Hyundai A-League (Soccer)

 
Hyundia A-League website: http://www.a-league.com.au/

 

 

 

 

Latest News & Results

 

Round Ball Round-Up: Can anyone stop City’s women?

Round Ball Round-Up: Can anyone stop City’s women?

23/02/2020, Australia, Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Article # 29782243

Melbourne City wrapped up the W-League premiership in excellent fashion on Thursday evening, downing Western Sydney Wanderers 4-0.

Heading into their final game of the regular season next Sunday having conceded just three goals all campaign, coach Rado Vidošić’s side has now also added a lethal attacking edge, winning three of their last four games 4-0.

It has reached the point that perhaps the only thing capable of stopping City from lifting its fourth W-League championship in five years is themselves.

“It’s a really exciting time when you don’t have to worry so much about what the opposition is going to bring, we’re just really confident around our own game,” defender Emma Checker told The New Daily.

The run home

With City’s premiership and the penultimate round of the W-League season now complete, top-four scenarios are now becoming clearer.

Second-placed Sydney FC is guaranteed a finals spot, but its 2-1 loss to Perth Glory on Saturday leaves them at risk of being overhauled by Melbourne Victory should the Victorians defeat them next week. 

Victory thumped the Newcastle Jets 7-0 on Sunday.

But while a win may take Victory to second, a loss or draw could see it fall out of finals altogether should Western Sydney defeat Perth and Brisbane beat a City side with nothing to play for. 

Western Sydney, likewise, must win to ensure it plays finals football. 

Brisbane needs to beat City, hope for Western Sydney and/or Victory to draw or lose and for a healthy enough goal difference swing to achieve an unlikely finals berth. 

On the A-League bubble 

It is still too early to declare the finals aspirations of most A-League sides dead – apologies to the Mariners and Jets – but a clearer picture is also beginning to emerge. 

Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar both loom as the most likely sides to continue to occupy fifth and sixth at the end of the season, based on current form.

Unlikely 5-2 winners over Adelaide on Friday night, Wanderers are suddenly undefeated in three games under caretaker coach Jean-Paul de Marigny and could potentially sneak in.

Most unlikely of the bubble sides are the Victorians. 

Winners of just one in their past eight, Western United’s early season promise has given way to injuries, squad upheaval and poor results. A lack of a proper home ground advantage has also begun to take its toll, which is unfortunate given that next week’s home fixture against Central Coast looms as being season-defining. 

Victory has not won an A-League fixture since January 5 – when Marco Kurz was still in charge – and face two crucial games against the Reds and Sydney FC in coming weeks.

The prodigal son

The van ‘t Schip name is a well-known one in Bundoora, with John van ‘t Schip – currently the boss of the Greece national team – coach of Melbourne Heart between 2010 and 2012 and Melbourne City from 2013-17.

But John’s son, Davey van ‘t Schip, has also had a role in the club’s academy for a number of years, and The New Daily understands that this year he is set for an expanded role with the club’s NPL Under-20s and will, on occasion, assist with the NPL seniors in 2020. 

Though on its own a very minor thing, the presence of a familiar name like van ‘t Schip, plus the fielding of childhood Heart fans like 19-year-old Stefan Colakovski, are important steps for a club that is still fighting to establish its own ‘soul’. 

Olympic qualifier shifted

The Matildas’ Olympic qualification campaign has received a further reshuffle, but thankfully one nowhere near as drastic as their previous switch from Wuhan to Sydney.

The home leg of the Matildas’ playoff with Vietnam, from which the winner will qualify for Tokyo 2020, has had its kick-off time moved forward to the “family-friendly” time of 6:30pm (AEDT) on March 6 at Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium.

Flexin’ on them

Briefly, a second must be taken to appreciate NPL Victoria lethal weapon, Brandon Barnes.

The Dandenong Thunder captain scored his third goal of the season on Sunday when, taking advantage of Melbourne Knights outfielder Joey Franjic being forced to don the goalkeeping gloves after a red card, he drilled in a 94th minute free-kick to level things up at 3-3.

His subsequent celebration, flexing for the camera in a manner reminiscent of former WWF star Earthquake, reinforced his cult status amongst NPL fans.

A-League Results

Friday: Wellington Phoenix 2-0 Western United; Western Sydney Wanderers 5-2 Adelaide United
Saturday: Brisbane Roar 1-1 Perth Glory; Newcastle Jets 1-1 Melbourne Victory
Sunday: Central Coast Mariners 0-3 Sydney FC

W-League Results

Thursday: Western Sydney Wanderers 0-4 Melbourne City

Saturday: Sydney FC 1-2 Perth Glory

Sunday: Newcastle Jets 0-7 Melbourne Victory; Brisbane Roar 5-0 Canberra United

The post Round Ball Round-Up: Can anyone stop City’s women? appeared first on The New Daily.



https://thenewdaily.com.au/sport/football/2020/02/23/melbourne-city-women/
Round Ball Round-Up: Can anyone stop Melbourne City’s women?

