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A-League Roundup: Top Six Set, Premiers Plate Fate Down To The Wire

Besart Berisha of the Victory leaves the field after receiving a red card during the round 26 A-League match between the Wellington Phoenix and the Melbourne Victory at Westpac Stadium on April 2, 2016 in Wellington, New Zealand. April 02, 2016| Credit: Hagen Hopkins

In today’s A-League Roundup, our top six for the 2015-16 A-League Finals Series is officially set, with Brisbane Roar having a huge advantage heading into the final round of regular season action. We start at Parramatta Stadium in Western Sydney, Australia, where Tony Popovic’s Western Sydney Wanderers put the boots to Tony Walmsley’s Central Coast Mariners 4-1. Brendon Santalab scored a brace in the 36th and 52nd minutes, while Romeo Castelen (8′) and Mitch Nichols (83′) also got on the score sheet. Luis Garcia scored the only goal for Central Coast, in the 21st minute of play.

Kevin Muscat’s Melbourne Victory knew that a win would secure their return to the Finals Series, and they delivered in their 4-1 rout of Ernie Merrick’s Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. Oliver Bozanic (19′), Kosta Barbarouses (56′), Besart Berisha (8′) and George Howard (93′) all scored for Melbourne. Roly Bonevacia scored the lone goal for Wellington in the 82nd minute. It was a difficult match for Ben Williams, the man in charge. Berisha was sent off in the 35th minute and Albert Riera also earned his marching orders in the 55th minute of play.

The news of Victory’s victory in Wellington made the match between Graham Arnold’s Sydney FC and Guillermo Amor’s Adelaide United a dead rubber and a dead ringer. Dead set. Almost. But Adelaide were hoping to better their seeding prospects and none better to leave Sydney’s season left for dead than Bruce Djite, who scored a brace in the 26th and 45th minutes in their 2-0 shutout win.

John Aloisi’s Brisbane Roar are in excellent position to win the Premiership Plate after a 2-1 win over Scott Miller’s Newcastle Jets at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Queensland. Henrique (67′) and Thomas Broich (74′) scored for the Roar, while Leonardo scored for Newcastle in the 50th minute for an early lead to the Jets that was squandered with a 65th minute red card to Nigel Boogaard.

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A shootout in the West, at nib Stadium in Perth, Western Australia, rounded out Round 26 of the Hyundai A-League season. Kenny Lowe’s Perth Glory held off John van’t Schip’s Melbourne City 3-2. Andy Keogh (33′), Gyorgi Sandor (67′) and Diego Castro (71′) scored for Perth, while Bruno Fornaroli (73′) and Marc Marino (92′) scored for City. Despite the loss, Fornaroli is projected to win the Golden Boot, and the possibility of playing in a more lucrative club may be in the offing, so City retaining the Uruguayan’s services beyond this season can be considered a massive achievement.

Here are the predicted scores for the final round of A-League play, Round 27.

Melbourne City 2, Adelaide United 2
Newcastle Jets 1, Central Coast Mariners 0
Brisbane Roar 4, Melbourne Victory 0
Western Sydney Wanderers 5, Wellington Phoenix 0
Perth Glory 3, Sydney FC 0

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