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Australian Football: Takeaways from Matchday 19

Matchday 19 was always going to be crucial at the top of the ladder with the top four clubs playing each other and it did not disappoint.

Melbourne City suffered just their third defeat of the season when losing 4-2 against Adelaide United, while Western Sydney Wanderers picked up a massive three points with a 2-0 win over Central Coast Mariners.

Sydney FC took the bragging rights in the “Big Blue” courtesy of a 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory, while Western United have jumped up the ladder with a 2-1 win over Perth Glory. Wellington Phoenix held on to fifth spot with a crucial 2-1 win over the Newcastle Jets, while in the final game of the round Macarthur edged a thrilling 3-2 win over Brisbane Roar. 

Throw in a couple of red cards and it was a round that had pretty much a bit of everything. But what were the main takeaways from the Matchday 19? Let’s take a look.

Adelaide eye Grand Final glory

While the minor premiership may be just out of reach, it looks as though Adelaide United could be peaking at just the right time for finals.

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Melbourne City set for tough Adelaide Test

The Reds were very impressive as they put ladder-leaders Melbourne City to the sword 4-2 in the opening game of the round on Friday night. They sit third on the ladder, six points behind City, who have played a game less and it looks sure to be an exciting climax to the season.

Adelaide United are now unbeaten in eight games, winning four of them, and if they can keep this run going they could take some stopping. They are priced at 9.00 to win the Grand Final. Momentum is key at this stage of the season and can carry a team a long way. Maybe it can carry the Reds all the way to the Grand Final glory.

Adelaide unearth another gem

Staying with Adelaide United for now and they appear to have unearthed another gem in the form of teenage starlet Nestory Irankunda. The A-League has been producing some hot, talented youngsters that eventually make their way to Europe, and it could well be that Irankunda is the next.

Adelaide coach Carl Veart certainly thinks so after watching the 17-year-old come off the bench and score his second goal in as many games in the win over Melbourne City. It was the youngster’s third of the season and Veart is convinced there is much more to come from him.

Veart says if the player keeps showing the same determination and willingness to learn, reaching the top will be “very attainable” for him.

Western Sydney are genuine title contenders

While Adelaide are in the mix to win the Grand Final this season, the same can be said of Western Sydney Wanderers who are level on points with them. Matchday 19 was always going to be huge at the top of the ladder and the Wanderers were also one of the winners as they defeated Central Coast Mariners 2-0. 

It was a “six-pointer” if ever there was one and the win puts Wanderers in second place on the ladder while the Mariners slip to fourth. Everyone was talking the Wanderers up at the start of the season and despite the odd dip along the way they remain right in the thick of things. 

Again they could be another side peaking at just the right time and the finals campaign looks sure to be interesting. If the Wanderers were the winners then of course there has to be a loser and that was the Mariners who are now sitting in fourth and anxiously looking over their shoulder at the teams below them.

Western back in the mix for the six

With the A-League ladder being so tight it does not take much for things to change rapidly and that could be the case with Western United. Their 2-1 win over Perth Glory came on the back of an impressive 3-1 win over the Newcastle Jets the week before and moves them to within five points of the top six. 

Closing that gap and making finals over the last six games of the regular season is a big ask but at least John Aloisi’s side are giving the fans some hope. Next up are two massive games against teams around them, Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar.

Another couple of wins and the Western fans really will be dreaming of finals.

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