Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Australia: Brisbane’s historic run finally comes to an end

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on December 4, 2011

Sydney end Brisbane unbeaten runHyundai A-League champions Brisbane Roar finally lost their unbeaten record this season when going down to a 2-0 reverse at the hands of Sydney FC today.

Two goals in the opening twenty minutes of the match put paid to Brisbane’s chances of victory today but the Roar still top the standings with a three point margin separating them from nearest challengers Central Coast Mariners. The action began almost immediately with barely half a minute of the game played before Dimitri Petratos gave hosts Sydney FC a dramatic early lead. Just eighteen minutes later an own goal from Brisbane goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos doubled Sydney’s advantage and the home side would go on to inflict Brisbane’s first defeat of the 2011-12 campaign.

Not only had Brisbane lost for the first time this season but today’s defeat heralded the end of an unbeaten run which had lasted for 36 games going back to last September. This unbeaten run proved historic in Australian sporting history as it surpassed the previous best of 35 matches produced by rugby league team Eastern Suburbs back in the 1930s.

Australia: Mariners pay the penalty as Brisbane seal maiden title

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on March 13, 2011

Hyundai A-League logoAs a Knight of the Realm once famously uttered, “football. Bloody hell!” One could be forgiven for thinking the same thing after watching the climax to the 2010-11 Hyundai A-League campaign. Central Coast Mariners, who had already lost in two previous Grand Finals, were just four minutes away from making it third time lucky after enjoying a 2-0 lead in extra-time only to see Brisbane Roar come back from the dead to take the game into a penalty shoot-out in which they claimed their maiden championship.

A capacity crowd of 50,000 were at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane to see a clash between the top two teams in this season’s Hyundai A-League fight it out for the title. Brisbane Roar had lost just one game all season and were determined not to let their home supporters down when it mattered most. Central Coast, after being defeated once already by Brisbane in the Play-Offs, were hoping that lightening wouldn’t strike twice and it was perhaps no surprise that the ninety minutes of normal time ended in a stalemate despite each team enjoying at least one period of sustained attacking pressure on their opponents. However the game would really come alive once it re-started for the extra-time period and when Central Coast went ahead through Adam Kwasnik on 96 minutes the visitors were in total control. Oliver Bozanic doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time and it looked like the home side had blown their big chance to cap a truly wonderful season.

But the Regular Season table-toppers were made of tougher stuff and showed the spirit of true champions with two goals in the last four minutes of extra-time. Brazilian crowd favourite Henrique pulled a goal back in the 117th minute when his shot from the edge of the box was too hot for Mariners keeper Matthew Ryan to handle. Then, with the very last opportunity of the game, a corner was whipped across the face of goal and was headed home by Erik Paartalu. The tide had turned dramatically and so the match went to the lottery of a penalty shoot-out. Both sides were 100% successful with their first two spot kicks but it would be Central Coast who would miss first after Daniel McBreen’s kick was saved by Roar keeper Michael Theoklitos. After Daniel McKay gave the Roar a 3-2 lead it was Theoklitos’ turn to be the hero once more when stopping Pedja Bojić’s penalty. This allowed Henrique to steer home the winning penalty and seal a 4-2 shoot-out victory for Brisbane who can now add the Grand Final trophy to the Premiership which was won last month to become the third different club, along with Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC, to do the domestic double.

Australia: Brisbane roar their way to top of the league

Posted in Asian Football, Oceania Football by peterbein on December 31, 2010
Brisbane Roar

Brisbane Roar are top of the Hyundai A-League at the moment

Australia’s Hyundai A-League has been unusually competitive this season, mainly due to the ineptitude of the reigning champions coupled with the inconsistency of the A-League’s most successful team since records began. Brisbane Roar, rather than Sydney FC or Melbourne Victory, are in pole position after the Christmas schedule and with the Play-Offs soon to come Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the situation with just weeks of the regular season remaining.

