Adam Taggart was the pick of Australia’s overseas stars this week, bagging himself a brilliant hat-trick to help Suwon Bluewings ease their relegation worries with a 3-1 win over rivals Seoul in the K-League.
The forward rekindled the kind of form that saw him end last season as the top scorer in Korean football, lashing home a brilliant left-footed volley on his way to a match-winning treble to help his side to a valuable win.
In Europe, meanwhile, Massimo Luongo took the plaudits despite Sheffield Wednesday going down 2-0 at Bristol City, while fellow Championship star Harry Souttar was handed a league debut for Stoke City.
And Red Star Belgrade defender Milos Degenek helped his side register a fourth clean sheet in five games, in what may be his final appearance for the club he’s supported since he was a boy.
Taggart on target
It’s hardly been the most memorable season for Adam Taggart at South Korea’s Suwon Bluewings.
After scoring a league-high 20 goals in 33 games last year, he’d managed a return of just five goals in 18 games this term before the start of play on Saturday.
But 90 minutes later, the former A-League Golden Boot winner had shown signs that he was back to his prolific best with an excellent hat-trick to seal a 3-1 win over Seoul.
Taggart, who missed a 2-1 loss against the same opponents earlier this month, buried the opener on 14 minutes, expertly turning and blasting a left-footed volley into the top right corner.
His second was slightly less glamourous, bundling home a cross from close range to restore Suwon’s lead, before he sealed the deal by tucking home a third in stoppage time. Compatriot Terry Antonis then replaced the match-winner with seconds remaining on the clock.
Taggart, who is widely expected to leave the club at the end of the year, played up the significance of the win after the game.
“It feels very good,” he said in an interview on Suwon Bluewing’s YouTube channel.
“Since I’ve come here I’ve known how long it’s been since we won against Seoul, so I just think it was such an important victory and I know much it means to everyone in and around the club.
"Couldn’t be happier to win and especially against Seoul.”
Praise for pair
Days after celebrating his 28th birthday, Massimo Luongo was praised for his display in Sheffield Wednesday’s 2-0 loss at Bristol City on Sunday.
The former Tottenham academy star put in a tireless shift in the Owls’ midfield and was given a nine-out-of-ten rating by Yorkshire Live.
“Absolutely outstanding in the midfield engine room,” wrote Yorkshire Live football writer Dom Howson. “Covered so much ground and gave the Owls real steel and aggression in the centre. Top performance.”
The loss was Wednesday’s first of the Championship season, however they remain bottom of the league due to a 12-point deduction imposed for breaching financial rules.
Ahead of them in the standings are Stoke City, who secured their first league win of the season in what was Harry Souttar’s Championship debut.
The 21-year-old, typically known for his aerial prowess, got a shout out from manager Michael O’Neill who reminded fans that the defender is no one-trick pony.
“Harry’s got a lot of attributes,” O’Neill said in his post-match conference.
“People obviously relate to his size and for him to win everything in the air but I thought he handled [Jayden] Stockley very well, who I thought committed a lot of fouls in the game that weren’t given.
“I thought Harry handled that well and what he also gives you is the ability to play as well. He can pass the ball. I was delighted with his performance.”
Ending on a high
Lifelong Red Star Belgrade fan Milos Degenek could be set to leave the club in the coming days.
Serbian website Mozzart Sport reported this week that the club has agreed to sell the defender to Gent, in Belgium, with the Serbian champions in need of cash after crashing out of the Champions League this month.
The move is touted to take place after Red Star’s Europa League tie with Armenia side Ararat on Thursday. Should that prove to be the case, Degenek made sure he would be leaving on a high having helped his side to yet another commanding display in its quest to win a fourth consecutive league title.
The no. 5 played the full game as Red Star racked up a 4-0 win over Mladost Lucani to making it nine wins from nine to open the Serbian Super League season, eclipsing the winning streaks that opened each of its previous three championship-winning seasons.
It also means that the league leaders have conceded just three times in those nine outings so far, with Degenek featuring in a backline that has leaked a solitary goal in its last five games.
Amidst the speculation surrounding his future, the Croatian-born Socceroo shared a rather cryptic message on social media after this weekend’s victory.
Rounding up the rest
- Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan was on the losing side, just, in a 3-2 classic against Manchester United on Saturday. The Seasiders had equalised in stoppage time, only for Bruno Fernandes to net a 100th-minute penalty awarded by VAR.
- Bailey Wright marshalled Sunderland’s defence in a 1-0 win over Peterborough, which moves the Black Cats up to fifth place in League One.
- Meanwhile, Hull City moved into the division’s top three as Callum Elder played 90 minutes at left-back in a 2-0 win at Northampton Town.
- Also in League One, Accrington Stanley’s Cameron Burgess was on the losing end of a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Oxford United. Ryan Williams played the last 19 minutes of Portsmouth’s 2-1 loss at home to Wigan Athletic. And Ryan Edwards played 86 minutes as Burton Albion went down 4-2 at Swindon Town.
- There were no wins for Aussie stars in England’s League Two. Thomas Beadling was booked in Barrow’s 1-1 draw with Colchester United, and Jack Iredale played the second-half as Cambridge United drew a blank at home to Tranmere Rovers.
- Harry Kewell’s Oldham Athletic side took the lead against Crawley Town but eventually lost 3-2 to their boss’ former employers. George Blackwood played the second half for the Latics.
- After a man-of-the-match display last week, Martin Boyle was left frustrated on Sunday as Hibernian failed to register a single shot on target in a 3-0 defeat at Scottish champions Celtic. Tom Rogic remained on the bench for the hosts.
- Aaron Mooy helped Shanghai SIPG extend their lead at the top of Group B in the Chinese Super League on Friday. A 1-0 win over second-place Beijing Guoan saw the leaders move seven points clear, with Mooy playing the full game.
