Kurz to leave Adelaide at season’s end

Adelaide United coach Marco Kurz is to leave the club at the end of the season.

The 49-year-old German will see out his second campaign at the Reds but said talks about a renewal of his contract had not worked out.

Kurz has been linked with the vacancy at second-bottom Brisbane Roar.

Chairman Piet van der Pol had issued a statement last week after Kurz had accused him of leaving him waiting a month for a reply after leaving him a message.

It left the pair looking unlikely to reach a resolution about a new deal, and Kurz says he they did not share a "common vision" for the club.

"Our goals are very different and therefore a renewal of my contract does not make sense," he said.
 
"Regardless of this decision, it is important now to focus on reaching our aims for the season and to secure a spot in the finals."

Kurz guided the Reds to success in the FFA Cup last year, when they beat Sydney FC in the final.

The club have spent the whole of this season in the Finals Series spots, and though they have not won in four games they are still likely to finish in the top six.

United are sixth, and have a five-point gap above Newcastle Jets with five rounds to go.

Van der Pol said in a statement: "After meeting with Marco…I informed him of our decision not to extend his contract beyond this season. In the coming weeks we will be identifying potential candidates."

Kurz has denied speculation he had held talks with Brisbane, who parted with coach John Aloisi in late December.

Adelaide United are 16/1 to win the Grand Final.

The Reds are 4/7 to win their next game against Central Coast, who are 17/4 with the draw 16/5.

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Warland season over after ACL tear

Defender Ben Warland will miss the rest of Sydney FC's season after tearing his ACL.

The 22-year-old was hurt in Sunday's 2-0 home defeat to Melbourne City, scans revealing he tore the ACL in his left knee.

He is the third Sky Blues player to go down with a long-term knee injury this season, putting pressure on their resources as they challenged for a third-straight minor premiership.

Chris Zuvela and Trent Buhagiar both suffered freak knee injuries in accidental clashes during the early part of the campaign.

Warland missed had a delayed start to the start of the season after breaking a bone in his foot in pre-season but returned to become a regular starter in Steve Corica's side.

Speaking of the Adelaide-born centre-back, Corica said: "He's been doing extremely well at centre-half but he is a quality professional, he has great strength and character and I know he will come back even stronger.

"We have a fantastic medical department at Sydney FC, who will guide Ben through the process as they have with others before."

Corica's team are having to contend with dual campaigns, which is seriously testing their depth.

Five of their six games in the Asian Champions League come before the end of the A-League campaign.

Traditionally that has seen Australian clubs struggle to qualify from their ACL groups while chasing domestic silverware.

In the case of Sydney FC it is their league form that held up – they had taken seven points out of nine before losing to City – while they have only picked up one point from their two ACL games so far.

Marquee man Siem de Jong and young playmaker Danny De Silva are both hoping to be back after injuries for their next game against second-bottom Brisbane on 29th March.

The Sky Blues are 1/2 to win their next game against Brisbane Roar, who are 5/1 with the draw 3/1.

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Barbarouses gets better of Roar

Kosta Barbarouses' double got Melbourne Victory back to winning ways as they saw off Brisbane Roar 2-1 at Marvel Stadium.

It ended a six-match winless run in all competitions for the defending champions and brought them within a point of second-placed Sydney FC.

The Roar have had no answer to New Zealand international Barbarouses this season – his brace meant he's scored seven goals against his former team and 13 overall.

Kevin Muscat's team had only taken two points out of a possible 12 in the league going into the match to slip back in the chase for the minor premiership.

They got things right against the second-bottom side, though, with Barbarouses giving them the lead in the 24th minute when he capitalised on Keisuke Honda's fifth league assist of the season by going around keeper Brendan White from a one-on-one situation.

He doubled Victory's lead six minutes before half-time as he volleyed home from James Troisi's pass over the top – the goal was given after the video assistant referee (VAR) overturned an offside call.

