Wellington Phoenix Claims Victory Against Newcastle Jets

The Wellington Phoenix team continued with their incredible barnstorming finish in the A-League season where they dispatched the Newcastle Jets with a 4-1 victory following their phenomenal David Williams treble that occurred at Westpac Stadium.

Wellington Phoenix vs Newcastle Jets

Wellington Phoenix is currently chasing their first appearance in the finals in 4 years and have set their focus on overhauling either Melbourne or Sydney FC to qualify third and required a victory over the weekend to remain on track.

Although Wellington Phoenix missed Roy Krishna, the golden boot front runner for the year, the team needed Williams to make his mark during the match, and he immediately obliged where he combined effortlessly with Sarpreet Singh to make it through the defence of the Newcastle Jets in only 30 seconds after the game started.

The exceptional right-foot strike of Williams didn’t give Glen Moss, the goalkeeper for Newcastle Jets, any opportunities to stop the ball from hitting the back of the net. This is also Williams’ 9 goal of the season However, the striker, who is currently 31 years old, was far from done, even though Wellington Phoenix could only muster a 1-0 lead after halftime.

A penalty during the 60th minute provided Williams with his second goal followed by a remarkable curling effect during the 65th minute to give Williams his incredible hat-trick. During the 73rd minute, Singh managed to make it 4-1, allowing Wellington Phoenix to cruise through the rest of the match.

Wellington Phoenix is now eyeing the playoffs with more confidence than ever before as they managed to score a total of 15 goals in the past three matches.

Newcastle Jets’ Mistakes

The Newcastle Jets certainly had loads of opportunities during the first half of the match. They could level the score within 6 minutes after the start of the game. They almost scored an easy goal when Daniel Georgievski managed to break through on the left with plenty of room for Jair only for the striker to miss a beautiful sitter.

Both soccer teams played a very creative game, especially when you look at how dangerous Newcastle was with dead ball situations. However, the pace of Wellington in the middle kept the defence of the Jets stretched.

Goalkeepers Filip Kurto and Moss were both extremely busy during the match. Moss offered stunning diving save to stop the pile-driver from Max Burgess when 30 minutes were on the clock, while Kurto managed to punch the ball clear after a free kick was given to Dimitri Petratos.

The nail-biting action continued during the second half where Kurto managed to keep a clean sheet after an own-goal save during the 53rd minute. This occurred before Nigel Boogard, the skipper for the Jets, pulled Williams down while he was making a run for the goal. After this, a penalty was award to Wellington, allowing the team to retake the lead. Let’s hope their performance continues during the next matchup around the corner.

Australian U-23 National Team Impress Graham Arnold

The head coach for the Australian Under-23 national team, Graham Arnold, stated that his team could take loads of positives away from the friendly match against Petaling Jaya City FC. Jaya City is considered the top flight team in Malaysia, on Thursday evening, even though they suffered a 2-0 defeat.

Australia U-23 vs Petaling Jaya City FC

In overwhelming conditions in Shah Alam, a city close to Kuala Lumpur which is the capital of Malaysia, the youngsters of Australia were defeated on the scoreboard. However, this was not due to their balance of play while they contested in their first match aboard.

Graham Arnold stated that most of his players managed to lose between 4 and 5 kilograms during the match, giving you a clear picture of how intense the humid conditions in southeast Asia is. The Australian squad will now head to the Championship qualifiers for the 2020 AFC U-23 in Cambodia next week after suffering a 2-0 loss against the top-flight team in Malaysia.

“The match on Thursday against a senior top-flight team from Malaysia, as well as our week together as a team in Malaysia, was incredibly invaluable, especially for the qualifiers in Cambodia next week,” explained Arnold.

“For most of the players in the team. This week represented the first time that all of them have played together in southeast Asia. Therefore, adapting to the difficult conditions that they played in was paramount.

“We triumphed in several key areas during the match on Thursday and managed to hit the woodwork on multiple occasions. Giving us loads of positives to take from the defeat at the hands of Petaling Jaya City FC. Especially when you factor in the brief preparation that each player had over the last couple of weeks,” Graham stated.

