A-League Review: Halloran double downs Melbourne City

By Sports Desk February 01, 2020

Ben Halloran scored twice as Adelaide United swept aside second-place Melbourne City 3-1 in the A-League on Saturday.

Halloran opened the scoring in the 12th minute, lashing home from 10 yards after Craig Noone had made a mess of an attempted clearance.

Noone made amends four minutes later, however, powering a left-foot effort from 12 yards past Paul Izzo to draw the visitors level.

Halloran restored the hosts' advantage four minutes before the interval, heading home at the back post from a corner, while George Blackwood made it three in first-half stoppage time with a thunderous header from six yards.

City's misery was compounded 14 minutes from time when Harrison Delbridge received a third red card of the campaign for an ugly challenge on Nikola Mileusnic.

The result moves Adelaide up to fifth, while City remain 13 points behind leaders Sydney FC, who have a game in hand.

Perth Glory are a point behind City after a last-gasp 2-2 draw with Melbourne Victory at HBF Park.

The visitors forged ahead in the 22nd minute when Ola Toivonen whipped into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area.

Bruno Fornaroli pulled the hosts level in first-half injury time with a low free-kick from 20 yards, but Andrew Nabbout restored Victory's lead shortly before the hour mark courtesy of a cool finish from a quick break.

Nicholas D'Agostino ensured a share of the spoils, though, hammering home a header from six yards in the 90th minute.

The result leaves Victory in in eighth place on 16 points, six ahead of rock-bottom Newcastle Jets, who drew 0-0 with Western United in the day's other game.

Related items

  • Koeman confirms Dest medical and insists he has faith in Man Utd-linked Dembele Koeman confirms Dest medical and insists he has faith in Man Utd-linked Dembele

    Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has confirmed Sergino Dest is having a medical with the club ahead of a potential move from Ajax.

    The 19-year-old United States international has been strongly linked with a €25million move to either Barca or Bayern Munich, but it appears the Catalan club have won the race.

    Dest, an attack-minded right-back, was spotted arriving in Barcelona on Tuesday, giving rise to increased speculation that the deal was practically closed.

    And Koeman, who tried to persuade Dest to represent the Netherlands when he coached the Oranje, confirmed the teenager is having a medical as he plans to take the well-trodden path from Ajax to Camp Nou.

    "Dest is doing his medical, we still have to sign [the contracts]," Koeman told reporters in his news conference on Wednesday. "Until he signs I will not comment

    "We are going to have a young full-back – it is a matter of changing things and having young players for the future of the club is important.

    "It is good because he has played in the Champions League and I am sure that, when all the contracts are signed, he will be very useful for Barca."

    One player strongly linked with leaving Barca is Ousmane Dembele, who is reportedly being lined up by Manchester United as an alternative to Jadon Sancho.

    The French winger has only been able to show glimpses of his ability since joining from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 due to injuries – in 2019-20 he featured just five times in LaLiga.

    While Koeman claimed no knowledge of any potential transfer for Dembele, he insisted that he sees a future for him at Barca.

    "Those decisions are made by the club and the player. As we have seen, I am going to count on him," Koeman added.

    "He did not play from the start [against Villarreal] because there are more players and Ansu [Fati] has proven to be very good for this team.

    "He was better physically the first few weeks, but today he trained well and I'm going to count on him."

    Dembele's future could be tied to that of Memphis Depay, who is said to be Barca's primary target in attack, and while Koeman would not specifically name his compatriot when asked about signings, he made no secret of his desire to add options in that department.

    "We have to analyse the squad, analyse what we lack," he continued. "We know that financially the club has its problems, like everyone else.

    "There are one or two positions where we need to improve, and I'm not going to lie to you, we are working.

    "There are options but it is very unsafe. The club is going to work hard. If not, we will use our players because I have no complaints with the ones we have.