Round Ball Round-Up: Can anyone stop Melbourne City’s women?

23/02/2020, Australia, Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Article # 29782280

Melbourne City wrapped up the W-League premiership in excellent fashion on Thursday evening, downing Western Sydney Wanderers 4-0.

Heading into its final game of the regular season next Sunday having conceded just three goals all campaign, coach Rado Vidošić’s side has also added a lethal attacking edge, winning three of its past four games 4-0.

It has reached the point that perhaps the only thing capable of stopping City from lifting its fourth W-League championship in five years is itself.

“It’s a really exciting time when you don’t have to worry so much about what the opposition is going to bring. We’re just really confident around our own game,” defender Emma Checker told The New Daily.

The run home

With City’s premiership and the penultimate round of the W-League season now complete, top-four scenarios are now becoming clearer.

Second-placed Sydney FC is guaranteed a finals spot, but its 2-1 loss to Perth Glory on Saturday leaves it at risk of being overhauled by Melbourne Victory should the Victorians defeat the Sky Blues next week. 

Victory thumped Newcastle Jets 7-0 on Sunday.

But while a win may take Victory to second, a loss or draw could see it fall out of finals altogether should Western Sydney defeat Perth and Brisbane beat a City side with nothing to play for. 

Western Sydney, likewise, must win to ensure it plays finals football. 

Brisbane needs to beat City, hope for Western Sydney and/or Victory to draw or lose, and for a healthy enough goal difference swing to achieve an unlikely finals berth. 

On the A-League bubble 

It is still too early to declare the finals aspirations of most A-League sides dead – apologies to the Central Coast Mariners and Jets – but a clearer picture is also beginning to emerge. 

Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar both loom as the most likely sides to continue to occupy fifth and sixth at the end of the season, based on current form.

Unlikely 5-2 winners over Adelaide on Friday night, the Wanderers are suddenly undefeated in three games under caretaker coach Jean-Paul de Marigny and could potentially sneak in.

Most unlikely of the bubble sides are the Victorians. 

Winners of just one game in its past eight, Western United’s early season promise has given way to injuries, squad upheaval and poor results.

A lack of a proper home ground advantage has also begun to take its toll, which is unfortunate given that next week’s home fixture against Central Coast looms as being season-defining. 

Across town, Victory has not won an A-League fixture since January 5 – when Marco Kurz was still in charge – and faces two crucial games against the Reds and Sydney FC in coming weeks.

The prodigal son

The van’t Schip name is a well-known one in Bundoora, with John van’t Schip – currently the boss of the Greece national team – coach of Melbourne Heart between 2010 and 2012 and Melbourne City from 2013 to 2017.

But John’s son, Davey van’t Schip, has also had a role in the club’s academy for a number of years, and The New Daily understands that this year he is set for an expanded role with the club’s NPL Under-20s and will, on occasion, assist with the NPL seniors in 2020. 

Though on its own a very minor thing, the presence of a familiar name like van’t Schip, plus the fielding of childhood Heart fans like 19-year-old Stefan Colakovski, are important steps for a club that is still fighting to establish its own ‘soul’. 

Olympic qualifier shifted

The Matildas’ Olympic qualification campaign has received a further reshuffle, but thankfully one nowhere near as drastic as their previous switch from Wuhan to Sydney.

The home leg of the Matildas’ playoff with Vietnam, from which the winner will qualify for Tokyo 2020, has had its kick-off time moved forward to the “family-friendly” time of 6.30pm (AEDT) on March 6 at Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium.

Flexin’ on them

Briefly, a second must be taken to appreciate NPL Victoria lethal weapon, Brandon Barnes.

The Dandenong Thunder captain scored his third goal of the season on Sunday when, taking advantage of Melbourne Knights outfielder Joey Franjic being forced to don the goalkeeping gloves after a red card, he drilled in a 94th-minute free-kick to level things up at 3-3.

His subsequent celebration, flexing for the camera in a manner reminiscent of former WWF star Earthquake [John Tenta], reinforced his cult status among NPL fans.

A-League Results

Friday: Wellington Phoenix 2-0 Western United; Western Sydney Wanderers 5-2 Adelaide United
Saturday: Brisbane Roar 1-1 Perth Glory; Newcastle Jets 1-1 Melbourne Victory
Sunday: Central Coast Mariners 0-3 Sydney FC

W-League Results

Thursday: Western Sydney Wanderers 0-4 Melbourne City

Saturday: Sydney FC 1-2 Perth Glory

Sunday: Newcastle Jets 0-7 Melbourne Victory; Brisbane Roar 5-0 Canberra United.

