Two Socceroos put aside recent transfer talk to help their sides cruise to victory, while another continued his red-hot goal-scoring streak in a packed weekend of overseas action.
Mat Ryan, at Brighton, and Mathew Leckie, with Hertha Berlin, have both been linked with transfers in recent weeks and months, but speculation took a back seat this weekend as the pair played a part in winning outings.
Ryan kept yet another clean sheet against Newcastle United as the Seasiders coasted to a 3-0 win at St James’ Park, and Leckie came off the bench to notch his second assist in as many games.
Meanwhile, in Israel, Maccabi Haifa’s Nikita Rukavytsya netted yet again – this time bagging the winner in Friday’s Europa League clash with Kairat.
There were also starring performances for the likes of Hibernian winger Martin Boyle against Scottish table-topping Rangers, while the younger of the Juric brothers nabbed his first goal in Croatia’s top tier.
Clean sheet king
Mat Ryan enjoyed one of his easiest weekends in recent memory against Newcastle.
The home side waited until the 40th minute before registering their first attempt at goal and was unable to muster a single shot on target during the entire 90 minutes.
It means the Aussie stopper, linked with a move away from the club amid its alleged interest in ex-Arsenal man Emiliano Martinez, now has six clean sheets from his seven Premier League games against the Magpies.
That equates to almost a quarter of his total shutouts registered in England’s top tier (26 in 112 games).
The UK government recently advised against travel to England’s north-east amid the coronavirus pandemic, prompting this gem of a Tweet from Daily Mail reporter Craig Hope, among others.
The government have advised against needless journeys. Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan has travelled 350 miles to Newcastle today for absolutely no reason. #nufc— Craig Hope (@CraigHope_DM) September 20, 2020
Back in May, Mathew Leckie went on record saying he was looking to leave Hertha Berlin after finding himself frozen out in the German capital.
But having featured in the club’s pre-season games, the Melburnian has started the new campaign with two assists from the opening two games.
Leckie started in the 5-4 cup loss to Eintracht Braunschweig last week, and on Saturday teed up a teammate for the second game in a row, this time coming off the bench in the Bundesliga opener against Werder Bremen on Saturday.
His smart pass with the outside of his boot put Jhon Cordoba through to score on debut, wrapping up a 4-1 win for the Berliners.
Elsewhere in Germany, Brandon Borello debuted in Fortuna Dusseldorf’s 2-1 loss to Hamburg, and John Iredale struck a brace for Wolfsburg II against Hannover in the Regionalliga Sud.
Iredale, 21, has spent almost a year on the sidelines due to a foot injury and the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, but now has three goals in two games since getting back on the field.
Nikita Rukavytsya’s strong start to the season continued with a 72nd-minute winner in Friday night’s Europa League clash with Kazakh side Kairat.
The Ukrainian-born Socceroo booked Maccabi Haifa’s spot in the next round of the competition with a well-taken strike into the top corner.
Rukavytsya now has six goals already this season – two in continental competition and four from a pair of league outings.
The forward finished with 22 league goals last time out – nine clear of the division’s next highest marksman – and is joint top of the scoring charts this time.
Maccabi Haifa, meanwhile, is now joint top of the league standings also.
Rounding up the rest
- Aaron Mooy played the second-half of Shanghai SIPG’s 3-2 cup win over Chongqing Dangdai Lifan as his bid to improve his fitness continues after his big-money move to China
- Hibernian ended Rangers’ run of seven games without conceding thanks to in part to Scottish-born Socceroo Martin Boyle. His crosses provided both goals in a 2-2 home draw.
- Elsewhere in Scotland, Tom Rogic remained an unused substitute in Celtic’s 3-2 win over Livingston.
- Deni Juric scored his first goal in Croatia’s top-flight after his July switch to newly promoted Sibenik. The Sydneysider, who managed nine goals in 15 games in the second-tier last year, was on target in his new side’s 3-2 win over Lokomotiva Zagreb.
- His brother Tomi, meanwhile, came off the bench for CSKA Sofia just seconds before they conceded an 83rd-minute leveler at home to Ludogorets in Bulgaria.
- Daniel Arzani made his league debut for FC Utrecht in a 1-1 draw at VVV Venlo, coming off the bench for the final 22 minutes. Also in the Netherlands, Ajdin Hrustic started his first league game of the season, playing 83 minutes of Groningen’s 1-0 win at ADO Den Hag.
- Midfielder James Jeggo was booked in the second minute but helped Aris move top of the Greek Super League with a 1-0 victory over Volos NFC.
- Suwon Bluewings pair Terry Antonis and Adam Taggart both played in the 2-1 win over Gangwon in the K-League. Antonis played 62 minutes while Taggart came on at half-time as the visitors completed a second-half turnaround.
- Massimo Luongo was booked in Sheffield Wednesday’s goalless stalemate at home to recently relegated Watford in the Championship.
- Bailey Wright helped Sunderland keep their first clean sheet of the League One campaign in a 2-0 win at Oxford United. He also came close to bagging his first goal for the club, hitting the crossbar early on with a looping header.