The big success story so far in the 2010-11 Hyundai A-League is the Brisbane Roar who have had a dramatic change of fortune. Having finished in ninth place out of ten teams in last season’s championship, the team from Australia’s third city have stormed their way to the top of the table having accumulated 48 points in 23 games. Brisbane have achieved this by virtue of having the best attack in the league having scored 43 goals so far, seven more than Adelaide United who lie in second place, and also by letting in a mere 20 goals in return with Gold Coast United and Newcastle Jets, both of whom have currently played three fewer games, having a better defensive record (both have conceded 18 goals each). New Zealander Kosta Barbarouses and Costa Rican Jean Carlos Solórzano have bagged nineteen goals between them and make up the league’s most potent duo. This has helped the club as the Roar have only lost one game so far helping them to their eight point lead at the top of the table.

In contrast last season’s champions Sydney FC have gone down to their worst season ever having only won four of their twenty-two games this season and lie bottom of the table with just a point separating them from North Queensland Fury. It took the defending champions until week 11 to record their first win of the season and they have lost their last five games in a row to ensure that the club has a lot to do if they are to make the top six play-offs. Two-time champions Melbourne Victory have also struggled to some degree this season but seem to be finding form at exactly the right time of the season. Having recorded just four wins in the first 17 games the Victory have dropped only two points in their last five games (a 3-3 draw against the league leaders) and the run has helped the A-League’s most successful team to a respectable fifth place, five points ahead of new local rivals Melbourne Heart. The Victory suffered a defeat in the first ever derby match between the two sides and Melbourne Heart (played 23; points 27) can take comfort in that they have a great chance of making it to the post-season but they are being challenged by New Zealand’s sole representatives Wellington Phoenix who lie just a point behind with a game in hand as it stands. Newcastle Jets also have a great chance of the play-offs as they lie a further point behind with three games in hand.

One aspect of the league that has disappointed many this season is the crowds. The average number of people coming through the turnstiles has decreased so far with eight of the league’s eleven teams showing a decline in support with only Brisbane Roar and Newcastle Jets showing an increase whilst Melbourne Heart have no comparative fugures as they are in their first year in Australia’s top flight. Nonetheless the Play-Offs should provide an opportunity for the attendance figures to rise sharply especially as they look set to be the most open post-season fixtures since the league’s inception in 2005-06 season. Brisbane Roar will make it to the post-season and joining them, as it stands, will be Adelaide United, Central Coast Mariners, Gold Coast United and the two Melbourne clubs but there are still a lot of games to be played from now until mid-February when the real action really starts Down Under.

Australia: A-League 2010-11 Preview

Posted in Asian Football, Oceania Football by peterbein on August 3, 2010
Sydney FC

Sydney FC won the Double in 2009-10

After nearly five months off the Hyundai A-League competition for 2010-11 is ready to begin this Thursday with the league’s new boys Melbourne Heart kicking off the action with a home tie against Central Coast Mariners. Stoppage Time – International Football Blog looks forward to the action Down Under:

Australia’s equivalent of the Old Firm, Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory, are the favourites to win the honours at the start of a much-anticipated new season. Sydney FC won the domestic Double last season after pipping their arch-rivals Melbourne by a point to the Minor Premiership and beating them on penalties in the Championship Grand Final played after the regular season. The Victory will no doubt be looking to gain revenge and will have their chance to put an early marker on the champions when they travel to Sydney Football Stadium with both teams facing off in the opening round on Saturday.

The Victory will also have a firm local rivalry in the form of Melbourne Heart who are the league’s newest expansion team, increasing the number of teams in the league to eleven. This means that there will be one team per matchday who gets a rest whilst the others fight for league points. Each team will play the other ten teams in the league three times during the regular season making a total of thirty games spread over twenty seven weeks with some games being played in midweek.

Melbourne Heart will make their debut in the league on Thursday against the Gold Coast Mariners who hope to improve on their eighth place finish in the 2009-10 regular season. There are many young Australians in the Heart squad who will be ably led on the pitch by wily veteran John Aloisi, who left Sydney FC at the end of last season on a free transfer, and from the bench in the form of former Ajax star Johnny Van’t Schip who is the club’s coach. Friday matches in the A-League sees last year’s wooden spoonists Adelaide United hosting of Newcastle United Jets and Perth Glory – complete with marquee signing Robbie Fowler – facing off against Fowler’s former club North Queensland Fury with whom the player is in a bitter dispute over contractual issues that arose at the end of last season. The final match of the round, to be played on Sunday, is the “M1” derby match between Gold Coast United and the Brisbane Roar who both had contrasting fortunes last season with United reaching the play-offs and the Roar doing anything but as they finished second from bottom in the regular season standings. New Zealand representatives Wellington Phoenix, under the control of national team coach Ricki Herbert and maintaining the services of last season’s top scorer Shane Smeltz, will miss out in the opening round of matches and will face Gold Coast United at home in their opening match on August 13th.