The post Round Ball Round-Up: Can anyone stop Melbourne City’s women? appeared first on The New Daily.



https://thenewdaily.com.au/sport/football/2020/02/23/melbourne-city-women/
‘A blessing in disguise’: Kyah Simon emerges from tough year to thrive

‘A blessing in disguise’: Kyah Simon emerges from tough year to thrive

19/02/2020, Australia, Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Article # 29775807

Matildas superstar Kyah Simon is reaping the benefits of a change in mindset with both club and country.

Her recent return to help the Matildas move a step closer to Olympics qualification complements her W-League form, which has Melbourne City within touching distance of a premiership.

It’s all a far cry from Simon’s past 12 months, which were some of the most difficult of her career.

Persistent injuries hampered her club campaigns with City and NWSL side Houston Dash, preventing her from building match fitness and form in a crucial World Cup year.

Eventually, it led to the previously unthinkable: The 2010 Asian Cup hero found herself on the outside looking in at the Matildas’ World Cup squad in France last year.

Adding insult to literal injury, she then suffered a hamstring complaint while training as a World Cup standby player, dashing any hopes of a recall.

Traditionally one to throw caution to the wind during rehabilitation, the array of injuries and the heartache of missing a World Cup eventually led to a – somewhat imposed – change in mindset by the 28-year-old.

No longer would she battle through the pain to play before she was fully fit. Instead, she would focus on getting her body right.

It’s a philosophical change that has paid dividends.

With a W-League premiership up for grabs, Simon will take the field against Western Sydney Wanderers on Thursday night off the back of a long-awaited and successful return to the national squad.

Across recent Olympic qualifiers, she netted two goals and two assists – including the assist for Emily van Egmond’s vital equaliser against China PR – as the Matildas advanced to the next round.

“I think it has been about a good four or five years [since being this healthy],” Simon said.

“I think there has always been something to be chasing or trying to play catch up or racing against the clock for a major tournament or a season or some sort.

“The approach has been quite different this time around.

“The patience of City, the patience of the Matildas, has been amazing for me.

“I’m now reaping the benefits of having a lot more precaution in the early phases of rehab, taking it a step at a time, and not going in guns blazing too early.

“It was a blessing in disguise that people put the brakes on me, told me to take more time, put your body first and don’t be like a kid in a candy store.

“The football stuff comes when I’m fit and healthy, and that’s where I’m at now.”

With just two games of the W-League season remaining, Simon’s City is undefeated and firm favourite to take out the W-League championships, its season-long success built off the back of a rock-solid foundation.

Coach Rado Vidošić’s side has only conceded three goals thus far in 2019-20, with City’s 2015-16 record of five goals shipped well within reach.

An opposing side last netted against City on December 8 – six games ago – in a contest it proceeded to win 2-1.

In all, it has been 629 minutes since City goalkeeper Lydia Williams was forced to retrieve the ball from her net.

Reasserting its dominance, City has only trailed for eight minutes, before Milica Mijatović and Emily van Egmond drove a dagger through Canberra United’s brief flash of hope in Round 2.

“We’ve said goals win you games, but clean sheets win you championships,” Vidošić said.

“That’s one thing that we’ve been talking about all year.

“We have a fantastic backline and a fantastic goalkeeper.

“That was always something we could achieve. That was always something that was driving us.

“It takes a lot of discipline when people are making forward runs and people are staying behind and protecting.

“I think we’ve managed to get better at that with each game and our opponents have created less and less.

“There were some games where Lydia was quite busy, but the last few games, she hasn’t really been so busy.

“That tells you that our structure is working quite well and that the players have embraced that challenge to put their body on the line when they have to.”

Six points clear heading into the W-League’s penultimate round, City needs only a point away to Western Sydney to wrap up the Premier’s Plate.

But for Simon, the intrinsic rewards that have come with being fully fit and playing as part of the Matildas and City have already made her a winner.

“Knowing the tough period that I did go through personally … and now to be doing my part for the team, [silverware is] a bonus,” she said.

“My main priority was just to get back to loving football and enjoying football again; playing freely and being out there with the girls.

“You really can’t put a price on that.”

The post ‘A blessing in disguise’: Kyah Simon emerges from tough year to thrive appeared first on The New Daily.



https://thenewdaily.com.au/sport/football/2020/02/19/kyah-simon-w-league/
Why a cryptocurrency company’s bid to buy Perth Glory is causing major confusion

Why a cryptocurrency company’s bid to buy Perth Glory is causing major confusion

16/02/2020, Australia, Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Article # 29770960

The bizarre saga surrounding the potential sale of A-League premiers Perth Glory has not slowed, with confusing messages from the club, owner Tony Sage and representatives of prospective owners clouding the situation of just what exactly is happening in the west.                    

Sage, a Western Australian businessman who made his fortune in mining, on Wednesday confirmed he was on his way to Britain to finalise a sale of 80 per cent of the club to London Football Exchange (LFE), while retaining a 20 per cent stake and the chairman’s role.

“We’ve been negotiating,” Sage told 6PR Radio in Perth that day.