Australia’s Next Fixture

Australia will participate in another friendly against the Malaysian U23 national team on Sunday evening before they shift to Phnom Penh the week after that. This is where three matches in 5 days patiently await the team.

In Phnom Penh, the Australian squad will play against Cambodia on 22 March 2019m Chinese Taipei on 24 March 2019, and the Korea Republic on 26 March 2019. Australia will be able to qualify for the AFC U-23 Championship in 2020 if they can finish first in Cambodia in Group H, or emerge as one of the 4 second-best squads during qualifying.

The second-placed 5th best team from the 11 AFC groups will also be able to qualify if Thailand. They managed to qualify automatically as the hosts of the tournament, finish as either runners-up or winners in Group K.

“We are regarded as one of the unseeded squads for this qualifying phase,” stated Arnold. “My Australian team is desperate to qualify for the AFC U-23 Championship in 202. Which will take place in Thailand and they are extremely determined to become the first team to qualify for the prestigious Olympic Games which hasn’t occurred since 2008. So, let’s hope they can achieve this goal this time around.”

Central Coast Mariners Are Looking for Another Coach

It was inevitable when Mike Mulvey was sacked recently given the way the A-League season has gone. However, the real problem lies more profound than most people think and only getting rid of yet another coach won’t fix it.

Sixth Coach in Five Seasons

The Central Coast Mariners are currently searching for their sixth head coach in five seasons after they decided to fire Mulvey after a horrifying 8-2 defeat against Wellington Phoenix. He was rather unlucky during the season. Especially when you take into account the departure of Ross McCormack, and Tommy Oar’s injury couldn’t be predicted either. However, regardless of these factors, Mulvey still managed to sign 17 players this season, and it’s safe to say that his recruitment failed.

The Central Coast Mariners are currently at the bottom of the log with only one win for the season, and their last two matches were genuinely embarrassing. Brisbane managed to score five goals against them, while Wellington scored a total of 8 goals, making it impossible for things not to change at the club.

However, the problem stems from the top. Mike Mulvey must have known when he decided to take the job that it was mostly a poisoned chalice. There needs to be a drastic change in culture at the club who was once one of the most elite teams in the country not too long ago.

Mike Charlesworth

Central Coast Mariners were considered one of the most stable teams in the tournament, only having two coaches in 9 years, including Graham Arnold and Lawrie McKinna. However, since then things have been a slippery slope, and it all took place once Mike Charlesworth made his entrance. This cannot be denied.

Charlesworth hasn’t been seen a great deal this season, and we don’t think he has a lot of love for the club, to be honest. He can do as he pleases and gets away with it quite quickly as the focus is on other crucial areas. However, its high time that he sits down and reads a book.

Club Lacks Quality

This will be the fifth devastating season for the Central Coast Mariners in a row, and something has got to give. You start feeling sorry for the people that work hard at the club, especially Shaun Mielekamp as the CEO along with his staff. However, you also have to question how and why this happens.

Stephen Mallon and Sam Graham were allowed to join the team recently from Sheffield United. Even though they are considered exceptional players, it’s not honestly the direction the club wants to go. Why sign players from other teams when the club struggles to develop their players? Football mentality certainly needs to return to the club as it lacks quality. It’s as simple as that. This is primarily caused due to a lack of spending.

Things are so bad at the club that even Pep Guardiola won’t be able to fix it!

The Search For a National Technical Director in Australia

When you visit the Football Federation Australia site and search for a vacant position, you will receive the famous 404 error message. When it comes to visual metaphors, an error message that relates to the destination on the official website of the governing body is nearly perfect, even by the standards of Australian football.

Ante Milicic did not recently fill the website page for that vacant position. Instead, it’s for the national technical director who is regarded as one of the most critical roles in football in any country around the world. Let alone in a glorious nation such as Australia. This is the role that still needs to be filled.