The Roar replied early in the second half, Eric Bautheac chipping Victory keeper Matt Acton after a turnover deep in defence.

Barbarouses was denied his hat-trick just after the hour mark, before Raul Baena forced White into a save.

In injury time Kenny Athiu's flick from a Rahmat Akbari cross hit the post to spare the Roar a third goal.

Muscat had caused a surprise by dropping keeper Lawrence Thomas, who has been the club's number one since the start of the 2016-17 season.

"We need better from Lawrence and he has got to fight for his place," said the coach.

"The decision was more about Matt Acton; I selected him based on everything that we have seen. He was in our opinion the right choice to give us the best chance of success."

Melbourne Victory are 11/4 to win their next game against Perth Glory, who are 10/11 with the draw 13/5.

Victory are 12/1 to win 1-0.

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Roar call for 90-minute effort

Former Socceroo Eli Babalj could make his Brisbane Roar debut against defending champions Melbourne Victory on Saturday.

Babalj, who joined earlier this month as a free agent, has previously played for Melbourne Heart and Adelaide United in the A-League.

Interim coach Darren Davies could turn to the 27-year-old as the Roar bid to rebound after last week's 4-1 home defeat to Western Sydney.

Brisbane are hoping attacker Dylan Wenzel-Halls can continue his rich run of scoring form against Kevin Muscat's side.

The 21-year-old, who has scored four goals in his last five matches, said: "I'm obviously happy to keep scoring, as a striker all you want to score in every game you play. I'm just looking to provide goals, score goals and contribute to the team."

Wenzel-Halls added: "When we play our best, we can beat anyone. We've shown that when we beat Sydney, we've shown that when we had a very good 45 minutes against Adelaide.

"But it's about turning that 45 minutes into a 90-minute performance and I think if we play well for 90 minutes we can beat anyone."

Danish midfielder Thomas Kristensen and defender Stefan Nigro have been promoted to the side for the Marvel Stadium clash.

Charles Lokolingoy, who made his first appearance against Wanderers, has kept his place in the squad.

Brisbane will come up against a Victory side who suffered a 2-1 Asian Champions League defeat at the hands of Sanfrecce Hiroshima in Japan on Tuesday.

The Roar had won two out of three matches before they took on Western Sydney, to move eight points clear of bottom-placed Central Coast.

Brisbane are 13/2 to win the game against the Victory, who are 2/5, with the draw 4/1.

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Kurz kept waiting by Adelaide chairman

Adelaide United coach Marco Kurz has been linked with a move to Brisbane Roar, as he awaits talks on his future with his own club chairman.

Kurz, whose contract is due to expire at the end of May, says he hasn't been able to speak to Piet van der Pol for four weeks.

Van der Pol had previously agreed to open talks with the German about his future at the end of February.

Brisbane appointed Darren Davies as interim coach when John Aloisi quit in December, but the club are planning a long-term appointment once the season is over.

The Roar are out of contention to make the Finals Series, whereas Kurz is on course to comfortably post a top-six finish with Adelaide.

With six rounds left, United are fifth and only behind fourth-placed Wellington on goal difference while Brisbane are next to bottom with just 15 points from 21 games.

Brisbane are reported to have 49-year-old Kurz on their shortlist of serious contenders, having initially had 120 applicants for the job.

He has guided Adelaide to successive FFA Cup finals since his arrival in 2017 – they beat Sydney FC to lift the trophy last year.

Kurz, who has coached the likes of 1860 Munich, Kaiserslautern, Hoffenheim and Fortuna Dusseldorf, took the Reds into the Finals Series last season.

Speaking of his future in Adelaide, he said he was still waiting for a call back from van der Pol after four weeks.

"I have a lot of points to discuss with him," added Kurz. "Not only my personal future…I want to know what is the long term goal for the club, that for me is important.

"Maybe he has another idea (for coach), it's okay, it's part of the job but I have never had this before in my long career as a player and as a coach."