“I don’t know how it leaked, but obviously lawyers talk, and I’m in Dubai now on my way to London and hopefully it’s signed in the next few days.”

So, who is LFE?

Launched in 2018, LFE seeks to use cryptocurrency to create a “football stock exchange” in which buyers could acquire shares or purchase merchandise and experiences direct from football clubs.

The group plans on buying several clubs of its own in an attempt to mirror the multi-club ownership model of City Football Group.

LFE had no qualms about declaring the deal done, putting out its announcement on Wednesday that it had entered into an asset sale and purchase agreement to acquire a majority shareholding in Glory, pending Football Federation Australia [FFA] approval.

LFE founder Jim Aylward also released a video regarding the deal.

A post on February 13 on Glory’s website – since deleted – also announced the sale, running with a headline “London Football Exchange announce deal to buy Glory”.

The move was met with widespread incredulity and scepticism, especially after news came to light that LFE had attempted to buy French clubs Nice and Nantes in 2019 only to be denied after failing to provide minimum bank guarantees – Nantes’ ownership raising concerns over the group’s “seriousness and credibility”.

On Thursday, proceedings took another twist when Sage, in a statement on the Glory website, gave himself plenty of room to back out of the deal as he vociferously declared no deal had been completed.

“Any new concept that people don’t get, we are all sceptical about – myself included – hence my trip to London for three days to check them out,” he wrote.

“LFE’s concept is brilliant, but will it work?

“I don’t know and that’s why I am spending three days with their team in London with independent experts.

“If, after this due diligence process, the final deal in London is not good for PGFC, of course PGFC won’t sign up.

“If [Glory] do sign up nothing (sic) changes at Perth Glory other than with extra funding, we will be able to compete with the bigger clubs in Australia and Asia.

“Finally, don’t believe fake news. Your club has not been sold and I have not even sent anything to [FFA] for approval.”

English-born Sage’s declarations he did not know if the model put forward by LFE was feasible raised more eyebrows, given that he was named LFE’s chairman in January.

Before flying with his side to Tokyo for Glory’s first AFC Champions League game against FC Tokyo, Perth coach Tony Popovic declared the incident was not a distraction for him and his players.

“It’s not affecting [preparations], so I’m not concerned,” Popovic said.

“It’s in the media, it’s news. Whenever you talk about ownership changing, it’s a headline. The players are fine.”

But while it may not be affecting the players, it has served as a needless distraction for the wider football community at a time when the focus should be on Glory’s historic Asian tilt.

Will the deal go through? Watch this space.

The secret to success

Emily van Egmond has hit near career-best form in recent times, and Melbourne City boss Rado Vidošić thinks he knows why.

After a horror run with injuries in 2018, the 26-year-old moved to City in 2019 and has recaptured some of her best form for club and country.

“One thing that I asked her to do was to be more intensive,” Vidošić said on van Egmond’s improvement.

“We challenged her to get more involved – change the pace. Be more explosive, get more involved.

“It came to a moment; I think one game she had 90-something touches on the ball. She was everywhere.

“But I think the biggest thing with her involvement with the Matildas is she didn’t play as six, she played as a 10 and I think that’s her role to a tee.

“She can hurt opponents more if she’s closer to the goal, she can score, she can set up goals.

“There’s still a challenge for her to be more intensive. It doesn’t matter how fast you are, but run the fastest you can go, and run as often as you can go.”

City’s big derby win

Van Egmond and her City teammates downed cross-town foes Melbourne Victory 4-0 on Sunday, putting one hand on the W-League Premiers’ Plate.

As it stands, Sydney remains the only side that retains a mathematical chance of catching City – but that would require Vidošić’s side to lose against Western Sydney and Brisbane Roar.

Such circumstances are unlikely, to say the least.

Though at one point appearing to be title contenders, Western Sydney has been in freefall in recent weeks; the conclusion of Irish superstar Denise O’Sullivan’s guest contract extracting a heavy toll.

These problems are set to be compounded with the news on Sunday that American star Lynn Williams is set to depart the club to focus on national team duties.

Brisbane Roar lost Hayley Raso to an overseas move in recent weeks and was downed 4-2 by Perth Glory on Sunday.

Boring in Ballarat

Western United and Brisbane Roar may have been playing with massive A-League finals implications on Sunday, but you would not have known it.

The two teams combined to put in one of the most boring performances of the season, neither willing to expose themselves to any sort of risk.

Eventually, it was an error from new United signing Tomoki Imai – although the support provided to him by his teammates left much to be desired – that allowed Mirza Muratovic to score and continue Robbie Fowler’s Roar rejuvenation.

A-League scores

Friday: Adelaide United 2-0 Central Coast Mariners

Saturday: Wellington Phoenix 1-0 Melbourne City; Western Sydney 1-1 Newcastle Jets

Sunday: Western United 0-1 Brisbane Roar.