    "We want to have two or three players per position. We have put Leo [Lionel Messi] as a nine, [Antoine] Griezmann can play there, but they are different players. Martin [Braithwaite] is more than a nine and will have his chances but we want one more."

  • Xabi Alonso a future possibility for Bayern coach, says Rummenigge Xabi Alonso a future possibility for Bayern coach, says Rummenigge

    Xabi Alonso has the qualities required to succeed as a head coach in the modern game and could be a future possibility for Bayern Munich, says CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

    Spain World Cup winner Alonso spent three seasons at Allianz Arena between 2014 and 2017 before the cultured midfielder called time on his distinguished playing career.

    Alonso won three Bundesliga titles, a DFB-Pokal and the DFL-Supercup during his time at Bayern and is now in charge of the B team at Real Sociedad, the club with whom he rose through the youth ranks and started in the professional game.

    Rummenigge remains in contact with Alonso and foresees a time when the Spaniard is back at Bayern, this time in the dugout.

    "He will be a coach who may be of interest to FC Bayern at some point in the future. I can imagine that," Rummenigge told the BILD podcast 'Phrasenmaher'.

    "We are still friends today, he reports regularly.

    "Xabi Alonso has this empathy that you need. Especially with today's generation of players to spin such a common thread with them."

    Rummenigge hopes such a scenario does not occur too soon, though, given the success enjoyed under Hansi Flick.

    Former Germany assistant Flick led Bayern to a Bundesliga, Pokal and Champions League treble last term and Rummenigge is confident of a long association between club and coach.

    "I hope he stays [a] long, long, long [time]. This is a coach who for the first time I trust will stay long," he added.

    "Three to five years, that would be an extraordinary period."

    Among the other topics discussed were who Rummenigge felt were the most important transfers of his tenure in the boardroom.

    Unsurprisingly, Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and superstar striker Robert Lewandowski were highlighted as such transfers.

    "Manuel Neuer and Robert Lewandowski were the most important transfers," he said.

  • Messi explains public criticism of Barca's Suarez sale - I was expressing things that hurt me Messi explains public criticism of Barca's Suarez sale - I was expressing things that hurt me

    Lionel Messi understands those who felt he should have kept quiet about Luis Suarez's Barcelona departure but said his criticism was a way of expressing things that have "hurt me".

    Suarez was allowed to join LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid in a €6million deal last week and started life at the Rojiblancos with a brace and an assist off the bench in a 6-1 battering of Granada on Sunday.

    The decision of the club and new coach Ronald Koeman to tell Suarez he was free to leave is thought to have been a motivating factor behind Messi sensationally telling Barca he wanted to depart last month.

    Messi later signalled he will stay at Camp Nou after accusing president Josep Maria Bartomeu of making a move "impossible".

    But when Suarez – who is third in Barca's all-time list of scorers with 198 and won 13 trophies in six seasons with Los Cules – departed, Messi accused the club of "kicking out" the former Liverpool striker and added "at this point nothing surprises me" in an Instagram post.

    Explaining why he opted to vent on social media, Messi told SPORT: "I only said what I felt in some moments that were hard for me.

    "I understand that there will be those who think that I should have kept quiet or let it pass, as in so many other things that I let pass.

    "But many things hurt me in recent weeks and it was my way of expressing it."

    A tumultuous period, which started with Barca's 8-2 demolition at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals, saw Messi attempt to force a transfer.

    Eventually Messi said he will stay put this season, stating he did not want to drag the saga through the courts when Barca and LaLiga disputed the superstar forward's claim he could utilise a clause in his contract to leave on a free transfer.

    Messi began Barca's LaLiga campaign by scoring a penalty in a 4-0 rout of Villarreal and he insisted his commitment to winning and the club is as strong as ever.

    "Whoever knows me knows that I am not capable of playing anything other than always to win and to give everything on the pitch," he added.

    "It was like that throughout my career and that is not going to change. Today my commitment to this shirt and this badge is total, it is still intact."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.