The following are previews with betting tips for Round 22 of the 2018/19 A-League season.
Friday, March 15
Adelaide United v Perth Glory
7:00 PM AEDT, Coopers Stadium
A 15th minute goal and a 94th minute goal against Adelaide saw them go down 2-0 to Sydney. Poor shooting massively hampered Adelaide as they shot only 2/14 on target. And that was bad enough, however, compounding that was the opposition shooting 5/11 on target. In a plus for United, they did only give away nine fouls. They also won more duels then Sydney, 58 vs 53. But this was a damaging defeat for the away side as they are now only five points of slipping out of a much needed finals spot. But with City and Wellington both behind them in the pack, they can breathe easy for now. However one slip up, however small it is could prove to be costly. And if they were to claim a point vs Perth at home, it would be a massive statement of intent from them, even more so with all three points in hand.
Down 2-0 headed into the 84th minute, the Glory looked down and out after a Maclaren double had spurred the opposition into a commanding lead. Chianese then struck and seven minutes later so did the ‘Goat’ Diego Castro and things ended up all square. What a comeback by Tony Popovic’s side! Perth dominated with the ball as they had 66% possession. They also shot 4/11 on target. And they completed a nice 83% of their passes, 487/590. And they leaked in only 11 fouls. It’s a real testament to them that they were able to come back from such a defining margin. A win here would continue to keep the pressure on 2nd placed Sydney FC in the race for the Minor Premiership. As it currently stands Perth are two wins ahead of the closely chasing Sky Blues in 1st position.
Betting tip: Pick Perth to win at $2.50 (Sportsbet)
Also pick them to score first at $1.91 (Ladbrokes)
Saturday, March 16
Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners
5:35 PM AEDT, McDonald Jones Stadium
A late red to the opposition helped see Newcastle over the line in a game in which Petratos scored a simply amazing goal in his sides comprehensive 2-0 win over the Victory. Koutroumbis was the other goal-scorer for the Jets. Newcastle fired away at Melbourne’s defence with 22 shots but landed only five on target. However, they got the ones that counted most. And incredibly they had only 31% possession but still won the game. They also conceded only eight fouls. Ernie Merrick’s men have been gaining some form as of late and are slowly but surely catching up on the Phoenix for 6th spot. Newcastle are only two points of the Nix now. Although it should be noted that Wellington do have a game in hand. The Jets have won the past five F3 Derbies for an aggregate score of 18-4! A win here and last seasons Grand Finalists could well see themselves in a finals spot depending on other results. This match represents a must win for them.
Pain, O’Neil and Murray all found themselves on the score-sheet last game. That was in their sides exciting but also dejecting 5-3 loss to Brisbane. However more of note from the game was the Mariners two red cards given to O’Neil and Matt Simon. Surprisingly just the second red of Simon’s A-League career. He was sent of in the 95th minute of the match. And while wearing his heart on his sleeve as some see it or being a grub as others see it, he proceeded to call the ref a “f*****g dog”. This was without a doubt the most major talking point to come from this hotly contested game. And it was unfortunate timing to given not all that long before the game a well-known story by Fox Sports came out about a really cool and friendly thing Matt Simon did for a fan during his time at Sydney. It’s safe to say he is the captain and always leads forward, no matter what!
Betting tip: Pick Newcastle to be victorious at $1.47 (UniBet)
Also back them to score first at $1.40 (Ladbrokes)
Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar
7:50 PM AEDT, Marvel Stadium
The Victory’s last game was a 3-1 loss in their opening ACL game to Daegu. Toivonen opened the game’s scoring in the 29th minute. However the opposition hit back with strikes in the 31st, 51st and 61st minutes of the game to get the result in Melbourne. The Victory did quite well with 64% possession and 12 shots. However they weren’t quite good enough in their opening game of the new campaign. And it’s continuing a bad trend for them as they haven’t won a game since Round 17 and have lost their past two combined matches in a row. Their last A-League game meanwhile was a 2-0 loss to the Jets in which Donachie saw red late. The Victory had 14 shots and 61% of the ball. But similar to their ACL game they couldn’t really convert on what they had. Only three of their shots found the target vs Newcastle. They did win more duels then the Jets though in a small positive for them, 52 vs 49. Given they are 10 points of 1st placed Perth, 2nd place is now a more realistic target for them. They are currently only four points of the 2nd placed Sky Blues.
