Overseas Aussies were back amongst the goals this weekend, with a number of Socceroos getting off the mark for their new clubs.
Adam Taggart bagged his ninth goal of the season, converting a 19th-minute penalty in what proved to be the winner for Suwon Bluewings in South Korea.
And after Sunderland’s Bailey Wright bagged his first goal for the club in midweek, Craig Goodwin and Riley McGree matched that feat for their new sides.
Goodwin scored a vital goal in Abha Club’s 3-2 victory over Al Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia’s Pro League, securing his new club a first win of the campaign.
McGree, meanwhile, who only joined Birmingham City on loan a few weeks ago, is already making himself right at home by opening his account for the Midlanders in a 2-1 win over QPR in the Championship.
There were also goals for Ante Bakmaz in Romania’s second tier and Nicholas Olsen in Kuwait.
A winning end
Suwon Bluewings signed off an abridged K League season in winning style, overcoming Gangwon with an Adam Taggart penalty proving the difference.
The Bluewings had gone ahead after just seven minutes through Canadian Doneil Henry, before a handball decision gifted the visitors the chance to double their lead from the spot.
Taggart made no mistake, converting his ninth goal in 23 games and his first since a hat-trick against FC Seoul five weeks ago.
Gangwon scored a second-half consolation goal, but it wasn’t enough to stop Suwon claiming a 2-1 win to end the season six points clear of relegation from the K League, which wraps up after just 27 rounds after the campaign was adapted due to Covid-19.
For Taggart, it may have been the last game he plays for the Korean side. Earlier this year he spoke of taking the next step in his career after ‘ticking Korea off the bucket list’ and amid reports of interest from the middle east.
Compatriot Terry Antonis also played in Suwon’s victory, starting before being subbed off on 53 minutes.
And Rashid Mahazi came on for the last 27 minutes for Incheon United as the K League’s then-bottom-placed club avoided relegation thanks to a 1-0 win over FC Seoul.
Goodwin shows his class
Craig Goodwin was also back on the scoresheet, curling home a beauty for new side Abha Club on the way to a 3-2 win over Al Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia’s Pro League.
The 28-year-old, who was making his third appearance for the club he joined on loan from Al Wedha last month, collected the ball on the right-wing before cutting inside and bending a brilliant strike into the far corner to make the score 2-0.
Abha grabbed a third in the second half, before fighting off a late comeback from Al Ettifaq to run out 3-2 winners.
The win was Abha’s first of the campaign, taking the club onto four points from three games. For Goodwin, it was his first goal since February when he netted twice for parent club Al Wedha against, you guessed it, his current club.
Elsewhere in the Pro League, Mitchell Duke and Rhys Williams squared off in Saudi Arabia as Al Qadsiah faced Al Taawon. Williams’ defensive partner Uro Vitas scored a second-half winner for Al Qadsiah.
Brad Jones was again on the losing side for Al Nassr – which is yet to win in three league games – this time in a 2-1 loss to Al Shabab. And Dimitri Petratos was subbed off on 73 minutes with his Al Wedha side drawing 1-1 with Al Faisaly in the Pro League.
Two minutes later, his team conceded and went on to lose 2-1.
McGree off the mark
Riley McGree hasn’t hung about since signing for Birmingham City.
After joining on loan at the start of October, the midfielder made his debut as a substitute a week-and-a-half later and started his first game for the Blues at Preston North End on Saturday.
And it took him just two minutes to get his first goal for the club in that game.
With the Preston goalkeeper caught out of position, McGree got on the end of Lukas Jutkiewicz’s improvised pass before clinically smashing home a low left-footed drive.
It was the 22-year-old's first goal since scoring for Adelaide United against Western United in March, and after 10 goals in 23 A-League games last term, could be the first of many for his new club.
Speaking with BCFC.com after the game, manager Aitor Karanka singled out McGree for praise.
“I am really pleased with him because I think he is the image of the work in the training ground,” the Spaniard said.
“He has settled in really well, the other players have taken to him really well because everybody could see how good he is.”
Riley himself also had a chat with reporters after the win...
"We want to get as many points as we can before the international break."— Birmingham City FC (@BCFC) November 1, 2020
Riley spoke to @BluesTV after the win over Preston... 👊🔵
Rounding up the rest
- Harry Souttar helped his side keep a fourth clean sheet in his seventh league start of the season as Stoke City got back to winning ways in the Championship, beating Rotherham United 1-0.
- So too did Sunderland, in a 2-0 victory over Gillingham in League One. Vice-captain Bailey Wright skippered the side, helping the Black Cats keep a first clean sheet in three league games and move up to sixth in the table.
- Just ahead of the Mackems sits Charlton Athletic, which beat Portsmouth 2-0 at Fratton Park. Ryan Williams featured for the home side while Ashley Maynard-Brewer was an unused substitute for Charlton. Portsmouth slips to seventh as a result.
- Burton Albion’s home clash with Blackpool also had an Aussie flavour. Ryan Edwards came on as a second-half substitute for Burton, while Kenneth Dougall made his debut for Blackpool in a 2-1 victory for the away side.
- And Callum Elder made it three in a row with his third booking in as many league games for Hull City. The Tigers lost 2-1 at Swindon Town and drop to fourth in the standings.