W-League scores

Saturday: Sydney FC 3-0 Western Sydney Wanderers

Sunday: Perth Glory 4-2 Brisbane Roar; Canberra United 3-1 Adelaide United; Melbourne Victory 0-4 Melbourne City.

The post Why a cryptocurrency company’s bid to buy Perth Glory is causing major confusion appeared first on The New Daily.



https://thenewdaily.com.au/sport/football/2020/02/16/perth-glory-cryptocurrency/
Mohamed Toure: The 15-year-old who is the talk of Australian football

Mohamed Toure: The 15-year-old who is the talk of Australian football

15/02/2020, Australia, Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Article # 29769524

Mohamed Toure is the talk of Australian football after the 15-year-old smashed an A-League record and scored in Adelaide United’s 2-0 Round 19 win over Central Coast Mariners.

At just 15 years and 325 days, Toure became the A-League’s youngest-ever goalscorer, taking the record from Tommy Oar.

Oar had just turned 17 when he set the previous benchmark way back in 2008 with Brisbane Roar, but Toure broke the record by more than a year and set tongues wagging with his second impressive cameo in as many matches.

Toure’s power and trickery were immediately evident in an eye-catching eight-minute cameo against the Roar in Round 18.

That meant it was no surprise that Adelaide boss Gertjan Verbeek turned to the teen with Friday’s fixture against Central Coast locked at 0-0.

And after George Blackwood gave the Reds the lead, Toure was on hand to seal Adelaide’s victory and spark big celebrations inside Coopers Stadium.

Speaking to Fox Sports after the match, Toure said: “It feels surreal. Never thought of doing it in a million years – not at 15.

“So it’s an amazing feeling, especially at home, in front of my friends and family.”

Watch the goal

Toure had only signed a three-year scholarship contract with Adelaide on Thursday.

The ‘good story’ football needs

Bruce Djite knows a thing or two about scoring goals for Adelaide United.

The ex-Socceroo is the club’s all-time top scorer and now works for United as director of football.

Djite said he was “out of my seat” when Toure scored and that the teenager’s goal was a great boost for football.

“Football in Australia is crying out for a good story,” Djite told The New Daily.

“It’s a positive story in the sense that [Mohamed is the] youngest scorer of an A-League goal, 15 years old, third-youngest player to make their debut.

“It was a very good performance, of course, similar to last week. Obviously, this week he scores the goal … fantastic feat for him.”

Djite said Toure deserved immense credit for taking his chance in recent weeks, which he acknowledged came quicker than expected.

“He’s been lucky in the sense that we have been going through a bit of an injury crisis … credit to him, he’s really taking the opportunity,” he said.

Dealing with the hype

Toure was flanked by his older brother, Adelaide United’s Al Hassan Toure, during his post-match interview.

Regular media appearances from the 15-year-old are unlikely for the time being, Djite explained.

“We discussed it a couple of weeks ago [how to deal with the attention] prior to his selection in the squad for the Brisbane Roar game,” he said.

“We will keep him out of the media spotlight, that’s for sure, as much as we can.

“From his side … it’s about doing what he has been doing.

“It’s about staying humble, listening to what the coach says, not getting too excited when things go well and not getting too down when things don’t go well.”

Djite said that Adelaide was “well aware how quickly things can change in football and how important it is that young people keep their feet on the ground”.

But the retired striker does not expect the hype to faze the record-breaker.

“To his credit, he’s not a nervous type of guy when he crosses that white line,” he added.

The example

Mohamed’s older brother – who was also born in Guinea – has been an important figure for Adelaide this season.

Al Hassan Toure scored five goals in as many matches in the club’s successful FFA Cup run, highlighted by a man-of-the-match performance in the FFA Cup Final.

The 19-year-old won the Mark Viduka Medal for best afield in that match, and also played for the Australia Under-23’s last month at the AFC Championship.

Graham Arnold’s men finished third at that event, qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics football tournament.

Al Hassan Toure is currently injured and expected to miss another six weeks.

It means fans will have to wait for the Toure brothers to play together. That will be worth watching.

The post Mohamed Toure: The 15-year-old who is the talk of Australian football appeared first on The New Daily.



https://thenewdaily.com.au/sport/football/2020/02/15/mohamed-toure-adelaide-united/
Late strike saves Matildas from daunting path to Olympics

Late strike saves Matildas from daunting path to Olympics

13/02/2020, Australia, Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Article # 29766335

Matildas star Emily van Egmond struck an injury-time screamer to salvage a 1-1 draw against China in Sydney, saving the home side’s blushes and setting up an easier path to the Tokyo Olympics.

When the Steel Roses broke the deadlock in the 86th minute through Tang Jiali for a deserved lead – having earlier struck the bar and had a goal disallowed for offside – Australia was staring down the barrel of a shock loss at Bankwest Stadium on Thursday night.