The Absence of National Technical Director

Eric Abrams made his departure in July 2018, and his replacement should have occurred in November of 2018. If a week is considered an eternity when it comes to football, what do 7 months make it? With Alen Stajcic’s dismissal and Milicic’s hire in mind, the absence of an Australian technical director could be conspicuous in a dissertation containing logic.

In the interim, the circumstances that led to the shocking sacking of Stajcic, conditions that will only be able to crystallise in court, also don’t make this point irrelevant or secondary. This essentially ties in with the outlook of the role surrounding the technical director position. Which for Abrams who recently departed, was whittled down to merely overseeing programs in football at the Maribyrnong and Westfield sports schools.

Apart from the Matildas, the Socceroos are also quite relevant to this discussion. In the past year and a half, it must be said that the governing body of Australian football has pushed out and hired brand-new coaches for both these team. Without the vital input of professional organisation. There’s no denying that the professional body is of paramount importance.

It is disregarding the Graham Arnold idea as head coach after Ange Postecoglou. The FFA looked for external consultancy during the hiring process which is a clear sign of just how insignificant the role of Abrams was. This is an instance and task that falls under the role of national technical director as well as head of national performance. It’s a position that was installed by the FFA in 2013. However, it’s a role that is still ignored to this day.

Is Milicic Adequate?

Officials, coaches, and players come and go in the world of football, and now the female national team of Australia needs to move on with Milicic. However, is he adequate?

There have been loads of reports that he lacks experience when it comes to women’s football. Although he has experience in youth football, it still raises plenty of doubt when it comes to his capabilities as a head coach. With no technical director at the helm, it also makes things quite tricky for the teams to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar in a few years.

What Will Happen To Sydney FC Once Milos Ninkovic Leaves?

Milos Ninkovic is considered the man who managed to change the Sydney Football Club since he joined the team in early 2015. Since he joined the prestigious club, he assisted and scored on countless occasions, but more importantly, has been the influence and face of Sydney FC several times during crucial matches. He is someone that you can always rely on during crucial games and never fails to impress both the fans and his team although he hasn’t scored as much as Filip Holosko, Adrian Mierzejewski, or other players on the field. He has always managed to be there for his club which is far more important than scoring goals. Ninkovic has raised the bar at Sydney FC and claimed a couple of trophies in the process.

Milos Ninkovic As a Player

Milos Ninkovic has always been considered the star of Sydney FC. In 2018, when Adrian Mierzejewski was experiencing the best season of his career, instead of feeling disappointed or getting angry, he merely changed how own playing style. He managed to become a deep playmaker where he cut inside and played a direct pass or through ball to another player who had the potential to claim glory on the field.

Even though he never registered a lot of goals or assists, the number of secondary assists or plays he created was staggering. Unfortunately for him, there wasn’t a lot of people that noticed this unless they looked at him intimately through his footballing career. Those that are aware of his skills and abilities genuinely like him as a footballer — both off and on the field. There aren’t loads of players that could, after having such an incredible season, make way for a brand-new important which took away his spotlight.

The previous season was a completely different ballgame for Ninkovic. He was the person that made headlines. After every match, the newspapers were filled with reports surrounding him, mainly because he earned every one of them. He was making considerable contributions to his team in every game, whether it was a fantastic dribble, assisting, or even scoring a goal. He managed to place the league on a new level and was rewarded for his efforts too.

Ninkovic Leaving Sydney FC

Once Ninkovic leaves his current football team, there will be a lot of changes. The club won’t have two midfielders to attack with. Although it’s quite common in the A-League where teams only have one midfielder to attack. Sydney has been relying on two midfielders for attacking which is going to be a massive change. Another aspect that will change is their style of play. Sydney used to play the ball deep, but without Ninkovic, the striker will need to step in going forward. Sydney will also start relying on defensive midfielders to play the football up. Let’s see if they can make these changes going forward and with success in the process.

