Round Six featured a number of outstanding individual performances. A mixture of youth and experience prevails in this week’s Team of the Week.
Sydney FC’s Alessandro Del Piero and Western Sydney Wanderers’ Matthew Spiranovic both make the XI for the second week running and amongst the rest of the side, there were some irresistible cases for inclusion.
Player of the Week: Adam Taggart
Adam Taggart is in the form of his life for the Newcastle Jets. Fresh from scoring a delightful chipped goal in their win over Adelaide in Round Five, Taggart went one better in Round Six, scoring twice as the Jets came from behind to beat Brisbane Roar. Taggart showed his prowess in front of goal with two very different strikes, the first a cheeky dink over Michael Theo when one-on-one, the second a thunderbolt into the top corner. In monsoonal conditions at Hunter Stadium, Taggart proved the difference.
Team of the Week Round 6 B 2013/14
Vedran Janjetovic (Sydney FC)
The Sydney FC gloveman had a busy night down in Melbourne, making a number of important saves to keep a clean sheet against Melbourne Heart. It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Sky Blues and they could easily have gone behind early when Heart’s Michael Mifsud found himself one-on-one with the ‘keeper, but Janjetovic made an important block save. It was the first of a number of vital interventions and as Heart threatened to get back in the game with a late rally, Janjetovic stood tall.
Jason Geria (Melbourne Victory)
Geria has become an important part of the Melbourne Victory back four this season and his performance on Saturday night belied his tender years. Confronted by the pace of Mark Bridge and the overlapping runs of Adam D’Appuzo, Geria kept a close watch on the pair of them until his eventual substitution in the 87th minute as Victory chased the game.
Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Wanderers coach Tony Popovic has preferred Spiranovic to the club captain, Michael Beauchamp, for their last two matches. The move had paid dividends as the Wanderers have kept consecutive clean sheets and Spiranovic has found himself in back to back Teams of the Week. His composure alongside Nikolai Topor-Stanley, and his ability to pass the ball out from the back has added another dimension to the Wanderers back four.
Osama Malik (Adelaide United)
Malik made his 50th Hyundai A-League appearance and marked it with his first goal, a towering back post header that gave his side the lead. Malik was a dominant presence at the back and his partnership with Jon McKain showed great promise. Unfortunately for Malik, his rare goal wasn’t enough to give his side all three points, but the signs are there for Adelaide.
Ali Abbas (Sydney FC)
Sydney FC’s jack-of-all-trades has been a regular for Frank Farina’s side this season. Usually in the starting line-up in midfield or on the left wing, Abbas filled in for the suspended Marc Warren at left-back and turned in an exemplary performance. The Iraq international defended well and attacked with aplomb, bombing forward spectacularly to set up Joel Chianese for Sydney FC’s second goal of the night. His performance will give Farina food for thought when Warren returns from suspension.
Rashid Mahazi (Melbourne Victory)
With Melbourne Victory missing their captain, Mark Milligan due to international duty, Rashid Mahazi stepped into the breach. The 21-year-old played the full 90 minutes at Pirtek Stadium and was composed in the face of an intimidating atmosphere and high quality opposition. Mahazi used possession wisely and was part of the screen in midfield that kept Wanderers superstar, Shinji Ono, quiet for most of the game.
Aaron Mooy (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Aaron Mooy and Iacopo La Rocca are the platform on which the Wanderers midfield is built and so it proved again on the weekend. They are unbeaten this season and on a four game winning streak, thanks in no small part to the ability of Mooy. He was at it again on Saturday evening, keeping the ball with tidy passing and providing attacking spark from deep with his vision and long passing ability. Mooy is continuing to go from strength to strength.
Leigh Broxham (Melbourne Victory)
Leigh Broxham was handed the captain's armband for the match against the Wanderers in the absence of Milligan and he led by example on a soggy night in Sydney’s west. His performance was full of industry and his work-rate was unbelievable. Broxham used his experience to guide Mahazi, his junior partner, through a testing 90 minutes and they are reunited in this week’s Team of the Week.
Labinot Haliti (Western Sydney Wanderers)
What a luxury it must be for Tony Popovic to have a player of Labinot Haliti’s quality on the bench and the winger again proved to be the joker in the pack. He replaced Shannon Cole in the 69th minute and made the game’s decisive contribution. Haliti turned his defender with a swift drop of the shoulder and whipped the ball into the box to create the match-winning goal for Mark Bridge.
Alessandro Del Piero (Sydney FC)
Frank Farina deployed Alessandro Del Piero in midfield for their Friday night match against Heart and the Italian pulled the strings magnificently. His passing from a deeper position was superlative and his through ball to Chianese saw Sydney FC win a penalty, which Del Piero converted with ease. Del Piero completed his second consecutive 90 minutes after his return from injury and looked fit and hungry. It is no coincidence the marquee man's return have resulted in Sydney FC’s back-to-back wins.