It was also facing the prospect of playing the powerhouse South Korea in next month’s home-and-away playoff if it did not secure at least a draw.

But fresh off a maiden international hat-trick in Monday’s 6-0 rout of Thailand, van Egmond came to Australia’s rescue by blasting a 16-yard belter into the top left corner in the second minute of injury time.

The result means the Australian side secured top spot in Group B qualifying on goal difference and will now play Vietnam at Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday, March 6.

Matildas coach Ante Milicic opted for a full-strength side as he swung six changes.

Back in the starting line-up, Sam Kerr showed no lingering signs of the troublesome quad that reduced her to bench cameos in Australia’s routs over Thailand and Taiwan.

The Chelsea superstar broke loose on goal in the third minute with a deft touch, playing a deft cut back to Caitlin Foord who sprayed her shot wide.

Bristol City signing Chloe Logarzo soon went down clutching her face after a heavy challenge from Wu Haiyan.

It earned Australia a free-kick but van Egmond couldn’t produce a long-range effort to test Chinese shot-stopper Peng Shimeng.

The Matildas were dropping like flies at this point, with an inadvertent elbow from Zhai Qingwei to Hayley Raso’s face drawing blood.

After a van Egmond drew a free-kick, Brisbane Roar’s Elise Kellond-Knight smashed a long-distance rocket into the top right.

But Peng was equal to the task, parrying the shot wide.

Despite imposing themselves as the aggressor in the initial stages, the Matildas had nothing to show for it.

It was chaos moments later as Kellond-Knight thundered a clearance into the shins of Li Ying and almost ricocheted into the net.

China was slowly working their way into the match and striker Wang Shanshan would have been clean through on goal if not for an incorrect offside call.

Not to be denied, Wang struck the woodwork with a wobbly long-range effort before half-time.

China continued to cause the Matildas’ trouble after the break, with Tang leaving a trio of defenders in her wake before producing a low save from Lydia Williams.

Kerr picked Yao Lingwei’s pocket to kickstart a promising Australian counter-attack but Raso couldn’t breach China’s walls.

With half an hour left, the visitors butchered a three-on-two opportunity as Wang skied her shot well over the bar.

Milicic turned to his bench for a spark, bringing on Kyah Simon and Tameka Yallop.

Desperate lunging blocks from Clare Polkinghorne and Steph Catley in quick succession prevented Australia from falling behind.

But their resistance was broken as Ma Jun teed up Tang for a blistering 86th-minute strike from outside the box, before van Egmond found one of her own to save the Aussies.

-with AAP

The post Late strike saves Matildas from daunting path to Olympics appeared first on The New Daily.



https://thenewdaily.com.au/sport/football/2020/02/13/late-strike-saves-matildas-olympics/
Second-tier growth built on solid foundations of National Premier League

Second-tier growth built on solid foundations of National Premier League

12/02/2020, Australia, Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Article # 29764637

The National Premier League (NPL) enters 2020 looking to continue its growth and contribution to Australia’s rich footballing ecosystem.

Kicking off over the weekend in Queensland and set to ramp up over the coming weeks, Australia’s second tier of football is a semi-professional competition that runs across winter months.

Collectively made up of competitions managed by each individual member federation, NPL sides compete in a home-and-away season followed by finals.

A-League players such as Melbourne Victory’s Elvis Kamsoba, Central Coast’s Jordan Murray and Brisbane Roar’s Dylan Wenzel-Halls have all made the leap from the NPL in recent years; the trio representing a vast, untapped resource of talent eager for a chance to succeed at a higher level.

Handed a greater spotlight thanks to the FFA Cup and improvements in quality, its recent growth has led to a strong push towards the establishment of a national second division to supplement the A-League and unite the Australian football pyramid.

But even as wrangling around a second division continues, the NPL itself continues to grow and contribute to football as a standalone product; for while resourcing and facilities remain an impediment, ambitious clubs and players are continuing to increase their levels of professionalism as they hunger for further opportunities.

“I know the club is implementing things to change to make it more professional,” standout Heidelberg United defender Josh Wilkins told The New Daily.

“We’ve got physios there for massages, we’ve got a S&C (strength and conditioning) coach to take our warm-ups. We have programmed exercise routines, people giving us advice on nutrition and stuff.

“It’s definitely taking a step forward from what it used to be five to 10 years ago when it was just rock up to a training session, chuck your stuff on and go for a run and have fun with your mates. It’s a lot more professional these days.

“Compared to a professional A-League environment, which I was a temporary part of, there’s still a pretty big gap between the two, but it’s closing.

“Hopefully it does close [further], leading towards hopefully getting a national second division involved as well.”

It has never been easier to watch the NPL.

Member federations around the country stream games on Facebook and YouTube to afford viewers from all over the world a chance to tune in.

Demonstrating the latent demand, Football Victoria’s recent stream of its Community Shield game – a pre-season Cup fixture – had more than 42,000 views.

