A-League: Wins keep coming as Veart's upwardly mobile Adelaide go third

By Sports Desk March 21, 2021

Adelaide United racked up a fifth successive A-League victory and jumped to third place as Carl Veart's team cruised to a 4-1 away win over Newcastle Jets.

Goals from Kusini Yengi, Stefan Mauk, Ben Halloran and Craig Goodwin put Adelaide 4-0 up at the break, with lowly Newcastle's reply coming from Apostolos Stamatelopoulos midway through the second half.

The pre-match omens were poor for Newcastle, with Adelaide having won five times and lost only once in their last eight A-League clashes with the Jets, including a 2-1 victory earlier in March.

Yengi dispossessed home captain Nigel Boogaard much too easily and was able to slot a simple fifth-minute opener, before Mauk scored his sixth goal of the season by turning in a cross on 11 minutes as the Newcastle defence stood and watched.

Head coach Veart watched admiringly as Halloran tucked in the third from a tight angle in the 40th minute, with a penalty from Goodwin stretching the lead three minutes later after Yengi was ruled to have been tripped.

Newcastle had won just one of their last five A-League games at McDonald Jones Stadium and this contest had effectively slipped beyond the Jets' reach after a dreadful first-half performance.

Former Adelaide forward Stamatelopoulos headed a consolation in the 69th minute, but Newcastle stay second-bottom of the 12-team league.

Wellington Phoenix and Brisbane Roar split the points in a 1-1 draw earlier at the same stadium, as Newcastle staged a double-header.

Tomer Hemed fired Wellington ahead in the 42nd minute with a precise shot into the left corner from 15 yards after James McGarry's cross from the left was blocked.

Brisbane pushed hard for a leveller in the second half and substitute Golgol Mebrahtu found it in the 86th minute, diving in at the far post to nod in Macaulay Gillesphey's expert delivery from a deep position on the left flank.

Gillesphey was sent off in stoppage time for pulling down Jaushua Sotirio as he charged through in search of a winner for Wellington.

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  • Jamaica’s WWC qualification “A triumph for the Caribbean” Jamaica’s WWC qualification “A triumph for the Caribbean”

    The day Jamaica created history and qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the axis of the women’s game in CONCACAF shifted in a seismic way.

    Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz’s qualification to France 2019 signified in part an unprecedented growth and development leap for the Caribbean.

    Importantly, too, the fairytale success story was of monumental historical proportion, as the island became the first from the region to be catapulted into the stratosphere of the global game and its greatest stage, the World Cup.

    On October 17, 2018, at the Concacaf Women’s Championship inside Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, Jamaica achieved the unthinkable.

    In the third-place match, the Girlz defeated Panama in an epic match, which ended 2-2 after regulation and extra time. And the two, with the scent of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France in scope, had to be separated by the dreaded penalties. As it turned out, Jamaica triumphed 4-2, and the rest, as they say, is history.

    On that magical journey, was assistant coach Andrew Price and he recalled the momentous occasion as if it happened yesterday.

    “The emotions were like a roller-coaster on the bench in that final qualifying game [against Panama]. We took the lead on two occasions and lost it twice. We deliberately saved our changes late in the game to ensure that we would have been prepared for extra time.

    “But the masterstroke was when we decided to replace goalkeeper Sydney Schneider with Nicole McClure. We had practised penalties the day before and Nicole was amazing in goal, so when we saw the clock winding down, it was important that we put her on the pitch before time expired,” said Price.

    As part of a technical team led by Head Coach Hue Menzies, the assistant coach revelled in the tactical astuteness of the coaches, for he thought the off-the-field decisions had a positive impact on the outcome of the match.

    “In practising the penalty kicks, we made the players make the long walk from half-line to the penalty box to take each kick, so for that match day the players would be prepared for the scenario, and everything worked to perfection. As you know, Nicole saved two penalties and we scored all our penalties,” Price re-collected.       

    The experienced tactician said there was self-belief in the camp that the World Cup dream was reachable as the team went through the layers of qualification.

    “The confidence and self-belief came after the first round of the Caribbean World Cup Qualifying held in Haiti. It was a difficult tournament in terms of the conditions and environment that the young ladies had to face.

    “The real test was the final game of the round, between ourselves and the host Haiti, as we battled for the one qualifying spot. We went into the game on similar points, but we had a superior goal difference of two goals. All we needed was to draw to advance. In front of a partisan and sometimes hostile crowd of 15,000 Haitian supporters, we trailed 2-0 in the first half.

    “But we showed our real strength by pulling a goal back before halftime. During the halftime talk, we told the Girlz to relax and play their normal game. They went out, and in a stirring performance, silenced the crowd with the equalizing goal. For the remainder of the match, we fought tooth and nail to ensure we advanced to the next round,” Price reminisced.

    As the qualifying journey took its twists and turns, the Girlz saw themselves more than just competitors but real contenders for a spot at France 2019.

    “With each passing round of the qualification, the confidence of the Girlz grew. They believed they were on a mission to accomplish something great. They grew into a closely-knit family -- all for one and one for all. They were willing to be patient and trust the process, and they did so one game at a time. They took obstacles as inspiration to work that much harder,” said Price.

