sky blue humiliation another late glory show can vuck play the finale?
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Melbourne Victory moved within six points of the top six, there was late drama in the Hunter and Wellington was taught a lesson by rampant Adelaide, but the biggest story of the round was the Wanderers’ demolition job of the Sydney Derby on Saturday. There’s a lot to discuss, so let’s get started.
Here are your A-League Round 21 talking points.
West Sydney put their rivals to the sword in a terrible night for Sky Blues fans
Sydney FC’s return to Moore Park has been rocky (to say the least) but ahead of Saturday night there was nothing quite as egregious for the club as the derby’s 4-0 humiliation at the hands of their urban rivals.
From the first minute, Steve Corica’s line-up, unchanged since the Wellington Phoenix defeat, looked bland, disorganized and frankly disinterested. Goals within the first 20 minutes from Kusini Yengi and mid-season signing Amor Layouni gave Western Sydney complete control of the derby before Sydney was eliminated by Calem Nieuwenhof with a fantastic shot from outside the box to make it 3-0.
To add salt to the wound, club legend Milos Ninkovic, who also left in acrimonious circumstances last season’s suspension, provided the template for The Hof’s rocket.
It was the Wanderers’ greatest lead in derby history and the first time they had scored four goals in one game. It is now the business end of the season and Marko Rudan’s men will be playing finals football for the first time since the 2016-17 season – yes, it really has been that long – and will most likely secure a top-four finish.
Bimbi’s time is surely up now. There have been many innuendoes from supporters and journalists, but this has to be the last nail in the coffin.
Finally, kudos to referee Alireza Faghani before the derby for keeping any overflowing testosterone in check.
Can Victory get the six and what does that mean for Poppa?
It feels odd to write that subtitle after the Vuck’s miserable season, but with a 2-0 win over the Central Coast Mariners they are now within striking distance of sixth-placed Sydney. A lot still has to add up for the Tony Popovic-led side – including the results of some other sides – but the race for a place in the top six will certainly be an interesting way to end the season.
I wonder what the next six games (Victory and City are yet to finish the aborted Melbourne Derby) will mean for Popovic’s future at the top job.
Are there any plans to sack him no matter what from now on or can a miraculous run into the playoffs save the former Socceroo from poverty? Since this is a squad that came out of a regular season in second place, it should have easily finished in the top four, if not more.
Glory refuses to lie down as Newcastle’s poor run continues
For the second week in a row, Perth managed to score in added time, this time reclaiming a point at the McDonald Jones Stadium. I don’t know what this brave side is all about, whose realistic goal was certainly just avoiding 12th place in 2022/23, but they just keep fighting and rookie boss Ruben Zadkovich got maximum effort out of his charges and extract energy.
There really isn’t much to say about the Jets. Should they have finished the game or did they get what they deserved?
I think Arthur Papas is a good manager but he should really get more out of this team. While it’s not the flashiest squad, it’s better than the results would tell you.
APL come to their senses at prime time on Sunday
On another sweltering day in the port city, a 3pm kick-off for Melbourne City’s visit to the highly regarded Campbelltown Stadium would have been an absolute disaster. Thankfully, however, those in power saw the light and scheduled a 7pm launch from south-west Sydney.
The spoils were shared between City and Macarthur, although the league leaders felt a little unlucky after seeing two penalty decisions overturned by VAR.
https://www.theroar.com.au/2023/03/19/a-league-round-21-talking-points-sky-blue-humiliation-another-glory-late-show-can-vuck-play-finals/ sky blue humiliation another late glory show can vuck play the finale?