Adelaide United are 16/1 to win the Grand Final.

The Reds are 2/1 to win their next game against Perth Glory, who are 11/8 with the draw 5/2.

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Wanderers storm back to rout Roar

Two goals from Oriol Riera helped Western Sydney turn things around at Suncorp Stadium as they beat Brisbane Roar 4-1.

Wanderers, looking to stretch their unbeaten run to four games, fell behind inside the opening eight minutes.

After Roar keeper Jamie Young failed to keep out Mitchell Duke's shot from distance to get the visitors back level, striker Riera struck twice in the space of three minutes.

That put Markus Babbel's team 3-1 up seven minutes before half-time, and they added gloss to the scoreline with Roly Bonevacia's strike in the 93rd minute.

Wanderers have now picked up ten points out of a possible 12 since 9th February, though it has come too late to resurrect their chances of making the Finals Series.

Babbel left out Alexander Baumjohann and caused a surprise by picking winger Bruce Kamau at right-back.

That move didn't pan out too well initially as Dylan Wenzel-Halls turned Kamau inside out before firing a stunning curling shot into the net.

Duke brought two early saves out of Young, then with his third shot at goal the keeper made a rare error as he got a hand to the ball but couldn't stop it squeezing under him into the net.

Spanish striker Riera met a Bonevacia cross with an exquisite volley that rocketed past Young to put Wanderers ahead 10 minutes before half-time.

And it was quickly 3-1 when he converted a simple tap-in at the far post after VAR showed the initial decision of offside was incorrect.

Bonevacia's rasping shot in injury time gave Young no chance, to round off Babbel's side's fifth victory of the campaign.

The Roar are 11/2 to win their next game against Melbourne Victory, who are 4/9 with the draw 7/2.

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Babbel blasts U23 call-ups

Western Sydney Wanderers are unhappy at losing three of their players to international duty later this month.

Wanderers have had midfielder Keanu Baccus, attacker Abraham Majok and defender Tass Mourdoukoutas called up by the Australian U23 team.

The trio will miss one round of the A-League season to play in the AFC U23 Championship qualifiers.

They have been included in a 24-man squad by coach Graham Arnold for a week-long camp in Kuala Lumpur, where they will play three friendlies.

The squad will then go to the qualifiers in Phnom Penh, where they will face Cambodia, Chinese Taipei and Korea Republic over five days starting on 22nd March.

Melbourne City have also had three of their players called up by Arnold – they will lose Lachlan Wales, Nathaniel Atkinson and Riley McGree for one game.

Wanderers coach Markus Babbel said: "Three of our players who are playing at the moment are leaving us.

"It's very, very hard to accept this because we are a club who want to bring through young players. But we lose these players because they are playing for the national team, so it makes no sense for me."

Also in the squad is Newcastle Jets defender John Koutroumbis, who has returned to action after undergoing surgery following a diagnosis of stage one thyroid cancer.

Meanwhile, Brisbane Roar have signed forward Eli Babalj as an injury replacement player for the rest of the season.

The 27-year-old has been training with the club and could be involved in Friday's clash with Western Sydney.

The Roar are 13/10 to win their game against Wanderers, who are 13/10, with the draw 13/5.

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Wanderers sign ex-Victory man Gallifuoco

Western Sydney have signed midfielder Giancarlo Gallifuoco for the rest of the A-League season.

The 25-year-old has joined Wanderers as an injury replacement player, after fellow midfielder Jordan O'Doherty injured his ACL in the draw against Perth Glory.

Gallifuoco is a former Australia U23 international who most recently played in Italy for Serie C side FC Rieti.

He said it was "awesome" to have signed with the 2014 Asian Champions League winners, adding: "A massive motivator in me coming to the Wanderers was that I am originally from Sydney and as much as I've loved the clubs I have played for, you don't have the same connection like you do when you're from a club that represents you.

"My goals are to help the team, help their goals and be as much of an aid as I can be."

