A-League Review: Wellington have a Ball as City are beaten

By Sports Desk February 15, 2020

David Ball swept home a second-half winner as Wellington Phoenix dented Melbourne City's hopes of catching A-League leaders Sydney FC.

Ball completed a fine counter-attack by converting fellow Englishman Gary Hooper's pinpoint cross from the right 13 minutes into the second half for the only goal of the game at Eden Park.

City poured on the pressure in a bid to find an equaliser but found home goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic in fine form.

The win enhanced the Phoenix's top-six hopes, moving them to within three points of second-placed Melbourne, who remain 10 adrift of leaders Sydney FC.

Carl Robinson's first game in charge of Newcastle Jets saw them claim a point in a 1-1 draw at Western Sydney Wanderers.

Former Vancouver Whitecaps boss Robinson was in the stands to watch the Jets' 4-3 defeat of the Central Coast Mariners last weekend and he would have been delighted his players built on that display with a battling performance at Bankwest Stadium.

They endured a miserable start as Wanderers' skipper Mitchell Duke fired home a fifth-minute penalty after Bobby Burns senselessly tripped winger Bruce Kamau having tracked him into the box.

When Duke struck a post shortly after, and with the home side dominating, it looked like being a long evening for the Jets, but they eventually established a foothold and Matt Millar grabbed a deserved equaliser with 16 minutes to go.

The point lifts the Jets off the foot of the table, ahead of Central Coast, while Jean-Paul De Marigny's Wanderers remain in eighth.

Related items

  • Coronavirus: Bundesliga aiming for early May restart behind closed doors Coronavirus: Bundesliga aiming for early May restart behind closed doors

    The Bundesliga is aiming to resume in early May with games behind closed doors, German Football League (DFL) chief executive Christian Seifert has revealed.

    Germany's top two divisions have been suspended until April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    According to the John Hopkins University, the country has had over 110,000 cases of COVID-19 infection – the fourth most in Europe – with more than 2,100 deaths.

    Seifert confirmed to the New York Times plans are being put in place for the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga to restart with spectator-free matches next month.

    "We are part of the culture in the country, people long to get back a short piece of normal life, and that could mean the Bundesliga plays again," Seifert said.

    "This is why we have to play our role here, and that means to support the government and to talk with the government about when we will be able to play again.

    "The sooner we are finished, the more flexibility we can provide to the European football landscape."

    Seifert also suggested that cancelling the season could put five Bundesliga clubs in serious financial trouble, while half the teams in the second tier would be "very much in danger to file for bankruptcy".

    Bayern Munich chief executive Herbert Hainer said he expects the pandemic to lead to a significant reduction in transfer fees. Seifert believes a full collapse is on the cards.

    "In the short term, I would say the transfer market this summer will not exist, it will collapse," he said.

    "Some agents will suddenly understand that they will have to work hard, or at least work; some leagues will understand that money is nothing that is coming automatically every month from heaven."

  • Coronavirus: Premier League stars announce #PlayersTogether charity fund Coronavirus: Premier League stars announce #PlayersTogether charity fund

    Premier League stars have announced the creation of a charity fund to help health services in the United Kingdom during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Players including Liverpool and Manchester United captains Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire confirmed the plans in a social media statement on Tuesday.

    The announcement comes after UK health secretary Matt Hancock had urged the highest-paid footballers in the country to "play their part" in helping key services during the COVID-19 crisis.

    Those comments attracted criticism from some in the sport, including United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who said it was unfair to paint players as an easy target while discussions about contributions to health services and charities were ongoing.

    The statement said: "Over the course of the last week we, as a group of Premier League players, have held numerous talks together with the vision of creating a contribution fund that can be used to distribute money to where it's needed most in this COVID-19 crisis; helping those fighting for us on the NHS frontline as well as other key areas of need. This is a critical time for our country and for our NHS, and we are determined to help in any way that we can.

    "We can confirm that after extensive conversations between a huge number of players from all Premier League clubs we have created our own collective player initiative, #PlayersTogether, and have partnered with NHS Charities Together (NHSCT) in order to assist them in generating and distributing funds quickly and efficiently to where they are needed most.

    "NHSCT is the national umbrella organisation for over 150 registered charities, working closely with the Charity Commission, Department of Health and Social Care, and NHS England to represent, champion, and support the NHS' official charities. NHSCT are the official charity partner of the NHS nationally.

    "The contributions that this initiative will generate will help NHSCT quickly grant funds to the front line to support in a number of ways, including to help enhance the well-being of NHS staff, volunteers and patients impacted by COVID-19 as well as helping them in their work supporting many other critical areas of need both now and in the longer term.

    "#PlayersTogether is about we, as players, collaborating together to create a voluntary initiative, separate to any other club and league conversations, that can help get much needed funds to those that need it right now. To try and help, along with so many others in the country, make a real difference.

    "Our prayers and thoughts go out to everybody affected by this crisis. By sticking together, we will get through this."

  • Haaland already the best in the box in Europe, claims Nordtveit Haaland already the best in the box in Europe, claims Nordtveit

    Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland is the best in Europe in the box and could well be the world's leading talent in the future, according to Norway team-mate Havard Nordtveit.

    After surging into the spotlight with a series of phenomenal Champions League displays at Salzburg, Dortmund stumped up €25million to activate the release clause in Haaland's contract and bring him to the Bundesliga.

    The 19-year-old has maintained his stunning form, scoring 12 goals in 11 appearances – seven of which have come as part of the starting line-up – in all competitions for BVB before the coronavirus pandemic brought a halt to action in all major leagues across Europe.

    Nordtveit, who also plays in the Bundesliga with Hoffenheim, expects Haaland to remain on an upward trajectory in part due to his dedication in off-field areas.

    "He is perhaps already the best in Europe in the penalty area. He is also super professional, focusing a lot on things like sleep and nutrition," Nordtveit told SID.

    "He does everything he can to become the best player in the world. It could work out.

    "He has already broken the boundaries. You can barely stop him. Give him a few more years. If he can use his body even more, it will be difficult for any defender in the Bundesliga and from bigger leagues."

    He added: "He's not a superstar in the dressing room. He has remained true to himself and a great person."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.