Knee injury ends Oar’s season

Australia international Tommy Oar will miss the rest of Central Coast Mariners' A-League season with a knee injury.

The midfielder faces a recovery time of up to three months after being hurt in the Gosford club's 1-1 draw with defending premiers Sydney FC at the weekend.

He hyperextended his knee when he landed awkwardly after challenging for a ball in the air, causing a posterior capsule ligament sprain.

The 27-year-old, who has previously had two stints with Brisbane Roar, doesn't need surgery, but will be sidelined for at least ten weeks.

He said: "I am really disappointed to not be able to play again this season. I know I'm in great hands with Dave McGinness and the medical team at the Mariners, so I am putting my full focus into getting myself healthy and fully fit for next season."

Oar, who has played 28 times for the Socceroos, joined Mike Mulvey's side in pre-season on a two-year deal following a spell in Cyprus with APOEL.

His absence is a blow for Central Coast, who are five points adrift of Brisbane at the foot of the A-League table.

Oar's final appearance of the campaign, when they held the Sky Blues away from home, was just the second time in the last seven games they've avoided defeat.

The Mariners have only won one game all season, and will need to pick up a second victory at Central Coast Stadium on Friday against Brisbane if they are to retain hopes of avoiding a second straight wooden spoon.

The Mariners are 7/5 to win their next game against Brisbane Roar, who are 17/10, with the draw 13/5.

View all Soccer betting

Le Fondre wary of Wellington

A-League top scorer Adam le Fondre feels Sydney FC are still in the race for the A-League premiership, ahead of their clash with a Wellington side he rates highly.

The Sky Blues know they are running out of time to make up ground on top two sides Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory.

Their chances of securing the Premiers' Plate for a third consecutive season have taken a big hit over the past two games when they have dropped points to the league's bottom two sides.

Steve Corica's side lost 2-1 to Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium, and needed to come from behind at home last weekend to earn a point in a 1-1 draw with Central Coast.

They'll certainly need to raise their game against the Phoenix, who beat them 3-1 in Sydney earlier in the season.

The head-to-head record is split this season, with the Sky Blues having won 1-0 in the Kiwi capital last month.

"If you're not on your game, they'll punish you," Le Fondre said of Mark Rudan's side. "We've seen that at Kogarah we weren't quite at it and missed a couple of chances early on, they took their chances and it was game over really and we were fighting an uphill battle."

The former Reading striker moved back to the top of the A-League's Golden Boot standings when he scored the equaliser against the Mariners.

However, the two points dropped means they are now 11 points behind Perth albeit with a game in hand.

Both of their remaining meetings with the top two are at home, and le Fondre said of their position: "I don't think we're going to chuck the towel in and go 'here, you can have it'.

"There's no point in saying in eight games time we'll have won all eight – let's just go next game, take care of that and move onto the next game and the next game, build some momentum and assault Perth; that's all you can do."

The Sky Blues are 1/1 to win their game against the Phoenix, who are 5/2, with the draw 13/5.

View all Soccer betting

Sky Blues held by Mariners

Bottom side Central Coast held minor premiership contenders Sydney FC to a 1-1 draw in front of their own fans at Leichhardt Oval.

The Mariners took the lead against the run of play nine minutes before half-time when Adam le Fondre returned to the top of the A-League Golden Boot standings by netting the equaliser.

The Sky Blues will regard the game as two points dropped, despite having trailed. They are now 10 points behind leaders Perth Glory with eight games left.

Central Coast ended their four-match losing streak while Steve Corica's team have won just one of their past four fixtures.

Le Fondre now leads the goalscoring chart on his own again – with 13 for the season – one more than Perth's Andy Keogh and Roy Krishna of Wellington Pheonix.

He converted from the spot 14 minutes from time after Jem Karacan had been bundled over by substitute Alex Brosque in the box.

The home side couldn't go on and secure victory, with Brosque and Milos Ninkovic unable to take chances in the final three minutes.