Gallifuoco came through the Australian Institute of Sport before joining Tottenham Hotspur and spending two years with their U23 team.

He had a short stint with Melbourne Victory during their 2016 Asian Champions League campaign before moving back to England and playing for Torquay United and Dover Athletic.

Wanderers will have O'Doherty and defender Patrick Ziegler out for the rest of the campaign due to injury.

Coach Markus Babbel will also be without several key players expected to be included in Australia's U23 squad for the upcoming AFC U23 Championship qualifiers in Cambodia later this month.

Gallifuoco has joined ahead of Wanderers' clash with Brisbane Roar on Friday, where they would fall to ninth spot if they lose.

Brisbane are continuing to try out former Australia international Eli Babalj, who has been on the lookout for a new club after leaving Indian Super League team Atletico de Kolkata in November.

Western Sydney are 11/8 to win their next game against Brisbane Roar, who are 13/8 with the draw 14/5.

Wanderers are 12/1 to win 1-0.

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Bridge focused on getting to 250

Mark Bridge will take a step nearer to a big final milestone in his career when he plays in Western Sydney's meeting with Brisbane Roar.

The 33-year-old has already announced that this season will be his last but he came through his long-awaited return from injury in last weekend's 1-1 draw with Perth Glory.

After facing the Roar he will be just two games shy of the 250-appearance mark in the A-League.

Bridge would become just the 10th player to reach that landmark in the competition and he is delighted to be able to get back to action after suffering three separate calf injuries.

"Just getting involved in the match-day squad before I even got on the pitch was unbelievable … it was a long time and I'm glad to be back," he said, while admitting he'd been very sore after his 13-minute outing against the league leaders.

"It will kill me if I don't get to 250 games, it's such a big milestone for a player. It would be something that when I looked back on my career it would be the only negative thing I can think of."

Bridge, who has scored in Grand Finals for Newcastle Jets in 2008 and Sydney FC in 2010, says he feels fortunate to be able to bow out on his own terms.

"I could have gone another season but I was thinking, 'is it worth it, what input am I going to have for another year, do I have to uproot my family?'" added the Sydney-born striker, who won the Asian Champions League with Wanderers in 2014. "You have to think about your family more than yourself at this point."

Western Sydney are 11/8 to win their next game against Brisbane Roar, who are 13/8 with the draw 14/5. Wanderers are 12/1 to win 1-0.

Mulvey admits Mariners frustrations

Frustrated coach Mike Mulvey saw his Central Coast side take another big step backwards with their 5-3 home defeat to Brisbane Roar.

The Mariners look to be heading for a second consecutive A-League wooden spoon following the loss to the team immediately above them.

Mulvey's team have managed just one win in their 20 games this season, and after doing well to earn a 1-1 draw away to Sydney FC in their last game, they were punished by the Roar at Central Coast Stadium.

The Mariners have picked up just two points in their seven games since they beat Melbourne City on 16th January, and are eight points adrift at the bottom.

They will lose both Aiden O'Neill and captain Matt Simon for next week's clash with Wellington Phoenix, after they were sent off for second bookable offences against Brisbane.

Simon was booked in the 18th minute for dissent and his second yellow came in the closing moments of the match after a late challenge, with O'Neill having already been marched for dissent.

Mulvey said: "You don't excuse anything like that but the frustration we were feeling all the time … the sense of injustice or frustration that comes from decisions or non-decisions it can be quite overwhelming."

But the coach felt his team had played well against Brisbane, at least in terms of their attacking.

"I still can't believe that we've actually lost the game, we've scored three world class goals in the first half and in my opinion we should have been 2-0 up in the first half and we paid the price for not stopping crosses come into the box and not attacking the ball when it was delivered," he said.

Meanwhile, league leaders Perth Glory are 17/20 to win their next game against Western Sydney, who are 16/5 with the draw 14/5.

The Glory are 10/1 to win 1-0.

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