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Australian Football: Five takeaways from Matchday 20

Melbourne City returned to winning ways against Brisbane Roar but the fans did not turn out in numbers at AAMI Park which has to be a concern for the A-League.

There is still one game to be played in Matchday 20 as Melbourne Victory and Western United go head-to-head on Monday, but the rest of the round followed the usual schedule.

It was another exciting few days of action, which has been the case throughout the season, but the supporters are not packing the stands at venues across Australia. The round did start with Perth Glory pulling off a surprise 1-0 win over high-flying Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday night, a result that had ramifications at both ends of the ladder.

Elsewhere Central Coast Mariners beat Macarthur 4-1 to keep up the pressure at the top, while Adelaide United are hot on the heels of Melbourne City following a 4-2 win away at Newcastle Jets.

Wellington Phoenix are right in the mix following a massive 1-0 victory over Sydney FC, who are back on the slide. Let’s take a look at the main talking points from Matchday 20.

Adelaide in box seat for second spot

The race to try and catch Melbourne City is hotting up and if anyone is going to do it, Adelaide United look to be the team. Carl Veart’s side are now unbeaten in the last nine games, winning five of them and scoring goals for fun. They appear to be peaking at just the right time.

If they carry on like this they will really fancy their chances of going all the way and winning the Grand Final. They are priced at 6.00 to do just that. Next up is a massive game against Wellington Phoenix, who are also going very well and sit just three points and three places below them on the ladder.

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Finishing in second spot is massive when it comes to finals football as you get home advantage and two bites of the cherry. Catching City in the race for the minor premiership could be a step too far but Veart will be delighted with the way his side are tracking at the moment.

Tighter than ever at the top

Just below Adelaide United, three teams are all locked on 31 points following another mixed bag of results. The Mariners and Phoenix were the big winners thanks to victories over Macarthur and Sydney FC respectively.

Central Coast needed the three points after failing to get a win in the previous three games and it certainly steadies the ship. The Wanderers were the big losers but they will wonder how.

Mark Rudan’s side dominated against Perth and rattled the woodwork on numerous occasions before the home side grabbed the winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time at the end of the game. Wellington Phoenix are looking nailed on for finals after a third win out of four games and should be full of confidence heading into the game against Adelaide. 

Sydney FC may be looking over their shoulders though after losing two out of the last three. Thankfully for them the teams directly below them continue to lose. The Sky Blues are priced at 1.40 to finish in the top six.

Melbourne City edge past Roar

City returned to winning ways but were far from convincing as they edged past struggling Brisbane Roar 2-1. Roar have proven to be stubborn opposition already this season and it was the case again.

It looked as though the visitors had rescued a point in the 80th minute until Aiden O’Neill grabbed his second goal two minutes from time to earn the win. City are not looking at their best despite a healthy lead at the top of the ladder and the fans will be hoping they pick up again for finals.

Red cards continue to flow

There were another two red cards this weekend and it has been a familiar theme all season. Rarely does a round pass without at least one red card and there were two in the game between Perth Glory and Western Sydney Wanderers.

It lead to calls from Glory coach Ruben Zadkovich for referees to keep their cards in their pockets. However there can be no complaints about the two reds in the game which were both deserved.

Fans continue to stay away

The excitement was there at the weekend, but again the A-League is struggling to get the fans flocking into the stadiums. That is even the case for Melbourne City who sit top of the ladder with a star-studded team.

Just 4881 turned up to watch them beat Brisbane on Sunday afternoon. 4839 turned out to watch the six goal thriller between Newcastle and Adelaide on Saturday night and it is a similar theme throughout the rest of the league.

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