- Oldham Athletic, managed by Harry Kewell, lost 2-0 at Salford City in League Two. George Blackwood started for Kewell’s men but was withdrawn just after the hour mark.
- And full-back Jack Iredale was also on the losing side for second-place Cambridge United in a 2-1 defeat to Kewell’s former club, Crawley Town.
- Tom Rogic again made a big impact for Celtic, this time helping himself to both assists in a 2-0 Scottish FA Cup semi-final win over Aberdeen. That’s now four assists he’s managed in his last two starts for the champions.
- However, Hibernian hearts were broken as Martin Boyle’s side was knocked out of the same tournament at the semi-final stage by bitter rivals Hearts, losing 2-1 after extra time at Hampden Park.
- Elsewhere, Aaron Lennox was between the sticks for Montrose in a 3-2 win over Forfar Athletic in Scotland’s League One, and in League Two Willam Baynham featured in Queen’s Park’s 1-0 win over Stranraer.
- The wait for a debut for Ajdin Hrustic at Eintracht Frankfurt continues. The winger was an unused substitute for the third game running, this time in a 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
- In the second tier, Brandon Borello played the last 28 minutes of Fortuna Dusseldorf’s 1-0 victory against Heidenheim.
- Awer Mabil was brought on as a second-half substitute but could not prevent FC Midtjylland going down 4-1 at FC Nordsjaelland in Denmark. The score was already 3-1 by the time Mabil was introduced. Midtjylland now lies in third place, level on points with Lawrence Thomas’ SønderjyskE side which plays its game in hand on Monday night local time.
- Veteran Daniel Vukovic kept a second clean sheet of the campaign as Genk won 4-0 against AS Eupen in the Belgian Pro League. Genk is now just a point outside the top four.
- Daniel Arzani was an unused substitute in Utrecht’s 4-1 loss at Heracles in the Dutch Eredivise, in what was his side’s first defeat of the new campaign after six games.
- Both Ryan and Declan Lambert started for Den Bosch in a goalless draw with Roda JC in the Netherlands’ Eerste Divisie. Ryan was brought off on 64 minutes, Declan played his full game of the campaign.
- Gabriel Cleur remained on the bench for Virtus Entella in Italy’s Serie B during a 2-2 draw at Brescia. As did Alberto Del Grosso in Lecco’s 1-1 draw with Juventus’ under 23 side in Serie C.
- Aris remains top of the Greek Super League after a 1-0 win over Asteras Tripolis, with James Jeggo playing the full game in midfield. Elsewhere, Apostolis Giannou featured but was subbed off on 83 minutes as OFI lost 2-1 to AEK Athens.
- In Portugal’s Segunda Liga, Samuel Silvera and Anthony Carter were unused substitutes for Casa Pia and Academico Viseu. Casa Pia drew 3-3 with Penafiel and Academico lost 1-0 to Feirense.
- Aziz Behich played virtually the full game for Kayserispor in Turkey’s Super Lig, before being subbed off in second-half stoppage time. In the third tier, Emre Balc started and finished Iskenderun’s 4-1 win over Yozgatspor.
- After scoring his first goal for the club last week, defender Ante Bakmaz bagged a second in two games, netting in Comuna Recea’s 3-3 draw with Asu Poli Timisoara in Romania’s second tier.
- Deni Juric drew a blank but played the full game as Sibenik won 2-0 against Rijeka in Croatia’s top tier.
- And youngster Luka Prso was an unused substitute for Osijek II in a 1-1 draw with Hajduk Split II in Croatia’s second division.
- The J1 League’s clean sheet king, Mitchell Langerak, solidified that status with his 11th shutout of the season as Nagoya Grampus won 2-0 against Kashima Antlers. The three points takes Nagoya up to third place.
- For the second week in a row, Thomas Deng remained on the bench for Urawa Red Diamonds, this time as the Japanese side drew 0-0 with Oita Trinita.
- And Pierce Waring started but was substituted in bottom-club Cerezo Osaka II’s 1-0 win over Gainare Tottori in the J3 League.
- 10-man Shanghai SIPG drew 1-1 with Jiangsu Suning in the Chinese Super League on Thursday night, with Aaron Mooy playing the full game in midfield.
- Kaizer Chiefs lost the Soweto derby as Orlando Pirates ran out 3-0 winners in South Africa’s 8 Cup first leg clash on Saturday. Kearyn Baccas played 78 minutes for the losing side. The return leg takes place next weekend.
- Goalkeeper Yaren Sozer remained on the bench as Esenler Erokspor won 2-1 against Osmaniyespor in Turkey’s third tier.
- Martin Lo played 83 minutes as Hai Phong went down 4-2 against Quang Nam in Vietnam’s V.League 1. Lo and his teammates are now just a point clear of the bottom of the standings.
- Daniel Wong was an unused substitute in Nei Mongol Zhongyou’s 2-1 defeat at Nantong Zhiyun in China’s League One.
- Zachary Anderson played a full game for Hougang United in a 0-0 draw with Tanjong Pagar in Singapore’s Premier League.
- And Nicholas Olsen scored the winner for Kuwait side Khaitan in a 1-0 win over joint-top side Al Fahaheel. It earns Khaitan a first win of the season after four games.