Rhyan Grant Inks New Three Year Contract

Rhyan Grant, the longest serving player for the Sydney Football Club, has recently inked a new three-year contract. It will keep him in Sydney until the end of the A-League during the 2021/22 season. Rhyan Grant, who has recently returned back home after appearing in the Socceroos squad in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, already has more than a decade of experience with Sydney FC.

Rhyan Grant’s Career at Sydney FC.

Rhyan Grant joined the Sydney Football Club when he was just 17 years old as a youth team player during September 2008. He made his senior debut for Sydney in December of the same year. Since he joined the club, he has managed a total of 179 appearances in every competition for Sydney FC. He has scored a total of 9 goals which included the equaliser during the A-League Grand Final in 2017.

“It feels fantastic to know that I have another three years to look forward to at Sydney FC,” stated Grant. “I’ve been playing for Sydney FC for a decade so the club certainly feels like home for me where I am extremely comfortable as well. I want to be apart of the most ambitious club and the best club in Australia going forward. Therefore, it’s the main reason why I decided to stay with Sydney FC. They are simply the best at the moment and I would like to keep it that way.”

“We’ve been extremely successful over the last few years and I want to improve on that by winning every competition we participate in,” Grant continued. “I have quite a few excellent relationships with loads of members that I’ve come to know rather well over the years which includes The Cove. They have had a massive impact on the decision-making process which also made it a lot easier for me.”

Comments from Steve Corica as Head Coach

Steve Corica, head coach for Sydney FC, praised Grant’s contribution over the last 10 years and is looking forward to seeing more while the defender remains part of his team.

“It’s fantastic that Grant decided to re-sign another contract with Sydney FC. He has been a phenomenal servant for the club, displaying real loyalty while maintaining a professional level throughout his career with the club. He deserved his opportunity to play for the Australian national team and did a marvellous job in the process, so we are extremely pleased that he is staying with us for another three years at least.”

“He’s been remarkable at the club, a fantastic guy to work with, filled with loads of energy. He is one of the most experienced players on the team that also leads by example and that’s exactly what we stand for at the club when it comes to our culture and our beliefs. Grant is a crucial player to the success of the team in the future and we are overjoyed that he will be part of it.”

Jamie Maclaren Signs Contract With Melbourne City

The urge to play under the City Football Group, along with the lure of family, allowed Jamie Maclaren to clinch a return to the prestigious A-League after signing a contract with Melbourne City. The Socceroos striker, who is currently 25 years old, inked a long-term contract that will elevate him to marquee during the next season. He that he was extremely flattered by Melbourne City’s contract offer to enjoy the game in his home town. Furthermore, he stated that he merely wants to enjoy the game of football again.

Jamie Maclaren As A Footballer

Since he decided to leave Brisbane Roar following an impressive 20-goal season at the end of 2017, the footballer from Melbourne has experienced half-starts while playing for the German football club Darmstadt at his Scottish home Hibernian. With Neil Lennon recently sacked by Hibernian within the last week, Maclaren decided to avoid his second adventure overseas and instead made a journey back home.

This has attracted criticism from both commentators and beloved fans around the world who all believe that he should have stayed in Europe and stuck it out. However, Maclaren has given both fans and commentators short explanation.

Jamie Maclaren’s Comments On His Deal

“I initially left home when I was only 15 years old and haven’t lived with my family for more than 11 years,” Maclaren stated. “Although the journey hasn’t been an easy one, I still enjoyed the journey and wouldn’t change it for anything. I’ve managed to see Germany, Brisbane, and Perth during my adventures. Even though I’m 25 at the moment, I’ve heard and seen enough fans that criticise my choices.”

He lamented that, “While they are looking out for themselves, I am doing exactly the same by looking out for myself. Melbourne City provided a phenomenal deal, and I’ve always had the urge to play for Melbourne since I was a kid and it’s always been one of my biggest dreams to enjoy the game in front of my family. Most people believe that Europe is considered the holy grail when it comes to football. However, I believe that playing football on any level is fantastic.”