They had started the game well and were unlucky not to take a 20th-minute lead through Ninkovic.

The midfielder fired a powerful shot against the post with Mariners keeper Ben Kennedy beaten and then, when he latched onto the rebound, his second effort was just wide.

Josh Brillante's volley was saved by Kennedy on the half-hour mark and the Sky Blues looked the more likely side to score only to fall behind when Aiden O'Neill fired in a shot that found the bottom corner past unsighted keeper Andrew Redmayne.

Corica said after he match: "We had about 14 or 15 shots, some one-on-ones, and hit the post so had plenty of good chances. It was not for the lack of trying and I can't take anything away from the boys' effort."

Sydney FC are 3/1 to win the Grand Final and 1/1 to win their next game against Wellington, who are 5/2 with the draw 13/5.

Rudan hails ‘fantastic’ Cacace

Coach Mark Rudan singled out youngster Liberato Cacace for praise after Wellington Phoenix's 1-1 home draw with defending champions Melbourne Victory.

The wingback has only missed two of the Phoenix's 19 games this season, after signing his first professional contract last May.

He's showing no signs of fatigue, despite stepping up to senior level at the age of 20, and was Wellington's best player against Victory at Eden Park.

"He was superb tonight, he was, and he's one I'm extremely proud of as well," said Rudan, who was hired as coach two weeks after Cacace was signed to a two-year deal. "He's a fantastic kid, he really is; we gave him enough time in pre-season to make sure.

"His parents should be awfully proud and today he stood up. I challenged the players – in an arena like this, in front of a big crowd, good players stand up and they create moments – he created a lot of moments tonight."

Rudan felt his team weren't at their best against Victory, when they were pegged back by Keisuke Honda's penalty after Roy Krishna had opened the scoring.

It's now just one win in six for the Phoenix, whose advantage over seventh-placed Newcastle has been reduced to six points with eight rounds remaining.

"It wasn't one of our better performances," said Rudan. "We know it's the final stretch, and we're asking for a little bit more from our players and that's the challenge for them, but I'm sure we'll find the right ingredients so that next week in Sydney we're better than we were tonight."

Wellington Phoenix are 13/5 to win their next game against Sydney FC, who are 10/11 with the draw 11/4.

The Phoenix are 12/1 to win 1-0.

View all Soccer betting

Brosque ponders one more season

Sydney FC captain Alex Brosque has indicated he could play on with the club next season.

The 35-year-old was considering retirement at the end of 2017-18 before new coach Steve Corica persuaded him to stay.
And he says he's more positive about the prospect of continuing than he was last season, though he's not yet ready to make a decision.

The forward has started 13 times this term, as well as coming off the bench a further three times.

Brosque has netted nine times overall this season, including six in the A-League.

The veteran is set to be on the bench for Sunday's clash with bottom side Central Coast at Leichhardt Oval.

He said: "Last year I was probably a lot more leaning towards retiring at this stage than this year. With my minutes probably starting to change from now on in I think it'll keep me fresh, enjoying playing and mentally in a lot better state as well than last year."

Corica is understood to be eager for the skipper to re-sign for next season, but Brosque said the coach had left the ball in his court.

"I have to respect the fact they have to move on based on my decision as well in terms of planning for next year. I'd say probably closer to the end of the season after the Champions League I'll make some sort of decision," he added.

Dutch marquee Siem de Jong could miss the Mariners game as he continues his comeback from the knee injury he suffered against Wellington Phoenix.

Sydney FC are 10/3 to win the Grand Final.

The Sky Blues are 1/4 to win their next game against Central Coast, who are 8/1 with the draw 11/2.

View all Soccer betting

Wilkinson says Premiership still on

Defender Alex Wilkinson believes Sydney FC can still capture the A-League premiership, despite a damaging defeat to struggling Brisbane Roar.

With Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory both staying consistent at the top of the table, the Sky Blues can ill afford to drop points.

But their 2-1 loss at Suncorp Stadium to the Roar – who had only one win all season going into the game – was their second in three outings.

Wilkinson has vowed Steve Corica's side will "push hard" to overcome the setbacks and go on to claim a third consecutive Premiers' Plate – something that would be a league first.

"We'll have to win most of the remaining games," said Wilkinson. "By no means is it out of reach but we need to pick up points over the next nine games to get up there which we're more than capable of – we can definitely go on a run."

The Sky Blues had taken the lead against Brisbane through Danny De Silva 10 minutes into the second half.

Tobias Mikkelsen equalised for the home side and youngster Dylan Wenzel-Halls scored an injury time winner.

Both of the Roar's goals were poor ones to concede, Darren Davies' team able to capitalise on loose marking and carelessness in possession.

Wilkinson said: "We got sloppy, started giving away possession too easily and they got a bit of confidence. The first goal gave them a real boost and that was down to us taking our foot off the pedal and not being clinical enough when we needed."

The Sky Blues have three home games in their next four matches, starting with next Sunday's clash with bottom side Central Coast.

Sydney FC are 7/2 to win the Grand Final.

The Sky Blues are 1/4 to win their next game against Central Coast, who are 8/1 with the draw 11/2.

View all Soccer betting

Roar see off Sky Blues

Brisbane Roar ended their 12-match winless run as they came from behind to beat Sydney FC 2-1 at Suncorp Stadium.

It was a gutsy effort from the home side on a night when they were short of numbers.

Brisbane had keeper Jamie Young as well as defenders Dane Ingham and Daniel Bowles all suspended, and it got worse before half-time when they lost defensive pair Luke DeVere and Jack Hingert to knee injuries.

But they ended up on top thanks to a thunderbolt from Dylan Wenzell-Halls in the last minute of normal time.

The 21-year-old smashed home from the edge of the area to give keeper Andrew Redmayne no chance and lift the Roar six points clear of bottom side Central Coast.

Sydney FC had wasted good chances in the first half but were able to take the lead 10 minutes after the break.

Iranian recruit Reza Ghoochannejhad and strike partner Adam le Fondre both had opportunities for the visitors and Danny De Silva hit the post in the 23rd minute.

The Sky Blues should have gone ahead before that, when Milos Ninkovic blazed over from just outside the six-yard box.

Brisbane found it tough to get any rhythm going in the first half due to their injuries, with Davies having to send on 16-year-old defender Izaack Powell on the half-hour mark after Hingert limped off.

The visitors did break the deadlock when De Silva reacted quickest in the box to score from a rebound after keeper Brendan White had parried a le Fondre shot.

Ben Warland's last-ditch tackle on Adam Taggart prevented the Roar striker from levelling, but 13 minutes from time Brisbane did find a way through.

Taggart teed up the equaliser for substitute Tobias Mikkelsen, who lashed home his second goal of the season.

The Sky Blues are 1/4 to win their next game against Central Coast, who are 8/1 with the draw 11/2.

Sydney FC are 6/1 to win the game 1-0.

View all Soccer betting

Grant inks new Sky Blues contract

Australia international Rhyan Grant will stay with Sydney FC for another three years.

Grant has been with the Sky Blues for a decade already, and has now re-signed until the end of the 2021/22 season.

He joined the club as a 17-year-old youth team player and is now Sydney FC's longest-serving player.

Grant, who has played 179 games in all competitions and scored nine goals for the Sky Blues, has just returned from being part of the Australia squad at the Asian Cup.

The right back said it felt very good to have another three years security, and that he felt very comfortable at the club.

"You want to be part of the best club and most ambitious club going forward, so that was my main motivation for staying," he added.

"We've been very successful over the last couple of years so I want to build on that and to win all competitions that we are a part of."

