It was an intriguing Round Eight of the Hyundai A-League, but one player stood out in this week’s Team of the Week.
It was a cagey week, with only three goals scored in the first four games. The amazing 3-3 draw between Melbourne Heart and Adelaide United brought Round 8 to life and this week’s star performer was central to the drama.
Player of the Week: Andrea Miglorini
It was a twist of fate that landed Andrea Miglorini at Melbourne Heart. The creative midfielder was trialling at Sydney FC while they were on their tour of Italy, but with their quota of overseas players filled, Heart pounced when Orlando Engelaar was injured in pre-season. They will be thankful for that after Miglorini’s star turn in their pulsating 3-3 draw with Adelaide United. It was the nature of the comeback that could spark Heart’s season and Miglorini’s spectacular double was the focus. His first goal was a screamer out of the top drawer. From 30 yards, the Udinese youth player looked up and hit a swerving, arrowing shot past Eugene Galekovic into the top corner. That made the score 1-2, but when Aziz Behich cut the ball back to the edge of the area ten minutes later, Miglorini hit a sensational volley to level the scores.
Team of the Week Round 8 B 2013/14
Ante Covic (Western Sydney Wanderers)
The evergreen Covic has played every minute for the Wanderers since their inception and at the age of 38, he is showing no signs of slowing down. Covic was plucked from relative obscurity by Guus Hiddink in the lead-up the 2006 World Cup and given his contributions to Newcastle Jets, Melbourne Victory and now Wanderers, they will be thankful for that. Covic was in typically good form on the weekend, his calm authority keeping a spirited Phoenix at bay. He made a vital late save to preserve both his clean sheet and a share of the points for his side.
Storm Roux (Central Coast Mariners)
Although Melbourne Victory outplayed Central Coast on Friday night, Storm Roux emerged from the 0-0 draw in credit. The Mariners right-back was solid in the face of victory pressure and when his side emerged with the ball, Roux was able to bomb forward to good effect down the right. He was a valuable outlet as the Mariners looked to relieve pressure and create an attacking threat. He and his left sided counterpart, Josh Rose, are key to the way the Mariners play.
Nicholas Ansell (Melbourne Victory)
Ansell came into the Victory line-up in place of the suspended Adrian Leijer and he dealt with the the intermittent threat of the Mariners with ease. Alongside Pablo Contreras, Ansell was comfortable in possession and his composure with the ball laid the platform for the Victory to go forward and attack the Mariners, which they did for 90 minutes. The only question is how they didn’t win the game.
Nikola Petkovic (Sydney FC)
Sydney FC’s Serbian centre back, Nikola Petkovic, has been a rock at the back as the Sky Blues have strung together a club-record four wins on the bounce. Petkovic has partnered Seb Ryall, Tiago Calvano and now Matt Jurman at the back for Sydney FC, but the constant change of partner has done nothing to unsettle Petkovic. He was superb again on Saturday night as his side ran out 2-0 winners against Newcastle Jets and his consistency has been key to Sydney FC’s rise up the table.
Adama Traore (Melbourne Victory)
Traore is one of the league’s best left backs and his ability to get forward and support the attack is a critical part of Melbourne Victory’s philosophy. Traore was at it again on Friday night against Central Coast, defending adeptly and attacking with relish. His delivery from the left was superb as usual and his overlapping runs open up space in the centre for Victory’s attacking trident and creative midfielders.
Aaron Mooy (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Mooy’s metronomic presence is reassuring for Wanderers, who drew 0-0 with Wellington at Westpac Stadium. His little-and-large partnership with Iacopo La Rocca in the centre of the park gives Wanderers a steely edge, with Mooy’s subtlety of passing complementing La Rocco’s robust tackling. Mooy was in excellent form again at the Cake Tin and will be hoping that more performances like this will place him at the forefront of Ange Postecoglou’s thoughts heading towards Brazil 2014.
Richard Garcia (Sydney FC)
Garcia has been a fantastic signing for Sydney FC, since arriving from Melbourne Heart in the off-season. His versatility has been a positive for the Sky Blues, having played on the wing and more recently as the centre forward after Frank Farina’s re-jig, which saw Alessandro Del Piero move into midfield. When the Italian superstar was injured on the weekend, Garcia took both the captain’s armband and the number 10 role and he excelled, winning the man of the match award in the eyes of many observers. His clever passing and accurate dribbling between the lines made him a constant threat and he is line to play a creative role again this weekend, if Del Piero doesn’t recover in time for their trip to play Central Coast.
Sergio Cirio (Adelaide United)
Cirio played his part in the thriller at AAMI Park, scoring the goal that put Adelaide United 2-0 up in just the 15th minute. Cirio was alive when Andrew Redmayne did well to save a shot from Jeronimo Neumann. The attacker was first to the scene to smash home the rebound and his neat passing was a feature of Adelaide’s excellent first half.
James Troisi (Melbourne Victory)
Troisi is in fantastic form for Victory and all that was missing from his performance on Friday night, was a goal. His ability to beat defenders and his eye for a goal have been at the forefront this season and he was at it again against Central Coast, ducking and weaving his way between defenders. He probably should have scored in the first half but he delayed his shot too long, allowing a Mariners defender to get his body in the way. Troisi’s form is building his case for inclusion at Brazil next year.
Besart Berisha (Brisbane Roar)
This guy just knows there the goal is. 38 in 60 appearances for the Roar has marked him out as the A-League’s premier marksman. Still to sign a contract for next season, the uncertainty surrounding his future is having no impact on his ability to find the back of the net. A shimmy and a step-over created enough space for him to lash a finish past Danny Vukovic in the Perth goal on Sunday and consequently allow Brisbane to take all three points and open up a three point lead at the top of the table.