Maclaren’s sister, who currently works for Melbourne Victory, is expecting for the first time and is due to in July to give birth. “Is it really worth missing out on such an experience?” Maclaren stated. Once the opportunity presented itself to play at home for Melbourne City, I had to take it cause it won’t happen again if I don’t.”

Melbourne City has one request from Maclaren to get a return on their latest investment, and that’s scoring goals. However, Maclaren is quite confident that he can deliver what is required. “Melbourne City merely wants a decent striker that will hang around the 18-yard box and successfully provide the crosses to accumulate goals,” Maclaren stated. “That’s exactly what I do and I cannot wait to show Melbourne City what I’m made of.”

Australia’s Exit in the Asian Cup

The Socceroos and Graham Arnold have suffered a severe sucker-punch from UAE following a devastating quarter-final exit at the Asian Cup. However, the coach for the Australian soccer team has praised his side’s performance in the tournament.

Arnold’s men suffered a horrifying sucker-punch at the hands of the UAE where Milos Degenek’s awful second-half mistake gifted the Emiratis with the only goal in the 1-0 defeat on Saturday.

Australia will now be making their way home to start preparing for the qualifying round of the World Cup in 2022 that begins later this year, while the host nation will make their way to Abu Dhabi to face Qatar in the semi-finals on Tuesday.

The Unfortunate Match That Ended Australia

There appeared to be little danger in the game when Degenek tried a back pass to Mat Ryan during the 68th minute of the match where Australia had more ball possession than the UAE. However, Degenek’s pass was too short and Ali Mabkhout, the striker for UAE, managed to nip in ahead of Mat Ryan to obtain the ball and score a goal into the empty net.

Ali Mabkhout’s goal was essentially a double blow for the Socceroos after Australia was under the impression that they took the lead when Apostolos Giannou found the net after he combined with Mathew Leckie. However, Leckie was offside which meant the goal scored by Giannou was ruled out.

Despite the horrible defeat at the hands of the UAE, Graham Arnold was still filled with praise for his side who managed to overcome pre-tournament injuries to Martin Boyle, Daniel Arzani, and Aaron Mooy to reach the final 8.

Graham Arnold’s Comments on the Match

“Soccer can be a devastating sport. It’s possibly the only sport across the globe where you can control possession and even though your side spends most of the time in the oppositions half, you can still lose,” Graham Arnold stated after the match.

“I believe we achieved quite a lot in this tournament. My entire frontline during the first 3 matches had less than 10 matches between the three of them. A handful of players that were taken from the A-League managed to step up quite a bit during the tournament, including Chris Ikonomidis and Rhyan Grant who haven’t played here before. I’m extremely proud of my side. They managed to give everything they had, and that’s all I actually wanted from them.”

Following a frustrating display during the round of 16 against Uzbekistan that managed to go to penalties after 120 minutes where no one scored a goal, the Socceroos started brightly at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium that was fully packed.

Since Tom Rogic was suspended after a harsh booking during their match against Uzbekistan, the head coach had to make changes to his formation and selected Jamie Maclaren alongside Giannou with Robbie Kruse claiming a recall for a line-up on the left.

Now that Australia is out of the tournament let’s see if they can qualify for the World Cup in 2022.

Key Facts Ahead of Australia vs. UAE in the Quarterfinal of the Asian Cup

The last quarterfinal fixture of the 2019 Asian Cup on Thursday will see Australia, who are currently the defending champions, take on the United Arab Emirates, who is playing host for the Asian Cup this year.

Despite advancing to the quarterfinals, the Socceroos haven’t displayed any skills or abilities to showcase that they are indeed the defending champions at the moment. And facing the UAE – who will definitely receive backup on home soil thanks to their fans – the Socceroos need to make sure that they are ready for business when this match gets underway.

On the other hand, the UAE will need to freely express themselves without being affected by the desire for revenge or the weight of expectations being the host country. As we head into the heavyweight match, let’s take a closer look and the key facts and stats surrounding this important game.

