Brown ‘outstanding’ on Brisbane return

Corey Brown's display on his return to Suncorp Stadium drew praise from Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat, after the defending champions beat Brisbane Roar 4-2.

Brown was making something of an emotional homecoming to Brisbane, where he had played the whole of his career until moving to Melbourne in the off-season.

His return could well have ended in a serious injury, when he was clattered by Eric Bautheac's challenge 20 minutes into the match.

But he managed to avoid the full force of the tackle, which earned a yellow card for the Frenchman and moments later a second booking for shoving, and played an excellent game, according to Muscat.

"He was fairly lucky in that tackle that he didn't get injured, but I thought his performance and his discipline and control was outstanding," said the coach.

"I had a couple of chats with Corey. He's been steadily building and tonight, to get caught up in an emotion, going back to your old club, sometimes distracts you from what's important to yourself and the team."

It was the first game Brown had played in an opposition team in Brisbane, a city where he grew up and played 88 times for the Roar and where his father Rod was an NSL Grand Finalist with Brisbane Strikers.

The left wing-back helped Victory secure a sixth consecutive win, which put them at least temporarily back at the top of the A-League table.

Kosta Barbarouses scored twice for the visitors, Keisuke Honda netted from the penalty spot and Ola Toivonen scored for Victory and then headed an own goal minutes later.

Muscat was again without defender Georg Niedermeier, who will hope to overcome his bruised ankle in time for next weekend's derby against Melbourne City.

Victory are 5/4 to win their next game against Melbourne City, who are 21/10 with the draw 12/5.

Victory are 7/1 to win the game 1-0.

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Six of the best as Victory go top

Melbourne Victory took over at the top of the A-League table with a sixth consecutive win, as they beat Brisbane Roar 4-2.

A remarkable game at Suncorp Stadium saw six goals, two penalties and a red card in the first half.

Victory's Ola Toivonen scored at both ends, heading an own goal just 10 minutes after putting his team ahead 2-1.

Brisbane were reduced to 10 men only 20 minutes into the match, when French marquee Eric Bautheac was shown two yellow cards, but still they managed to score twice before half-time.

The goals were all confined to a 34-minute period in the first-half, but the game started with a dramatic escape for Victory, who cleared the ball off their goalline three times within seconds.

Avraam Papadopoulos, Adam Taggart and Stefan Mauk were all denied, to the home crowd's disbelief, and the Roar conceded the first goal on 13 minutes.

Kosta Barbarouses got the first of his two on the night when he swept home a James Troisi pass, after Keisuke Honda had won the ball in midfield.

Brisbane's hopes took another big dent seven minutes later when Bautheac launched into a wild challenge on Victory defender Corey Brown.

He earned a yellow card for the challenge, but then became involved in a scuffle off the ball and referee Adam Fielding dismissed him.

The 10 men levelled from the penalty spot when Honda tripped Adam Taggart inside the area and the Roar striker picked himself up to convert.

Toivonen put the visitors back in front, sweeping home his third goal in as many games, and it became 3-1 with five minutes to go to half-time.

Daniel Bowles was pinged for a handball in the box and Honda stepped up to net his fifth goal of the campaign.

Toivonen misdirected a header when Alex Lopez sent in a free-kick to get the Roar back into the game at 3-2, but there was still time for a sixth goal of the half.

Two minutes into added time, Honda and Troisi set up Barbarouses for the All Whites international to net against his former club.

The Roar are 15/8 to win their next game against Wellington, who are 11/8 with the draw 12/5.

Brisbane are 10/1 to win the game 1-0.

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Spiranovic could make quick return

Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic has indicated he's prepared to risk defender Matthew Spiranovic in next week's clash with Sydney FC.

Spiranovic will sit out Sunday's trip to Newcastle Jets with a hamstring injury he picked up in the first half of last weekend's 1-0 victory against Melbourne City.

It was the former Socceroo's first league game since he recovered from a year-long hip injury. But the club have learned he doesn't have a tear in his muscle and he was able to return to running again on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old could return against the Sky Blues, who have won the last two premierships.