Lopez twice, Bautheac, Mikkelsen and Wenzel-Halls all got on the score-sheet in their sides dramatic 5-3 victory over the Mariners. They saw the Mariners get red carded twice in what was the tense battle battle between the A-League’s two cellar dwellers. And recently of the field they signed Eli Babalj. He is a two-time Socceroo’s player and most recently was playing in India. He is signed until the remainder of the season after he impressed in a trial for Brisbane. He will have some hefty boots to fill given Adam Taggart’s still recent Asia departure. And Taggart is finding the back of the net overseas just like he was for Brisbane. As it currently stands the Roar are in 9th spot on 15 points. But they are only two points of the 8th placed Wanderers. And given Western Sydney will face Wellington this round, depending on other game/s they could well leapfrog above them.
Also pick the total goals bracket to be 4+ at $2.30 (TopBetta)
Sunday, March 17
Wellington Phoenix v Western Sydney Wanderers
5:00 PM AEDT, Westpac Stadium
An Adam Le Fondre penalty proved costly in the Nix’s 1-0 defeat to Sydney. As things now stand, they are a loss and a Jets win of slipping out of a finals spot and into 7th position. The Phoenix had as many shots on target as Sydney, four, but couldn’t find the back of the net it the tight affair. The Nix also gave away a massive 17 fouls, this is something that they’ll need to fix ASAP for their game against the Wanderers. The opposition are in form and will make them pay if they continue to be clumsy. The Phoenix did though complete 80% of their passes in a good testament to their play under Mark Rudan. And the Nix have a GD of -1 whereas the Jets are +1 in that department. While they were looking strong at the start of the season, they have dropped of a lil bit as of late and it’s showing. This game is simply put a must, must win for Wellington! There’s no other way around it. They need to win it to keep some breathing room between them and Newcastle.
Credit is due where credit is due as the Wanderers fought and battled their way to a closely contested 1-all draw vs the league-leaders Glory. And Elrich was the man responsible for his side claiming an un-expected result as he scored the late 95th minute equaliser. The Wanderers gave away only 10 fouls and completed 87% of their passes in two massive ups for Babbels men. While Gallifuoco recently signed with the Red & Black until the end of the season as an injury replacement for O’Doherty. The former Rieti man gives his new side a bit of a punch as they seek to end their season on a high. However, given the Wanderers won’t/can’t be doing anything notable this season. Perhaps a youth replacement might have been the better option? Regardless he should still prove to be a solid signing for the Red & Black.
Betting tip: Pick the Nix to prevail and win at $2.08 (TopBetta)
However, pick the Wanderers to score and find the back of the net first at $2.25 (Bet365)
Sydney FC v Melbourne City
7:00 PM AEDT, Leichardt Oval
Sydney were forced to settle for a 0-0 draw against Ulsan Hyundai in what was a positive start to their ACL campaign. They dominated the game with 55% possession and 17 shots but they couldn’t find their way past a stern Ulsan defence. Le Fondre, Gucci and Ninkovic all missed great chances to score as the Sky Blues only saw two of their shots go on target. But in an achievement to them they managed to keep the opposition to only two shots on target. This was the type of start Sydney were looking for after a disappointing Asian campaign last season. And most recently they looked the goods in their 2-0 win over Adelaide. Their goal-scorers were Gucci and Devlin in what was a pretty good performance from the home-side. Sydney are now only two wins behind 1st placed Perth and four points ahead of 2nd placed Melbourne. The Sky Blues are aiming high and rightfully so. A win here in a fixture they’ve recently dominated will again help them keep the pressure on Perth.
Maclaren scored twice and now has five goals in four games for City. However, even the magical striker wasn’t enough as City blew a 2-0 lead as they conceded goals in the 84th minute and 91st minute of the game to draw 2-2 against City. This was a game that Warren Joyce’s men should have won, but they didn’t. Even with Maclaren now in the fold they won’t go too far into the finals if all they can get is draws or uninspiring wins. City are now 5th on 30 points and one point of 4th placed Adelaide. However, because of their recent string of draws the 7th placed Jets are now only four points behind them. City themselves, Adelaide, Wellington and the Jets are now emroiled in a four-team battle for only two finals spots. At the minimum City need to secure a point here. They simply need to! It’s a must do for them!
Betting tip: Pick the Sky Blues to win at $2.00 (bet365)
Also pick Le Fondre to score at anytime when the match odds become available
Best Bet of the Round
My best/favourite bet of the round is for Newcastle to be victorious at $1.47 (UniBet). They desperately need the win to stay in the hunt for a finals spot and what better team to do it against than the struggling Mariners!