places."

What went wrong for the Socceroos on the field during the Asian Cup


The Socceroos played what was probably their best performance in this year's Asian Cup, however it wasn't enough as a Milos Degenek error condemned the defending champions to defeat against the tournament hosts United Arab Emirates in a 1-0 loss.

Where did it go wrong and are there any positives to take forward for Australia from the tournament? 

Check out Shabab Hossain's tactical analysis here. 

Sunday A-League review


In a solid night of A-League action Adelaide United and Perth Glory both claimed crucial wins.

There was last-minute heartbreak for Central Coast Mariners, while Newcastle Jets' top-six hopes appear to be fading fast. 

Read the full review here. 

Sydney FC set for A-League first as FFA make fixture changes to support ACL campaigns


Football Federation Australia have made three fixture changes as they look to accomodate A-League club's Asian Champions League campaigns.

Three games in Round 22 have had their dates changed with one of those involving Sydney FC and Melbourne City also having its venue changed to Brookvale Oval.

The stadium relocation means the Sky Blues are set to host the first ever A-League game at Brookvale with the Mariners having a planned game at the venue in 2015 moved due to a poor surface. 

More fixture changes are possible should Newcastle Jets seal their place in the ACL group stages and join Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC in the competition.

"It is in all of our interests to see Australian clubs perform at their best in Asia’s premier club competition, the AFC Champions League,” FFA Head of Leagues Greg O’Rourke said.

"As we have done in previous years, we have built flexibility into the Hyundai A-League season draw to give the players the best opportunity to achieve success in both competitions by considering the rest period between their respective matches.

"We have therefore focused on providing at least one additional days rest between certain matches where the Australian clubs are either travelling to or from Asia, while ensuring the general integrity and commercial interests of the Hyundai A-League competition are not compromised."

Celtic, Manchester United circling young Aussie


Western Sydney young gun Stefan Nikolic is close to signing for Celtic amidst interest from Manchester United.

The Australian reporter Ray Gatt claims a deal is close for Nikolic, still just 15, to join the Hoops.

Nikolic, who currently plays for Blacktown City, scored a staggering 36 goals from 25 matches in the U15's NPL NSW Youth competition in 2018.

The young striker went even better the year before scoring 45 goals across 30 games in the U14's.

Nikolic was spotted having a medical with Celtic last year and now looks set to seal a deal with a club no stranger to Aussies.