Popovic said: "(The scans showed) there was some fluid there, just a little bit, which we've seen previously with him; it's just about managing it now.

"He was running yesterday and was confident and felt no pain at all, so that's a really good sign. If he can do the full week's training next week, I'd say he'd be a really good chance."

The coach has the option of asking Spiranovic, who played in two youth games before making his senior return, to go back to that level and test himself before stepping back to the A-League.

But he said: "When you've been out for that long, the challenge will always be there when he comes back to the first time. We could wait two months, and still that first three or four games will be difficult for him."

Leaders Perth will still be without Alex Grant (foot) and Scott Neville (ankle) against Newcastle, but Juande could play after overcoming a knee niggle.

The Glory have an unbeaten run at McDonald Jones Stadium that stretches back to 2011.

Perth are 19/10 to win their next game against Newcastle, who are 29/20 with the draw 12/5.

Ziegler could miss derby

Defender Patrick Ziegler is in danger of missing Western Sydney Wanderers' derby clash with Sydney FC at ANZ Stadium.

The German centre-back played his first game of the season last weekend when Markus Babbel's side beat Central Coast 2-0.

Babbel was delighted to see the former Kaiserslautern player slot into the defence after two months out with a knee injury, but he hasn't pulled up well from his debut.

Ziegler has suffered considerable swelling and soreness around the joint since playing a full 90 minutes last Friday.

Babbel has not yet ruled him out though and will leave it up to the player to decide whether he's fit enough to play.

"We will have a look at how it is, I hope he can play on Saturday," said Babbel. "After the game it was a little bit swollen so we'll have a look.

"He is old enough and has enough experience to say, 'I can play 100 percent or not'. I hope he can play because he's very important for us."

Babbel should have attacking midfielder Roly Bonevacia available, with the Dutchman having been sidelined since the round three win away to Wellington.

Keeper Vedran Janjetovic will make his 150th A-League appearance overall and his 50th for Western Sydney against his former club.

He said: "It's a little bit special against Sydney I guess. It feels good, the milestone for myself, keep pushing and hopefully get another 150 to wrap it all up."

Wanderers have a poor record against their derby rivals, with just one win in their last 15 meetings.

Only one of their past 11 league wins, dating back to late in the 2016/17 season, has come against an opponent in the top six at the time.

Western Sydney are 5/2 to win their next game against Sydney FC, who are 23/20 with the draw 12/5.

McCormack goes back to England

Central Coast striker Ross McCormack has returned to England after picking up a knee injury late last month.

The Scotland international, who is on loan with the Mariners for the whole season, has gone back to parent club Aston Villa for assessment on his injury.

The marquee was injured in the 3-2 defeat away to league leaders Perth Glory, and has missed the past two games.

His absence is a blow for the Gosford club, who have lost five games on the trot and are bottom of the table with just two points from seven matches.

Coach Mike Mulvey said McCormack had flown back to the UK to check in with a specialist, adding: "We expect him back just before Christmas and the best situation we can see at this stage would be having Ross eligible for selection for our New Year's Eve game against Perth Glory."

Saturday's trip to Wellington Phoenix could see the return of young striker Jordan Murray, who has made four substitute appearances so far since signing in the off-season.

Murray scored prolifically in the NPL for APIA Leichhardt, netting 43 goals in 64 games over a two-year stint.

Mulvey said Murray was an exciting prospect who was chomping at the bit and deserved his opportunity.

The Mariners are hoping to have both Tommy Oar and Corey Gameiro back on the field around the turn of the year.

Oar has started running again, following a knee problem, and could play at home to Newcastle on 23rd December, while Gameiro is closing in on his club debut.

Speaking of Gameiro, Mulvey said: "He is working hard to return from a calf injury and we're confident that we will have him back to full team training around that Christmas period."

Central Coast are 6/1 to finish in the top six.

