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A-League: Five things we learnt from Matchday 1

The 2023/24 A-League campaign got underway with defeats for both Melbourne City and Central Coast Mariners.

Both City and the Mariners contested last season’s grand final, with Central Coast coming out on top, but the new campaign has not started well.

The Mariners suffered a 3-0 defeat away at Adelaide United on Friday night after being reduced to 10 men, while City suffered a surprise 2-1 home defeat against Western United.

Melbourne Victory picked up an impressive 2-0 victory away at Sydney FC, while the other three games finished in a draw.

Macarthur FC and Brisbane fought out a 1-1 draw, Western Sydney Wanderers were held 0-0 at home against Wellington Phoenix, while Perth Glory versus Newcastle Jets finished 2-2.

Here are five things we learnt from Matchday 1.

Victory unearth a gem

You have a lot to live up to when you are a French midfielder by the name of Zinedine, but Melbourne Victory new boy Zinedine Machach got off to a great start.

The 27-year-old capped an impressive A-League debut with a late strike in the 2-0 win over Sydney FC on Saturday.

Machach showed plenty of power and skill to burst his way into the box before applying a tidy finish to wrap up the points.

It looks like Victory could have landed a gem for the season ahead.

Perfect start for Victory

Staying with Tony Popovic’s side and the gritty win at Allianz Stadium showed they are determined to put last season’s horror campaign behind them.

Victory just avoided the wooden spoon last season, but can be backed at 8.00 to win the grand final in the season ahead.

They put in a solid team performance and in Bruno Fornaroli, who grabbed the first goal, have a striker that knows where the back of the net is at this level.

Sydney FC defensive concerns

Sydney FC coach Steve Corica will be concerned by the performance of his defence in the defeat to Victory.

It was a tidy finish from Fornaroli but a glaring error gifted him the opportunity, while the Sky Blues defence looked weak as Machach powered through for the second goal.

The defence was opened up on a number of occasions on Saturday and they will need to tighten up if they are to be in with a chance of silverware.

Mariners miss star men

Central Coast Mariners may be the reigning premiers, but there has been a lot of changes since the 6-1 win over Melbourne City.

Nick Montgomery left his position as coach, while star striker Jason Cummings was among a number of key players to move on.

On the evidence of the 3-0 defeat against Adelaide, the Mariners could struggle to defend their title and new boss Mark Jackson has a big job on his hands.

Central Coast are 7.00 to win the grand final.

Question marks over Melbourne City

The jury will also remain out on Melbourne City for now, despite them being the hot 4.00 fancies to win the grand final.

Again, some big names have moved on, and it remains to be seen if they have done enough to replace them.

It is only one game of course, but a 2-1 home loss against Western United, could make the supporters nervous for the season ahead.

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