The first round of the 2021-22 A-League Men's occurred this weekend with all twelve teams featuring.
The opening weekend of the A-League Men's 2021-22 campaign provided plenty of drama. While technical issues with Paramount+'s broadcasting and a last minute venue change put a damper the first round, the play gave a glimpse of an exciting season ahead.
Below is an overview of each of the six round one matches.
Round One Key Points
- Melbourne City and Central Coast Mariners tied in first place in the A-League Men's ladder.
- Eleven different players from nine teams found the back of the net.
- The weekend finished with three wins and three draws.
Melbourne City 2-1 Brisbane Roar
The opening match of the 2021-22 season was between the defending champions Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar. City proved to be the dominant side for most of the match, out possessing and out shooting their opponents.
They opened the scoring in the 40th minute when Curtis Good was able to convert a deflected shot from Roar keeper Macklin Freke. A second City goal came just three minutes later from Connor Metcalfe who made it 2-0.
Roar's Luke Ivanovic was able to get one for the visitors in the second half, heading in a wonderfully sent in curling ball from Jay O'Shea. Brisbane though they had equalized off another headed goal from an O'Shea kick nine minutes later, but it was ruled offside. The final score was 2-1 for City.
Western Sydney Wanderers 0-0 Sydney FC
The first match of Saturday, the Sydney derby, ended in a nil-nil draw in front of an impressive crowd of 23,118 people at the Western Sydney Stadium. Each side had several chances on goal with none coming to fruition.
That is because the plays of the match were provided by a number of impressive saves from both sides' goalkeepers. Tomás Mejías denied several Sydney chances including a diving stop in the 54th minute for Wanderers. The save of the game though from Sydney FC's goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne.
Late in second half new signing Wanderers new signing Jack Rodwell sent in a long range effort only to have the Sky Blues keeper Redmayne make a diving effort to stop the former Everton and Sunderland defender.
Western United 0-1 Melbourne Victory
Former Socceroos teammates John Aloisi and Tony Popovic saw their teams face off in the Battle of the Bridge on Saturday night. The win went to the elder manager. Popovic's Melbourne Victory won the match 1-0 from a second half goal from Roderick Miranda. The defender headed in the winner in the 75th minute off a Jack Brimmer corner.
Perth Glory 1-1 Adelaide United
The final Saturday match finished in a draw courtesy of two goals from United's Kusini Yang and Glory's Bruno Fornaroli. The latter goal, a long range strike from outside the box, was arguably the strike of the weekend.
While both goals occurred in the first half, spectators in Perth were treated to the hotly anticipated A-League debut of Daniel Sturridge. The English striker came on as a substitute in the 85th minute replacing goalscorer Fornaroli.
Newcastle Jets 1-2 Central Coast Mariners
The F3Derby saw a much more dominant Newcastle Jets loose to Central Coast Mariners who were able to capitalize on their opportunities.The first half of the match provided no goals.
Josh Nisbet was the player who broke the deadlock, opening the goalscoring in the 50th minute of play for Central Coast. His Costa Rican strike partner Marco Ureña provided a nicely timed pass for Nisbet to slot home.
Mariners then doubled their lead seven minutes later. A corner taken by Cy Goddard found the head of Jacob Farrell who headed it home. The 19-year old emerged from the crowd of players and connected with the ball to deflect it past keeper Jack Duncan.
Newcastle were next to score in the 78th minute. Substitute Valentino Yuel deflected in a ball from an Angus Thurgate cross to make it 2-1. The score did not change giving Mariners the three points.
Macarthur 1-1 Wellington Phoenix
The match had a venue change last minute after Campbelltown Stadium was deemed unplayable. The fixture was moved to McDonald Jones Stadium in what turned out to be a double header after the Jets-Mariners clash.
Drama opened in the 24th minute of the game when Wellington's Rene Piscopo was taken down by James Meredith. While the referee originally awarded a free-kick, a VAR review resulted in Phoenix receiving a penalty which Gary Hooper was able to convert.
Wellington were able to hold onto their lead into the second half. A corner converted by Lachlan Rose led to the Macarthur equalizer. The scoreline finished 1-1 and extended Wellington Phoenix's unbeaten streak to 12 consecutive matches.
The A-League Men's continues next weekend with six matches over three days. In the interim there are three midweek FFA Cup matches including a play-off match between Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory and a Sydney Derby between Sydney Olympic of Sydney FC.
The full A-League Men's schedule can be found using this link.