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A-League winners and losers: A 'Messi-like' performance as Roar go quiet

02:32 SAST 2018/12/24
Aloisi/Singh split
Two derbies made for a massive weekend of A-League

The round might not be finished just yet, but the weekend's A-League action served up a number of notable winners and losers.

From Sydney FC coach Steve Corica stepping up to knock down Tony Popovic's Perth Glory, to Melbourne Victory's questionable handling of Keisuke Honda's absence, the weekend was an eventuful one.

Read on to see who were our winners and losers...

  • Steve Corica Sydney FC 2018

    Winner: Steve Corica

    Attempting to step out of Graham Arnold's shadow was never going to be easy, but Steve Corica has made some big progress over the past fortnight.

    A rather fortunate Sydney derby win kept the critics at bay last week, while the Sky Blues 2-1 win over Perth Glory on Friday deserves praise.

    A trip to Western Australia is never easy and against a side yet to lose this season, Corica set his team up right as they allowed Glory to edge possession rather than see his side punished on the counter.

    Popovic perhaps showed his hand the week prior against Newcastle Jets allowing them to issue 22 shots to his side's four, yet still walk away 2-0 winners. 

    Sydney FC weren't going to be lured into the same trap and with Perth missing a play maker like Diego Castro, they struggled to carve out any clear chances until late in the game. 

    While the last-minute drama has overshadowed Corica's win, the style of the victory should give Sky Blues' fans some optimism as they continued their incredible nine-game winning streak against Glory. 

  • Adam Taggart Brisbane Roar

    Loser: Adam Taggart

    Always a long shot to be named in the Socceroos Asian Cup squad, Adam Taggart showed why he's still got some work to do before pulling on the green and gold again against Wellington Phoenix on Saturday.

    The Brisbane Roar striker spurned two golden chances in the match with a shocking touch twice denying him the opportunity to test the keeper. 

    Against a well-organised Nix side, those two moments were costly as Brisbane slumped to a 4-1 defeat - their fourth in a row.

    While Taggart has continued to get himself into good positions this season, his lethal touch in front of goal has seemingly deserted him and with it his chances of a Socceroos recall.

    Under John Aloisi, you'd expect Taggart to rediscover his edge but with the side struggling, that might not happen quite as quickly as the striker would have been hoping for. 

  • Sarpreet Singh Wellington

    Winner: Sarpreet Singh

    With Taggart struggling at one end, young gun Sarpreet Singh was shining up the other for Wellington. 

    A driving force throughout for the Nix - Singh bagged himself a goal, an assist and finished the match with a game-high five shots.

    "He was like Messi," Daniel McBreen said on Fox Sports' Sunday Shootout.

    "He was unbelievable, he's playing with confidence now. He has the ability and pace to really cause some damage."

    The 19 year old broke out last season for the Nix and looks set to really star under Mark Rudan this campaign. 

  • Honda/Toivonen Melbourne Victory

    Loser: Melbourne Victory

    A last-minute City equaliser might have felt like a loss, but Victory's loser status this weekend comes courtesy of how they delivered news of Keisuke Honda's absence from the match.

    Described by the club as a precautionary withdrawal when the line-ups were revealed, Victory may have been in their right to hide the fact until the last minute but more transparency with the news is a must in this age of information.

    When it comes to a star like Honda, the club can't just simply sweep the overwhelming interest in him under the rug when it suits them.

    Muscat's brisk half-time interview with Fox Sports for example made for uncomfortable viewing and underlined their unnecessarily stubborn approach to the situation. The broadcaster are afterall covering some of his costs this season! 

  • AAMI Park/Victory fans

    Winner: AAMI Park

    When half full and littered with seagulls, AAMI Park is an A-League joke but when filled with fans for a Melbourne derby it transforms into a thing of beauty.

    That was the case again on Saturday with a sell-out crowd of 24,306 turning the stadium into a perfect venue for football.

    With the Melburnians retiring, both sets of fans stepped up their support and created a perfect derby atmosphere. 

    While neither team won on the night, it's safe to say the spectacle itself once again walked away a winner. 

    With Western Melbourne joining the A-League next season, it'll be interesting to see how the derby changes in years to come. 

  • Tom Hiariej Central Coast Mariners

    Loser: Central Coast Mariners

    I really didn't want to put the Mariners here again this week, but there's no escaping the fact they are in one hell of a losing slump.

    A 2-1 defeat to Newcastle Jets on Sunday made it seven losses in a row for Mike Mulvey and has seen the club win just one of their past 27 A-League matches.

    Already nine points shy of the top six, Central Coast's season appears over before it even began, though Mulvey isn't losing hope just yet.

    "If we look at the table - which everyone has the right to do in the game - they say hapless Mariners, on two points, write off the season," Mulvey said.

    "We're not writing off the season. It is a cruel game at times and we were dealt a cruel blow.

    "We'll wear it. We've got to be good enough to fix it. That's the end of the story."

    As it stands however, the story looks set for an unhappy ending for all involved if they can't shake this loser tag soon.