Grant made his Socceroos debut in a friendly against Lebanon last year, being given his first chance at senior level by Graham Arnold who had been his coach at club level.

He has played in three premiership teams with Sydney FC, as well as winning the championship with the club in 2009/10 and 2016/17.

Coach Steve Corica said of the defender: "He has shown real loyalty to the club and has been a great servant and a top professional. He's been great for the club, very energetic and a fantastic guy; he is also an experienced player who leads by example and that is what we stand for with our beliefs and our culture."

Sydney FC are 10/3 to win the Grand Final.

The Sky Blues are 4/7 to win their next game against Brisbane Roar, who are 17/4 with the draw 3/1.

View all Soccer betting

Roar complete two signings

Brisbane Roar have bolstered their squad with the signings of Charles Lokolingoy and Ruon Tongyik for the rest of the season.

The Roar have signed the duo as free agents after they had been released by Sydney FC and Western Sydney respectively last month.

Lokolingoy helped the Sky Blues win the A-League Premier's Plate last season, making seven appearances off the bench.
Tongyik has now been with four different A-League clubs in less than four years.

The African-born pair are in line to make their Roar debuts in Friday's game against Sydney FC.

Lokolingoy, who made 13 league appearances overall for the Sky Blues, said: "Brisbane Roar has a great history and is one of the biggest clubs in Australia. I want to help the team, score goals, and I'm really looking forward to the challenge."

The striker netted 34 goals in 42 games for Sydney FC in the NPL before making the senior squad.

Tongyik started his A-League career with Adelaide United and then made 15 appearances across two seasons at Melbourne City.

He signed for Western Sydney before the start of this season but had only been used twice by Wanderers coach Markus Babbel before leaving by mutual consent.

The Australia U23 international said: "I'm very excited to have signed for the Roar. I am here to create depth in our squad and I can't wait to get out onto Suncorp Stadium and play in front of our fans."

Interim head coach Darren Davies, who didn't make any signings during the transfer window, welcomed the pair to his squad.

"I'm confident that they will not only add competition for places in our squad, but make a positive contribution to our team over the coming weeks and months," he said.

The Roar are next to bottom in the table, with just one win from 17 games.

Brisbane are 17/4 to win their next game against Sydney FC, who are 4/7 with the draw 3/1.

The Roar are 6/1 to win by a one-goal margin.

View all Soccer betting

Joyce bemoans penalty failure

Warren Joyce felt Melbourne City's failure to score a second-half penalty at Jubilee Stadium cost them a potential victory against Sydney FC.

Though City were 1-0 down when they were given a spot-kick, their coach had believed they could come back and beat the home side.

Instead, Sky Blues keeper Andrew Redmayne made a good save from Riley McGree's shot and a second goal late on from Adam le Fondre secured their win.

McGree's missed penalty came 12 minutes from time, and Joyce said afterwards: "Really, I do believe if we score the penalty, the momentum's with us in the second half that we win the game.

"Dario (Vidosic) is the preferred penalty-taker, but you don't blame McGree. People can miss penalties; he's had the bottle to go on and take it."

Joyce will be boosted for the rest of the season by the arrival of Jamie Maclaren, who trained for the first time with his new teammates on Monday.

The Socceroos striker was on hand to see City's 2-0 defeat, and like his coach will have taken encouragement from the fact that they had 60 per cent of the possession.

He will come in for his debut when Joyce's side take on Adelaide United, who are two points ahead of them in fourth place.

City will also be able to use Tottenham loanee Shayon Harrison for the first time when they meet Adelaide on Saturday.

Maclaren, who had been on loan with Scottish side Hibernian from Darmstadt, said the move back to the A-League was a good opportunity.

"You don't get too many opportunities to come to this sort of club and for me it was a matter of the circumstances I was in, with Neil Lennon (Hibernian coach) getting sacked."

City are 5/4 to win their next game against Adelaide United, who are 19/10, with the draw 13/5.

View all Soccer betting