Melbourne City failed to seal a Finals berth ahead of the potential suspension of the A-League season as they lost 2-1 at Newcastle Jets on Monday.

Football Federation Australia has called a news conference for Tuesday as a pause in the 2019-20 campaign seems inevitable amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The postponement of Perth Glory's meeting with Western United made this McDonald Jones Stadium clash the last before the anticipated announcement, and second-placed City could not claim the victory required to clinch a post-season place.

Early openings were few and far between, but the Jets built up a head of steam heading into half-time, and Nick Fitzgerald - wasteful with a tame prior effort - broke the deadlock in style.

The former City winger controlled on the right corner of the penalty area, cut inside two backtracking defenders and placed a finish inside the left-hand upright.

The visitors controlled the second half, though, and substitute Florin Berenguer guided a header into the net - a belated first effort on target - for the leveller 19 minutes from time.

Yet back came Newcastle through Steven Ugarkovic, whose 25-yard strike beat Tom Glover's weak left hand to find the top-left corner and restore a decisive lead.

Despite events having to take place behind closed doors and restrictions on travel outside the country, Australia's major sporting leagues continue to plough on manfully amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Football, rugby league and Australian rules football are all vying for centre stage this weekend.

A look further afield means we've also got all you cricket and boxing fans covered.

Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC – A-League

Normally one of the feistiest fixtures on the A-League calendar, the empty stands of Bankwest Stadium will feel particularly incongruous for the latest instalment of this local argument.

Sydney are sitting pretty at the top of the standings – seven points clear of Melbourne City and with three games in hand – but their only two A-League defeats this season have come courtesy of a pair of 1-0 defeats to the Wanderers, with Mitchell Duke the matchwinner on both occasions.

Roosters v Sea Eagles, Sharks v Storm – NRL

It's week two in the NRL and correcting false starts will largely be the order of the day on Saturday.

Sydney Roosters were beaten 20-14 by Penrith Panthers and will hope to make amends at home to Manly Sea Eagles, themselves dispatched 18-4 by Melbourne Storm.

It means the Storm travel with a spring in their steps to face Cronulla Sharks, who fell short in a 22-18 thriller against South Sydney Rabbitohs last time out.

New Zealand Warriors, who have remained in Australia due to travel restrictions back home, are also in action against Canberra Raiders.

Melbourne City v Sydney FC – W-League

Melbourne City were the dominant force in the W-League this term, topping the table undefeated, and head into Saturday's Grand Final as strong favourites to win their fourth title in the past five seasons.

City earned the right to host the match by demolishing Western Sydney Wanderers 5-1 in their semi-final, while there was a certain symmetry to Sydney FC progressing via a 1-0 win against Melbourne Victory.

Greater Western Sydney v Geelong - AFL

The first round of action in the AFL sees last season's beaten Grand Finalists Greater Western Sydney host Geelong – the 2019 minor premiers.

Elsewhere Essendon entertain Freemantle, Sydney Swans travel to Adelaide Crows and Gold Coast Suns take on Port Adelaide.

Tibo Monabesa v Toto Landero – WBC International light-flyweight title

The coronavirus outbreak has led to the vast majority of elite boxing action in the United Kingdom and the United States being cancelled, but there is an international contest of some intrigue in Indonesia.

Monabesa (20 wins, one defeat, two draws) is seeking to get back in world title contention having won successive bouts on the back of his sole career loss to Japan's undefeated WBC light-flyweight king Hiroto Kyoguchi.

Jakarta's home favourite will have game Filipino Landero (11-4-2) for company in the squared circle.

Rangers v Mountaineers, Matabeleland Tuskers v Mid West Rhinos – Logan Cup

Mountaineers can draw level with Mashonaland Eagles at the top of Zimbabwe's first-class cricket competition if they can see off a Rangers side languishing in last place and winless in six matches this season.

It's also day one of four when Mid West Rhinos travel to face Matabeleland Tuskers. Rhinos all-rounder Neville Madziva is the top run-scorer in the Logan Cup this season – his total of 361 including a maiden red-ball century.  

Jamie Maclaren was the hat-trick hero as Melbourne City piled further misery on the Central Coast Mariners in the A-League with a 4-2 triumph.

The Mariners went down to a 10th consecutive defeat despite Jordan Murray catching the City backline napping to give them a second-minute lead.

The hosts' joy was short-lived as Maclaren arrowed a swift response across Central Coast goalkeeper Mark Birighitti and Markel Susaeta headed City in front inside 10 minutes.

Maclaren crowned a wonderful team move three minutes into the second half before claiming the matchball when Nathaniel Atkinson's blocked shot spun in his direction – a goal that restored City's two-goal advantage after a towering header earned Murray his second of the match.

City, who were playing without Erick Mombaerts - their 64-year-old head coach who stayed home as a precaution against contracting coronavirus, are seven points behind Sydney FC in second but have played three games more than the leaders.

Brisbane Roar are five points further back in fourth after Scott McDonald's splendid 16th-minute finish proved enough to see off Newcastle Jets 1-0.

It meant a first defeat as Jets boss for Carl Robinson – a fate that was almost averted in stoppage time when Roy O'Donovan volleyed Dimitrios Petratos' searching cross from the left against the post.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to leave little in the way of live action on the sporting calendar.

Most events have been put on hold or cancelled across the world due to the spread of COVID-19.