Semi-final Jinx

The host country of two of the last three Asian Cup campaigns hasn’t managed to appear in the semi-finals, with the Socceroos being the exception in 2015 when they managed to win the tournament at the end. However, there’s not one ASEAN country during the 2007 campaign, or Qatar during the 2011 campaign that managed to make it to the semi-finals while playing on home soil.

Australia Attempts to Right a Wrong

For some reason, reigning champions don’t seem to perform all too well during the following edition of the Asian Cup campaign of late, with both Japan in 2015 and Iraq in 2011 stumbling when they reached the quarterfinal stage. The last time this occurred was in 2007 when Japan advanced to the quarterfinal stage after winning the tournament four years before that. With a win over Syria, the Socceroos can finally eliminate that trend as they managed to get a spot in the semi-finals this year.

A Thrilling Match Awaits

The match between Australia – who are considered a persistent attacking team – and the UAE, will undoubtedly be a high-scoring game if you look at the UAE’s propensity to both concede and score freely. The UAE will head into this game having conceded and scored in four of the last five Asian Cup matches, with the exception of their 2-0 victory over India. Even in the game against India, the UAE was extremely fortunate not to concede as the Indian side had far more chances in the match.

Australia Needs To Rectify Their Attack

Even though they are the defending champions at the moment, the Socceroos have fired several blanks in two of their last four matches in the Asian Cup so far. Jamie Maclaren, who is Australia’s first choice when it comes to playing forward, seriously needs to pick up his game, especially due to the fact that Tom Rogic will not be in the squad against the UAE as he is currently suspended. However, the return of Mathew Leckie will be a good sign for the Australian head coach before the match gets underway.

Australia Advance to Knockout Stage in the Asian Cup

Tom Rogic, who managed to score during injury time, earned the Socceroos a sensational 3-2 victory against Syria as well as a place in the AFC Asian Cup knockout stages during their match last week Tuesday at the Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium.

The Celtic midfielder managed to strike the ball from 25 yards away to finally destroy a Syrian side that was extremely determined to win and secure a crucial point for their team to advance to the next phase.

However, Rogic’s stunning goal only managed to ensure that the Socceroos progress to the next phase in Group B and eliminated Syria from the tournament after they finished at the bottom of Group B following Palestine who managed to score a point after their clash against Jordan.

Syria seemed that they would earn a much-needed draw after coming from behind twice to level with Australia, where Khrbin managed to cancel out Mabil’s goal and Al Soma netting a goal from a penalty after Ikonomidis placed Australia in the lead.

Australia vs Syria

Syria had a far better first half than Australia when Al Soma gave the Socceroos a huge fright after 12 minutes into the game when he managed to head over. Just a few seconds later a shot from Khrbin went across the goal after Mat Ryan couldn’t clear it properly which allowed the ball to end up at the feet of the former Player of the Year in the Asian Cup.

Australia struggled to deal with the Syrians intensity, and towards the end of the first half, Syria was under the impression that they took the lead when the free-kick from Al Ajaan found its way past Mat Ryan. However, the referee ruled it ours on a foul.

The referee’s decision provided a huge boost for Australia where two attempts were blocked by the Syrian goalie. Meanwhile, Mabil’s efforts were also blocked by the Australian goalie.

During the 41st minute, Mabil managed to decrease the pressure by curling a perfect left foot strike which arched into the right post of the goal. However, Australia’s lead only lasted for two minutes as Al Ajaan provided the perfect cross to Khrbin who headed the ball into the net. Although Ryan made an impressive save, it still allowed Khrbin to convert the rebound.

Australia managed to score within the first 9 minutes of the second half thanks to Rogic’s phenomenal cross to Ikonomidis who managed to drive the ball over the line. Although Syria through it wasn’t in, the referee still awarded the goal. With 15 minutes remaining, Syria managed to equalise the game, making the match even more dramatic than before. However, during injury time, Australia provided the perfect lead when Rogic scored a remarkable goal from 25 yards away to seal their victory.

Australia is set to face Uzbekistan this week during the knockout stages of the Asian Cup. Let’s hope they can perform here as well to further advance in this tournament.