The Mariners are 7/2 to win their next game against Wellington Phoenix, who are 3/4 with the draw 11/4.

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Roar retain confidence in Aloisi

Coach John Aloisi has been given a vote of confidence but Brisbane Roar know they need to get their season going soon.

The Roar have only won one of their first seven games, and find themselves second from bottom in the A-League.

It makes their home game against defending champions Melbourne Victory on Friday vital, as they are already 11 points off leaders Perth Glory.

Brisbane's last home match produced a 2-0 win over Melbourne City, but they have since lost on the road against Adelaide United and Newcastle.

It's a tough sequence of games for Aloisi's side, who will be back on the road for three consecutive games after they host Victory.

It's not the kind of start the club had been expecting, after they had recruited a number of talented players like Adam Taggart, Australian under-23 international Stefan Mauk and Spanish midfielder Alex Lopez.

Roar vice-chairman Christopher Fong said: "There's a lot of pressure on the playing group and the football department to perform better than they have; not just from the board, but I think from themselves.

"It's still early days; we certainly have a good roster on paper, there's just something missing and we're confident that John's going to pull it around."

Brisbane will be facing a Victory side who have won five games in a row to move up to second in the table.

Captain Matt McKay says the Roar have played well the past two weeks without getting anything from their games.

"It's not panic stations … we're all in it together, the whole club … this club is going to fight and get to where we belong," he added.

Taggart should be available to start after coming off the bench against the Jets due to a groin niggle, while Mauk will be in the frame as he continues to recover from concussion.

Brisbane are 33/1 to win the Grand Final.

The Roar are 13/5 to win their next game against Melbourne Victory, who are 1/1 with the draw 5/2.

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Broxham keen to keep winning

Leigh Broxham is happy to see a winning mentality building at Melbourne Victory as they look to defend their A-League championship.

Victory saw off Adelaide United 2-0 at Marvel Stadium to secure a fifth consecutive win. Having started with defeats in their first two games, Kevin Muscat's side have emerged as the leading challengers to unbeaten Perth Glory.

They are only two points behind Perth after seven rounds and they will travel to Suncorp Stadium this weekend confident of making it six wins in a row.

Broxham, who has spent his entire career with Victory, knows what it takes to make a championship-winning squad – he's won four Grand Finals during his time, as well as three premierships.

"We are not losing our minds celebrating in the changing rooms but it's the drive of winning, getting that winning mentality which is important for us," said the one-cap Socceroo.

Speaking of the game against the Reds, Broxham added: "It took a while to break them down; they work hard, they are resilient. they work for each other.

"We knew that's what it would be like, we knew we had to keep going and breaking them down and we did that in the second half."

Broxham now ranks fourth on the all-time list of games played in the A-League, with 271, while Andrew Durante and Nikolai Topor-Stanley are the only active players above him on the list.

Muscat is delighted with the was Broxham was able to adjust to a new role early in the Adelaide game after an injury to German centre back Georg Niedermeier.

The coach said: "Georg comes back in and, after moments, after minutes, we've had to reshuffle and it was a credit to Terry [Antonis] and Leigh, who had to restructure and play different positions and they picked that up very, very quickly."

Melbourne Victory are 4/1 to win the Grand Final and 11/10 to win their next game against Brisbane Roar, who are 23/10 with the draw 5/2.

Popovic: Glory flat after long trip

Coach Tony Popovic felt his Perth Glory team took time to get going against Melbourne City because they were still recovering from their trip to Wellington.

The Glory had the longest away trip in the A-League when they went to Westpac Stadium last week to face the Phoenix, coming away with a 1-1 draw.

They returned to winning ways against Melbourne City at nib Stadium courtesy of Chris Ikonomidis' goal which gave them a 1-0 success.

Ikonomidis netted his fifth league goal of the campaign, keeping him in the focus for fans and the media with the possibility that he could make it into Graham Arnold's squad for the Asian Cup.

He netted two minutes before the break to secure a fifth win in the opening seven rounds for Popovic's side.