05/08/10 Melbourne Heart v Central Coast Mariners

06/08/10 Adelaide United v Newcastle United Jets

06/08/10 Perth Glory v North Queensland Fury

07/08/10 Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory

08/08/10 Gold Coast United v Brisbane Roar

Bye: Wellington Phoenix

A-League: Sydney FC claim Minor Premiership

Posted in Asian Football, Oceania Football by peterbein on February 14, 2010
Hyundai A League logo

The Hyundai A-League regular season went down to the wire.

Australia’s Hyundai A-League concluded its regular season stage today with a dramatic 2-0 victory for Sydney FC in their home clash against rivals Melbourne Victory. This win allowed Sydney to overtake their opponents in the table and claim the Minor Premiers tag by just a solitary point before they compete in a two-legged Play-Off fixture against the same opponents to see which team qualifies for the Grand Final on March 20th.

Champions Melbourne Victory went into the game confident that they could get the point they needed to secure the Minor Premiership for a second successive year having lost just one of their last four league games. Sydney FC had laboured a 3-2 home win in their previous match against Perth Glory with Marquee player John Aloisi scoring the winning goal three minutes from full-time. It was thanks to those three points that this winner-takes-all fixture was able to conclude the Regular Season in such fascinating style.

An expectant crowd of 25,000 attended the game in Sydney Football Stadium and the home fans were to be the ones celebrating come the end of the match as goals from Karol Kisel (34th minute) and John Aloisi (49th minute) gave the Sky Blues the win they needed to top the table. Sydney finished the Regular Season stage with 48 points from 27 games, Melbourne finishing just one point further behind. But the win meant more than just the chance to have the best possible draw in the Play-Off stage, which start next week, it also secured Sydney FC a place in the 2011 AFC Champions League. For Melbourne, though, all is not lost as the two-time Australian champion can gain instant revenge on Sydney FC in the next few weeks, their two-leg Play-Off tie could also potentially be followed by a Grand Final between the two sides to decide the overall championship.

However there will be four more teams in the Play-Offs who will want to claim the Hyundai A-League title. Gold Coast United, an expansion team who only joined the league this season, finished their maiden campaign in a very respectable third place four points behind Sydney FC. This happened despite going down to a 2-1 defeat on Matchday 27 away to the other expansion club North Queensland Fury, whose efforts to qualify for the Play-Offs fell just short. Despite having legendary ex-Liverpool FC player Robbie Fowler in their ranks the Fury ended up two points behind sixth-placed Newcastle Jets, who knew in any case that they were Play-Off bound despite losing their Matchday 27 fixture to wooden spoonists Adelaide United 2-1 (29 points from 27 games). The Jets have an away draw against Gold Coast when the Play-Offs start next weekend. New Zealand’s sole representatives Wellington Phoenix have had a good season, so far, finishing in fourth place which was secured by a 3-0 home win against the Central Coast Mariners. Phoenix will meet fifth-placed Perth Glory in the Play-Offs as the latter managed to finish their Regular Season in fifth-place with a 2-0 win over Brisbane Roar.


18.02.2010 Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC (Game 1)

Date TBA* Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory (Game 2)

Winners over two legs go straight to the Grand Final, losers play in Preliminary Final

20.02.2010 Gold Coast United v Newcastle Jets (Game 3)

21.02.2010 Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory (Game 4)

Winners of these two games through to the next round, losers eliminated

Date TBA Winner Game 3 v Winner Game 4 (Game 5)

Winner of this game through to next round, loser eliminated


Date TBA Winner Game 5 v Loser Game 1/2 (Game 6)

Winner through to Grand Final, loser eliminated


20.03.2010 Winner Game 1/2 v Winner Game 6 (kick-off 19:00 local time)

Winner is declared Hyundai A-League champions 2009-10

* TBA – To be announced