    He said when the final whistle went in the decisive match against Panama, there was a feeling of euphoria that swept through the team and all the support staff.

    “We were just overcome with joy. The immediate reaction was to scream, ‘We did it’. We were so elated. We jumped and hugged each other. Then our next reaction was to get on the pitch and celebrate with the Girlz. The moment was surreal. It was as if time stopped for the moment,” Price said.

    Jamaica’s success, said Price, was a signature moment for the entire Caribbean, a rallying cry that anything is possible if one dares to dream.

    “Most definitely it was a triumph for the entire Caribbean. No different from when Haiti qualified for their first Men's World Cup in 1974. It inspired nations like Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago that it could be done. Similarly, our historic qualification will inspire other Caribbean countries. The gap is closing between the world powers in football and the others, as a global village has made the catching up achievable,” he reasoned.

    “Previously in Concacaf, the automatic teams would be the USA, Canada and Mexico. But now you have Costa Rica, Jamaica, Panama, Haiti, Trinidad and others knocking at the door. This comes as a result of FIFA and Concacaf assisting significantly in the development of the Women's game,” Price added.

    In France, the Girlz lost all their Group C matches, but even in defeat against significantly stronger opponents, the learning experience was priceless.

    “From the draw, we were quite aware we were in the ‘Group of Death’, with top-ranked teams such as Brazil, Australia and Italy. It was always going to be difficult against these teams. But we made up our minds that we were going to be competitive and give a good account of ourselves. The experience we gained was all a part of the learning curve. It is the experience you can only get by playing against the best,” Price noted.

  • Bayer Leverkusen 1-5 Bayern Munich: Nagelsmann's side turn on the style to reclaim top spot Bayer Leverkusen 1-5 Bayern Munich: Nagelsmann's side turn on the style to reclaim top spot

    Bayern Munich helped themselves to five first-half goals as they thumped Bayer Leverkusen 5-1 on Sunday to return to the top of the Bundesliga.

    The reigning champions suffered their first defeat of Julian Nagelsmann's tenure last time out, but they responded in the best way imaginable at BayArena.

    Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry helped themselves to a couple of goals each in a one-way first half, with Thomas Muller registering in between those doubles.

    Leverkusen were level on points with Bayern before kick-off and pulled one back through Patrik Schick, but Nagelsmann's side were able to cruise through the rest of the match to overtake Borussia Dortmund at the summit.

    The hosts had won their previous five matches in all competitions, keeping a clean sheet in the last three of those, but it took Lewandowski just three minutes to backheel Dayot Upamecano's centre past Lukas Hradecky.

    Bayern went on to lose after opening the scoring against Frankfurt, but there was no sign of that happening against Leverkusen. Shortly after Leroy Sane sent a shot against the right post, Lewandowski lashed home a second of the game on the half-hour.

    That was the first of four goals in seven minutes, with Muller in the right place to deflect in a Niklas Sule shot before setting up Gnabry to score. Gnabry then joined Lewandowski in bagging a brace with a shot into the bottom-left corner.

    The visitors had kept a clean sheet in only one of their last nine league games, however, and that poor defensive record was extended when Schick latched onto Florian Wirtz's throughball and arrowed a shot past Manuel Neuer in the 55th minute.

    Sane squandered a couple of good opportunities to get in on the act, including a header over the bar from close range, while a disallowed Lucas Alario goal for offside was the closest Leverkusen went to further reducing the deficit.

  • Bayern score five first-half goals as Leverkusen suffer Bayern score five first-half goals as Leverkusen suffer

    Bayern Munich became the third-fastest side in Bundesliga history to score five goals in an away match as they raced into a 5-0 lead against Bayer Leverkusen inside 37 minutes.

    The reigning champions tasted their first defeat of Julian Nagelsmann's tenure at home to Eintracht Frankfurt prior to the international break, but they responded in style at BayArena.

    After going back-to-back league games without scoring for the first time in two years, Robert Lewandowski flicked Bayern into the lead inside three minutes in Sunday's match.

    Lewandowski scored a second on the half-hour mark and Thomas Muller was next on the scoresheet four minutes later.

    Serge Gnabry added a quickfire brace of his own, the Germany international dinking in Bayern's fourth of the contest before slotting in number five two minutes later.

    Only twice before in Bundesliga history has an away side scored five goals in a quicker time from kick-off – Borussia Dortmund against Schalke (23 minutes) and Karlsruhe versus Frankfurt (30 minutes), both in 1964.

    There have been 10 occasions when teams have scored five or more goals in the first half of a Bundesliga game this century, with Bayern responsible for six of those 45-minute thrashings, including when they put five past Dortmund before the break in March 2018 on the way to a 6-0 win.

    Leverkusen are no strangers to one-sided first halves, meanwhile, as they are the only team to have scored six goals in the opening 45 minutes of a match in the division since the turn of the millennium, doing so in their 6-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in 2018-19.

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