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Australian Football: Takeaways from Matchday 16

It was another cracking week of action in the A-League with passions running high in the big derby clash between Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC.

Just the 21 goals in the A-League in Matchday 16, a few less than previous weeks, but the excitement did not drop. If there were any doubts about a lack of passion in the A-League they were completely blown away at CommBank Stadium on Saturday night as Sydney FC left with a 1-0 win and bragging rights until the two sides meet again next month.

Elsewhere Melbourne City consolidated their healthy lead at the top of the ladder with a hard-fought 4-2 victory over Perth Glory at Macedonia Park.

Central Coast Mariners remain in touch following a 2-1 win over Brisbane Roar, while comeback of the week goes to Adelaide United who picked up a massive three points at Western United.

Melbourne Victory just cannot get going after slipping to a 2-1 defeat away at Newcastle, but there was a huge win for Macarthur, who will be hoping the 2-1 victory over Wellington Phoenix will get them back on track. Let’s take a look at the main talking points of Matchday 16.

Sydney FC are back with a bang

Just a few weeks ago there was talk that Sydney FC coach Steve Corica would soon be out of a job as the Sky Blues were sat outside of the top six and struggling for form.

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Three games and nine points later they are fifth on the ladder and looking up following a hard-fought 1-0 win in the derby clash against Western Sydney. It is fair to say Corica’s men have turned a corner and will now be out to finish the season strongly.

They were not at their best against the Wanderers. Indeed they were outplayed for large portions of the game and had to ride their luck at times. However a few weeks ago this was a game that Sydney FC would have lost. Instead they showed great spirit and determination to see the game out and pick up a crucial three points.

One big worry for them however is an injury to star striker Adam Le Fondre who had to leave the field with a hamstring injury and could be looking at a few weeks on the sidelines. Sydney face Brisbane Roar next and are priced at 19/20 to keep the good run going with another win.

Adelaide show true grit

Adelaide showed tremendous fighting spirit when coming from behind to beat Western United at AAMI Park on Saturday. The Reds looked dead and buried as they trailed Western 2-0 with 22 minutes left on the clock.

However inspired by Craig Goodwin they came fighting back to win the game 3-2. It was Socceroos ace Goodwin that kept his cool to slot home a penalty kick in the 86th minute to seal the three points.

Adelaide are unbeaten in five games, having picked up back-to-back wins to sit third on the A-League ladder. What will please coach Carl Veart most is the spirit shown by his players that should serve them well if and when they make finals this season.

Poor defending costs Victory

Just when Melbourne Victory hoped they may have turned a corner with a hard-fought win over Wellington Phoenix in Matchday 15, they reverted to type when losing 2-1 away at Newcastle.

Victory have conceded 21 goals this season, not the worst in the league by any means, however when you struggle to score them at the other end, it becomes a real problem.

Coach Tony Popovic was left extremely frustrated after watching his side level matters at 1-1 only to then conceded a ‘sloppy’ goal minutes later while being on top in the game.

Victory remain bottom of the ladder and things only get more difficult with a derby clash against Melbourne City next up.

Melbourne City march on

At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, Melbourne City are without doubt the stand-out team in the A-League. They faced a tricky test against a Perth Glory side that have made Macedonia Park a fortress.

The intimate temporary home was a sell-out and if ever City were to slip up, this was it. However they passed the test with flying colours.

Glory did well to level matters at 2-2 despite being down to 10 men, but two late goals earned City another big three points. Next up is the derby clash against Victory this Saturday with City priced at 23/20 to get the win.

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