- Awer Mabil was involved in the build-up to FC Midtjylland’s sixth-minute winner against Randers in Denmark. He teed up Nikolas Dyhr to cross for goalscorer Bozhidar Kraev after a smart run in behind the defence, before being subbed off eight minutes from time.
- A cameo appearance off the bench for Daniel Arzani at Utrecht produced an assist, with the winger setting up Sander van der Streek to seal a 3-1 win over RKC Waalwijk in the Eredivisie on Sunday.
- Trent Sainsbury’s debut for Belgian side Kortrijk didn’t end as he would’ve liked. With the scores level at 1-1, the 28-year-old put the ball past his own goalkeeper under pressure from Dieumerci Mbokani, as his side went down 3-1 to Royal Antwerp on Friday.
- Likewise, ex-Melbourne Victory star Thomas Deng will be disappointed after Urawa Red Diamonds’ 2-0 loss at home to Yokohama FC in the J-League. Deng was outdone by a smart ball from Leandro Domingues to play in Yusuke Matsuo to score the visitors’ second and was yellow carded shortly after.
- Goalkeeper Mitchel Langarak was minutes away from keeping a clean sheet for Nagoya Grampus against Shimizu S-Pulse, managed by Peter Cklamovski, in the J-League. He pulled off a brilliant save from distance in the 82nd minute but was beaten to a cross five minutes from time in his side’s 3-1 win.
- Ange Postecoglou coached Yokohama F Marinos to a fourth successive win in the J-League on Saturday. His side came back from a goal down to win 3-1 against Kashiwa Reysol and move into fifth place.
- Brad Jones sealed the bragging rights, and a place in the AFC Championship League quarter finals, as his Al Nassr side won 1-0 against Al Taawon, which featured Mitch Duke in the starting line-up.
- In Qatar, Shane Lowry came on for the final half-hour of Al Ahli’s 5-1 thrashing at Al Arabi on Friday. His team was already 4-1 down by the time he took to the field in their first Ooredoo Cup game of the season.
- James Jeggo played the second half of Aris’ 2-2 draw with PAS Giannina in the Greek Super League, helping the hosts complete a second-half turnaround after being 2-0 down at the break.
- Also in Greece, Apostolis Giannou made his OFI debut, coming on for the final moments of a 2-2 draw with Atromitos on Sunday.
- A 63rd-minute penalty was the only thing that stopped Lawrence Thomas from keeping a clean sheet as SønderjyskE saw off AaB Aalborg by three goals to one in the Danish Superliga on Sunday.
- James Holland played 86 minutes as his LASK side moved into the top three of Austria’s Bundesliga with a 3-1 win over Wolfsberger AC.
- Deni Juric was unable to find the target as Sibenik lost 1-0 at bottom of the table Istra 1961 in Croatia’s top-flight. His best chance came with just 14 seconds on the clock, but he poked wide from close range.
- Meanwhile, Anthony Kalik played the final 15 minutes of HNK Gorica’s 2-1 defeat at Osijek. Gorica equalised nine minutes after his introduction, only to concede a 97th-minute winner.
- Peter Makrillos played a full game as Mariehamn lost 2-0 against Finnish league leaders KUPS.
- Brandon Borello was subbed off at half-time in Fortuna Dusseldorf's 1-0 win over Wurzberger’s Kickers in Germany’s 2. Bundesliga.
- Meanwhile, Jacob Italiano scored two minutes after coming on for Borussia Monchengladbach II, before notching a second 13 minutes later against Wuppertaler on Saturday. Christian Theoharous also played the final eight minutes of the 5-1 win.
- And John Iredale scored the only goal of the game in Wolfsburg II’s win over Oldenburg in the Regionalliga on Saturday.
- Gabriel Cleur and Alberto Del Grosso were unused substitutes for Virtus Entella and Lecco respectively. The former drew 0-0 at Cosenza and Serie B while the latter won 1-0 at home to Giana Erminio in Serie C, where Nicholas Pennington featured in Olbia’s 1-0 loss to Pontedera.
- Jason Gibbs continues to terrorise defences in the Icelandic second division, notching his 21st goal in just 16 games this season. The former Western Sydney Wanderer put table-topping Keflavik 2-1 up on the way to a 3-1 win at Vestri on Friday.
- Nathan Orgill featured as Kolbotn pulled off a rapid recovery against title-chasing Rosenborg in Norway. The defender was subbed off in the 82nd minute, moments after his side had scored twice in three minutes to level the game at 2-2.
- Romanian second-tier side Comuna Recea beat high-flying Rapid Bucharest for their first win of the season with Ante Bakmaz playing the full game at right-back.
- Former Melbourne Victory youth skipper Luc Jeggo – brother of James – played 90 minutes as table-topping Bryne drew 1-1 at Baerm in Norway’s second division.
- In his ninth start of the USL Championship season, English-born Aussie Antonee Gilroy played a full game at right-back for Tacoma Defiance in their 3-1 defeat at Portland Timbers II.
- Ex-Manly United trainee Lachlan McLean was substituted in the final moments of Greenville Triumph’s 1-0 win over North Texas in League One of the USL. He has three goals from his 12 outings, including six substitute appearances, this term.
- Midfielder Daniel Wong remained on the bench as Beijing Renhe lost by a solitary goal Taizhou Yuanda in China’s League One.
- So too was Martin Lo was an unused substitute in Hai Phong’s 1-0 defeat at Da Nang in the Vietnamese top tier. His team now sit just a point clear of bottom place in the standings.
- 21-year-old Pierce Waring came on for the last five minutes of Cerezo Osaka U23’s 6-1 win over YSCC, lifting the youth side off the bottom of the Japanese third division.