Newcastle Jets 4-0 Wellington Phoenix: Mikeltadze double sets the stage for emphatic victory

By Sports Desk December 10, 2021

Beka Mikeltadze scored twice and set up another goal as Newcastle Jets ended a long home winless streak in the A-League with a 4-0 thrashing of Wellington Phoenix.

Newcastle had not won a home league game since beating Melbourne City 1-0 in February, a run of 10 matches.

However, that poor streak was ended in emphatic fashion as they claimed their first win of the 2021-22 season in style.

A wonderfully crafted team move was finished off by Mikeltadze in the 32nd minute, with the forward doubling his tally with another close-range effort following the restart.

Left-back Dylan Murnane drove into Wellington's area to prod home the Jets' third, before Mikeltadze teed up Daniel Penha to round things off.

Penha and Mikeltadze had the visiting defence on the back foot throughout – the former leading the way with five attempts and the latter playing a game-high six key passes.

Newcastle's win takes them onto five points and into fifth, while Wellington sit eighth.

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    You would have been forgiven for thinking the days of Jose Mourinho leading teams to European finals were over.

    From 2002 to 2010, Mourinho-coached sides appeared in two Champions League finals and one UEFA Cup showdown. On each occasion, 'The Special One' triumphed.

    He had to wait seven years for his next appearance in a continental showpiece, but he kept up his 100 per cent record – Manchester United beating Ajax to lift the 2016-17 Europa League trophy.

    But that was an early peak in Mourinho's United tenure. His stock has since fallen. He was sacked in 2018 and then lasted just 18 months at Tottenham, the only club he has managed so far where he has not won a trophy.

    He might have had the opportunity to win the EFL Cup with Spurs, though he was sacked before that rescheduled match could take place. Hard lines.

    It was hard not to feel Mourinho's race had been run. He can no longer be considered among the truly elite managers, and that was reflected as he rocked up at Roma.

    Not that Roma, three-time champions of Italy, are by any means a small club. They were in the Champions League semi-finals as recently as 2018.

    Yet, their last title came in 2001 and their last trophy of any description came in 2008 when they won the Coppa Italia for the ninth time. Ironically, Mourinho's Inter then beat Roma in the Supercoppa Italiana at the start of the following season, the last time the Giallorossi had a chance to win a piece of silverware.

    But Mourinho is a winner, and now he has the chance to remind everyone of that. He is back in a European final as Roma get the opportunity to win their first major European trophy. No other coach has reached the final of a major European competition with four different clubs.

    "I am a coach with a certain history and Roma are a big club," he told UEFA's Italian website. "I did feel a little bit of responsibility to make this a big competition.

    "The Conference League is our Champions League. This is the level we are at, the competition we are playing for. The club has not reached a game like this for a very long time."

    The Europa Conference League may have been scoffed at when it was introduced but for fans of Roma, and their opponents Feyenoord, continental glory that would otherwise have evaded them is now within their grasp.

    With a record-breaking striker leading the line in the form of Tammy Abraham, Mourinho might just have a fifth European title under his belt.

    Life in the old dog?

    Mourinho has overseen 54 games so far at Roma, triumphing in 28 of them to give him a win percentage of 52.

    That is a slight dip from the 55 per cent in 2020-21, though that was over three fewer matches, but an improvement on the 46 per cent (from 35 games) and 42 per cent (from 24 fixtures) in 2019-20 and 2018-19 respectively.

    Roma won 18 Serie A games this season, ensuring a place in the Europa League through a sixth-placed finish.

    His 47 per cent win ratio in the league ranks him 10th out of Roma coaches to have overseen at least 10 games, while his 52 per cent in all competitions puts him joint-sixth, alongside predecessor Paulo Fonseca, of those bosses to have taken charge of at least 20 matches.

    Perhaps Mourinho's decline is highlighted by the fact he is placing so much emphasis on winning UEFA's third-tier club tournament, but from Roma's perspective, that desire will surely be welcome.

    Abraham the key?

    Having been deemed surplus to requirements at Chelsea, Abraham has become something of a cult figure at Roma.

    Abraham called Mourinho "the best manager in the world" in an interview with talkSPORT in April, and he has certainly thrived under the Portuguese's guidance.

    He has scored 27 goals across all competitions this season, one better than the previous best tally he had managed, which was 26 goals for both Bristol City (in 2016-17) and Aston Villa (2018-19), albeit both of those campaigns were in the Championship.

    It has been a record-breaking season for Abraham. A first-half double against Torino on Friday saw the 24-year-old become the highest-scoring English player in a single season in the Italian top flight, surpassing the previous mark of 16 set by Gerald Hitchens at Inter in 1961-62. 

    The only Roma player to score more than the England international's haul of 17 in a debut Serie A season with the club was Rodolfo Volk, who registered 21 in the 1929-30 campaign. 

    He has featured in all but one of Roma's league games, starting 36 times and averaging a goal every 182 minutes, converting 17.8 per cent of his 95 shots, which ranks better than two of his seasons in the Premier League (13.33 per cent in 2017-18 and 16.22 in 2019-20).

    Abraham has scored nine times from 13 Conference League appearances and he has proved many doubters wrong this season.

    With a place in Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad later this year potentially up for grabs, playing a pivotal role in Roma's maiden European success would be some way to cap a fine campaign and seal his name in Giallorossi folklore.

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    It was a relatively close opening set of the tournament for Djokovic, as Nishioka created three break-point opportunities compared to the Serb's two, but Djokovic was able to save all three, while capitalising on one of his own.

    Overall for the first set, Djokovic won 55 per cent of the total points, and that number climbed the longer the match went on. He won 63 per cent of the points in the second set, and 67 per cent in the third.

    Speaking with the media after his match, Djokovic was excited to be back on clay as he seeks his third French Open crown – the only grand slam he has not won at least three times.

    "I have to be pleased with the match," he said. "I struggled to adapt in the first set. 

    "He is a very quick player. The first set was close, but I cruised through the second and third.

    "I always expect the highest for myself, but it was a very good start. I have been feeling well on clay in the past few weeks. 

    "I am happy to be back. The memories from last year are fresh in my mind."

    In the second round, Djokovic will play the winner between Alex Molcan and Federia Coria.

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    Hamburg won the first leg 1-0 last week, but they will remain in 2. Bundesliga after Felix Magath's side consigned them to a 2-0 defeat at Volksparkstadion on Monday.

    Captain Dedryck Boyata levelled the play-off when he rose to head Plattenhardt's corner into the back of the net only four minutes in.

    Hertha were in front after 63 minutes, when Plattenhardt's set-piece from wide on the right flew over Hamburg goalkeeper Daniel Heuer Fernandes and into the far corner of the net.

    Stevan Jovetic could have sealed it when he went one-on-one with Fernandes but was denied by the keeper.

    That miss did not prove to be costly as Hertha held on to remain in the top flight despite Lucas Tousart's stoppage-time sending off for a second bookable offence on a painful night for Hamburg.

    There was a brief celebration from Magath, who was appointed as Hertha head coach until the end of the season in March, after his side stayed up at the expense of a club where he had great success as a player and also served as a coach.

    Hamburg have been in the second tier since they dropped out of the Bundesliga for the first time in their history four years ago.

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