The coach said it was somewhat surprising the Glory had been so consistent in the early weeks of the campaign – they're two points clear of Melbourne Victory who have suffered two defeats while Perth are still unbeaten.

"I think Melbourne City played well, they came out very strong in the first half. I thought in the second half, the game was different," said Popovic.

"I feel that our players in the first half were still getting over that [Wellington] trip. We looked a little bit flat; we picked up in the second half which was pleasing."

Perth are now waiting on the fitness prognosis of former Socceroos defender Matthew Spiranovic, who suffered a suspected hamstring niggle and was substituted in the first half.

It was a precautionary measure by Popovic as Spiranovic was playing his first game of the league season.

Speaking of the City match, the coach said: "Real difficult, physical encounter. Every side that's challenging at the end are up there because they can win when they're not at their best."

Perth are 4/1 to win the Grand Final and 7/4 to win their next game against Newcastle, who are 7/5 with the draw 5/2.

Kurz proud despite loss

Coach Marco Kurz feels Adelaide United can justifiably take consolation from their 2-0 defeat to defending champions Melbourne Victory.

The Reds went looking to make it three straight wins when they travelled to Marvel Stadium and, although they came away empty-handed, Kurz was encouraged by the number of good chances they created.

Kevin Muscat's side had shown more ruthlessness in front of goal, said the United coach, and that was the difference between the two teams.

Kosta Barbarouses netted from a rebound to give the home side the lead just past the hour mark and Ola Toivonen's second goal with nine minutes to go secured the points for Victory.

Adelaide could and should have been ahead before Barbarouses struck, Kurz believes. Their performance against a team that had won their previous four games and had home advantage left him pleased.

"I'm very proud about the performance because I think we played a very good game," said the coach. "The only mistake was that we didn't score a goal; I think we played well and the difference today was the quality from the offensive lines.

"If you want to win games you must score goals and I think we had more than four or five big chances and then you've to score a goal if you want to pick up the points away."

It was only Adelaide's second loss in the opening seven rounds and he is confident they can bounce back when they host Melbourne City this weekend.

"I think we played well and we can play flexible," added Kurz. We can change the system a lot of the time and find always a good solution; the boys are hungry for success."

Adelaide are 10/1 to win the Grand Final and 5/4 to win their next game against Melbourne City, who are 2/1 with the draw 5/2.

Sheppard gets off the mark

Kaine Sheppard made the most of his starting opportunity for Newcastle Jets as Ernie Merrick's side beat Brisbane Roar 2-0.

Sheppard was a late inclusion in the team, after Jason Hoffman was ruled out with a back problem, and made an impact by scoring his first A-League goal.

The English striker, signed in pre-season on a one-year contract after his second spell with part-timers Avondale FC, struck in first-half injury time.

The Jets, bidding for a fourth straight victory against Brisbane, could have fallen behind in the first half but keeper Glen Moss made a superb save to deny Eric Bautheac on 18 minutes.

Moments before the break, Daniel Georgievski was released by Dimitri Petratos and sent in a low cross from that right that Sheppard poked home with his left foot.

It proved to be an important psychological blow for the home side at McDonald Jones Stadium and they went on to collect their second win in three games.

Their lead was doubled just before the hour mark when Jair notched his first goal in more than a year. Petratos played in the Brazilian, who finished with a powerful effort into the roof of the net.

Jair almost had a second, courtesy of a cross from defender Ivan Vujica, while at the other end Roar substitute Matt Ridenton had a good chance in injury time but lost his feet while bearing down on goal.

It leaves Brisbane with just one win but coach John Aloisi felt the outcome of the game would have been different if Beautheac had scored in the first half.

"Goals change games," said the coach. "This is our seventh game now and, in five of them, we've been chasing; that goal didn't help us before half-time.

"I thought that we were pretty much in control at that moment there, then they caught us out and we should've defended it better."

Brisbane are 20/1 to win the Grand Final and 23/10 to win their next game against Melbourne Victory, who are 11/10 with the draw 5/2.