And for any viewers dipping their toes into the water for the first time, they may find themselves coming across some familiar names.

Former national fixtures APIA Leichhardt, Adelaide City, Brisbane Strikers, South Melbourne, Sydney United, Heidelberg United, Marconi, Melbourne Knights and Sydney Olympic all play in the top level of their local competitions, while former powers such as St George and Preston Lions plot their ascension from lower tiers.

2020 will also be the first season since the abolishment of the controversial national club identity policy, which prevented clubs from using names or logos featuring “ethnic, national, political, racial or religious connotations either in isolation or combination”.

The policy had been designed to promote inclusion but, in practice, served to alienate existing members of the footballing community and place the game in a seemingly paradoxical position of wanting to pick and choose which parts of its history – largely built off the back of ethnically backed clubs that still exist in the NPL – to celebrate.

However, the NPL isn’t just a domain for well-established stalwarts of Australian football.

Entering its third year in NPL Qld, Gold Coast United – a revival of the A-League side that had a three-year stint in the competition before it folded in 2012 – has made no secret of its ambitions to rebuild the foundations of the club and use the NPL to springboard a return to the national stage.

“I’m building a love for the club again,” former United A-League player and 13-time Socceroo Michael Thwaite – who returned to the club in 2018 – told The New Daily.

“The three years in the A-League, I didn’t want to move anywhere else.

“Now, it’s more about establishing the club and setting a foundation. We’ve got a $10 million facility in Tallebudgera, we’ve got an academy from SAP, both girls and boys, right through to the senior team. I think we’re on par structurally with the A-League.

“We’re looking to establish the foundation first and then build the club culture.

“We’re getting good people, good coaches around the club as well. Shane Smeltz has just returned, Jason Culina, his sons are part of our program; he’s just moved back from Sydney.

“People that have bled for the shirt before. They’re coming back and getting involved.”

The post Second-tier growth built on solid foundations of National Premier League appeared first on The New Daily.



https://thenewdaily.com.au/sport/football/2020/02/12/national-premier-league/
Emily van Egmond hat-trick guides Matildas to a 6-0 thrashing of Thailand

Emily van Egmond hat-trick guides Matildas to a 6-0 thrashing of Thailand

10/02/2020, Australia, Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Article # 29761731

A hat-trick by influential No.10 Emily van Egmond has helped settle Australia’s nerves in a 6-0 Olympic qualifying win against Thailand in Sydney on Monday night.

The victory allowed the Matildas to secure a spot in the final round of women’s qualifiers for Tokyo 2020.

The top two teams in Group B advance to a winner-takes-all, two-legged playoff – set to be played in March.

Van Egmond popped up twice in the shadow of half-time to give the wasteful Matildas a deserved 2-0 lead, allowing the hosts the freedom to run rampant against their hapless opposition in the second half.

Backing up from Friday night’s 7-0 win over Chinese Taipei, the Matildas dominated in a first half that could have ended in frustration were it not for the Melbourne City playmaker’s unexpected scoring cameo.

She ghosted in a far post to volley home an Ellie Carpenter cross to open the scoring, before clinically finishing a Carpenter cutback second later, deep in injury time.

Van Egmond’s double provided relief for the Matildas after being frustrated by desperate defending and the woodwork in the Group B qualifier.

The 61st-minute double substitution by coach Ante Milicic (Sam Kerr replacing Emily Gielnik and Hayley Raso for Katrina Gorry) paid immediate dividends when Kyah Simon made it three in the 66th minute.

Van Egmond completed her hat-trick four minutes later, before Hayley Raso and Simon [again] completed a remarkable period of four goals in six minutes.

The night ended on a high, with Kerr denied a spectacular overhead goal that would undoubtedly have made global highlights reel with an equally spectacular save by Thai goalkeeper Tiffany Sornpao.

Such was the domination, Thailand managed just one shot at goal throughout the match.

The win sealed Australia’s position atop the pool before Thursday night’s crucial match (7.30pm) against second-place China at Bankwest Stadium.

Earlier on Monday, China defeated Chinese Taipei 5-0.

The post Emily van Egmond hat-trick guides Matildas to a 6-0 thrashing of Thailand appeared first on The New Daily.



https://thenewdaily.com.au/sport/football/2020/02/10/emily-van-egmond-matildas-thailand/
Round ball round-up: Melbourne Victory’s finals hopes take a hit, Matildas set for big week

Round ball round-up: Melbourne Victory’s finals hopes take a hit, Matildas set for big week

09/02/2020, Australia, Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Article # 29760571

Outmanoeuvred by cross-town foes Melbourne City in a 2-1 derby defeat on Friday night, Melbourne Victory finished Round 18 of the A-League in ninth position on the table, six points adrift of the top six.

Compounding their misery, on Saturday it was revealed that star attacker Robbie Kruse had suffered a hamstring injury and would be out for six to eight weeks. 

Though he may have ushered in a few more positive vibes around the club when he replaced Marco Kurz – especially with two Asian Champions League wins – Carlos Salvachúa has now gone winless in four A-League games in charge.

With Victory’s finals rivals all having games in hand and ACL commitments adding a further complication, the inescapable reality is that circumstances are increasingly pointing to Victory missing finals for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign. 

Whereas the departure of long-time coach Kevin Muscat at the end of the 2018-19 season had been conducted in a manner to ensure a seamless transition, it has since proved anything but. 

While his exit was, on balance, in the best interest of both parties, a clear line is now able to be drawn from Victory’s recruitment in the wake of his departure to the state it is in now.

Perhaps, when Kruse hobbled down the tunnel in the 84th minute on Friday night, he may have taken Victory’s season with him. 

It sits just three points clear of the bottom-placed Newcastle Jets, who beat Central Coast Mariners 4-3 on Sunday.

Frustrated fans

Off the field, Friday night’s Melbourne Derby’s crowd of just 16,872 fans should send warning signs to the game’s administrators that even marquee fixtures are feeling the strain of the A-League’s continued battle for eyeballs and attention.

Problems with fans being able to enter the ground also did nothing to endear the league to those that actually attended the fixture.

In a difficult time for the sport, those in power need to be doing everything they can to make attending A-League games easier – not harder.   

Matildas in winning form

After a chaotic build-up, the Matildas’ slate of Olympic qualifiers finally got under way on Friday night, and Ante Milicic’s side started in style.

Led by a first-half Caitlin Foord hat-trick – much to the delight of her new employer Arsenal – the Matildas comfortably defeated Chinese Taipei 7-0 in wet conditions at Campbelltown Stadium.

With regular starters Ellie Carpenter, Alanna Kennedy and Sam Kerr all held back from the starting XI, the fixture gave an opportunity for Karly Roestbakken and Jenna McCormick to press their cases for continued opportunities, while Kyah Simon made her long-awaited return to competitive national team duty.

Bigger challenges, however, await Australia’s women; on Monday night they play Thailand, before a clash with China PR on Thursday. 

The Steel Roses of China made the Round of 16 at last year’s Women’s World Cup and represent a significant challenge for Australia’s women.

And though less daunting on paper, Matildas fans will still remember that nervous 2018 Asian Cup semi-final when Chaba Kaew took Australia to penalties. 

What a drip

Disappointingly, the Sydney derby, one of the marquee events on the A-League calendar was postponed.

The fixture was to be played on Saturday afternoon, but heavy rain in Sydney proved too much for the drainage at suburban ground Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

“With over 100 millimetres of rain falling in the Sydney area over the past two days, and in the interest of player welfare, all parties agreed that it was not possible to play the match as scheduled today,” head of the A-League Greg O’Rourke said.

“Whilst it is disappointing that a nearly sold-out crowd is unable to see another iconic Sydney derby, this was the right decision to give fans as much notice as possible under the circumstances.”

The date of the re-organised fixture is yet to be determined.

Sponsorship woes

The waterlogged Sydney derby compounded what had already been a challenging week for football, with The Sydney Morning Herald breaking the news on Tuesday that the Korean carmaker Hyundai was prepared to walk away from a 15-year relationship with the game in June.

It could be the latest in a string of sponsorship departures in recent times, with ALDI, Caltex and NAB among others that are looking for the exits. 

Football should not be a hard sell for sponsors. 

It is the most popular game on the planet by some margin, one whose audience crosses all demographics and Australia’s national teams will be in regular international competition – in front of millions of eyeballs – regularly in coming years. 

Those who declare the game, though popular around the world, doesn’t resonate with Australians forgot to tell their kids, who continue to play it in droves

But ultimately, as any good advertiser will tell you, the key to effectively selling oneself in a crowded market are values. 

What is the defining spirit of your product that others want to associate with? What stories are you trying to tell? What is in its soul?

What separates Australian football not only from other sports in the local marketplace, but from football around the world? 

Australian football continues to grapple with these questions, with a seemingly endless and vitriolic debate at almost every aspect of the game and inconsistent messaging placing it behind the eight ball. 

A more unified game can carve out a healthy place in the Australian sporting landscape as it pulls in a common direction. 

It can begin to tell the stories of the joy and beauty that those that live it know are there. 

We just need to get there. 

A-League Results:

Friday: Melbourne City 2-1 Melbourne Victory; Perth Glory 4-2 Wellington Phoenix
Saturday: Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers (postponed); Brisbane Roar 2-1 Adelaide United
Sunday: Newcastle Jets 4-3 Central Coast Mariners

International:

Friday: Australia 7-0 Chinese Taipei 

The post Round ball round-up: Melbourne Victory’s finals hopes take a hit, Matildas set for big week appeared first on The New Daily.



https://thenewdaily.com.au/sport/football/2020/02/09/round-ball-round-up-melbourne-victory/
loading