There are still some competitions going ahead on Friday, though, and here are five of the best to look forward to.


Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne City - A-League

Australia's top football division continues, albeit with a reduced schedule and games being staged behind closed doors - including both of Friday's matches.

The Mariners will be out to avoid unwanted club history as they host Melbourne City. Alen Stajcic's team are on a nine-match losing run, just one short of their previous worst streak of 10 in a row.

 

Dundalk - horse racing

Horse racing has been suspended in the United Kingdom until the end of April, but Horse Racing Ireland has opted to carry on racing after implementing stringent controls.

Friday's sole meeting will take place at Dundalk, where Cautious Approach, Juliet Rose and Sebs Star are all in action.

Cage Warriors 113 - MMA

Friday's blockbuster will now be held in Manchester after moving from London and is another event being held without spectators in attendance.

Darren Stewart and Bartosz Fabinski meet in the headline fight, while Mason Jones and Joe McColgan will battle it out for the vacant lightweight title.

Brisbane Broncos v South Sydney Rabbitohs - NRL

The NRL has introduced a self-isolation programme for its players in a desperate attempt to keep games on.

And that means plenty of focus will be on the grudge match between the Broncos and the Rabbitohs, who will both be looking to maintain winning starts to the season.

 

Western Bulldogs v Collingwood - AFL

Aussie Rules football got under way at an empty MCG on Thursday and the action continues with Western Bulldogs taking on Collingwood Magpies.

The Magpies begin their assault for a record-equalling 16th title - and a first in a decade - against their Melbourne rivals at Docklands Stadium.

A-League leaders Sydney were held to a 0-0 draw by Perth Glory on Saturday amid uncertainty over whether the season will continue.

This weekend's matches are going ahead as planned despite concerns around the coronavirus pandemic, with confirmed cases in Australia having increased to 226.

It is intended the league will continue into next week despite the need to hold matches behind closed doors in line with authorities banning all gatherings of more than 500 people, which comes into effect on Monday.

However, there are doubts about the viability of maintaining the schedule given the stringent new rules imposed in New Zealand, where visitors have been told to self-isolate for 14 days, and the effect these could have on Wellington Phoenix matches.

There was nothing to separate Sydney and Perth in the opening game of the day as the visitors ended a six-game losing streak at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

Luke Brattan saw a goal disallowed for offside but there were only five shots on target throughout the contest as the league's best two defences proved unbreachable.

Second-placed Melbourne City were unable to close the 10-point gap to leaders Sydney, though, as they drew 1-1 with Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park.

Tate Russell broke the deadlock 21 minutes in with a composed finish at the end of a slick move involving Mitchell Duke and Nicolai Muller, but he felled Craig Noone to allow Jamie Maclaren to end a three-match barren run by equalising from the penalty spot.

A remarkable goalline clearance from Curtis Good denied Simon Cox what looked a certain winning goal, but the Wanderers remain in the hunt for the finals as they moved to within two points of the top six.

Melbourne City held off a second-half fightback from Perth Glory as Wellington Phoenix heaped further misery on Central Coast Mariners in Sunday's A-League action.

Rostyn Griffiths, Florin Berenguer and Markel Susaeta all scored in a scintillating 10-minute spell in the first half for Melbourne, putting them 3-0 up at HBF Park.

However, Perth – who lost in the Grand Final to Sydney FC last season – rallied after the break.

Joel Chianese tucked home a rebound to make it 3-1 and the deficit was down to one after 65 minutes when he squared the ball across for Bruno Fornaroli to tap home.

Diego Castro hit the post as the hosts pushed hard for an equaliser, yet Melbourne survived to win 3-2 and remain the closest challengers to Sydney, though they are 10 points behind the runaway leaders.

Wellington Phoenix had briefly moved above Melbourne City into second place in the table courtesy of a 3-1 triumph at bottom club Central Coast Mariners.

Liberato Cacace marked his 50th game in the competition with the opening goal and Gary Hooper clinically converted a one-on-one opportunity to double Wellington's lead.

Jaushua Sotirio added a third when his run in behind was picked out by fellow substitute Alex Rufer's pass over the top.

The Mariners had 16 attempts at goal but only managed to hit the target three times. They did grab a late consolation, Jair scoring in the 89th minute, but have now lost eight on the spin.

Western United thrashed Central Coast Mariners 6-2 on Sunday to give their A-League top-six ambitions a boost.

Max Burgess scored a 19-minute hat-trick during a spectacular first half at GMHBA Stadium in which six goals were scored.

Besart Berisha's header broke the deadlock after nine minutes, but Chris Harold's penalty levelled matters after Tomislav Uskok had handled in the box.

Burgess struck his first goal to restore United's lead and got his second five minutes later after being set up by Connor Pain.

After Berisha saw an effort blocked, Burgess - who had never scored in 44 previous A-League appearances - completed his hat-trick, but Gianni Stensness made it 4-2 shortly before the break.

Andrew Durante turned in Alessandro Diamanti's cross for 5-2, before Berisha converted from close range in the 89th minute for his 20th goal against Central Coast - an A-League record for a player against a single club.

In the later game at AAMI Park, Melbourne City moved back into second place with a battling 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar.

The visitors were undone when Joshua Brillante's fine strike hit the post and went in off goalkeeper Jamie Young 10 minutes into the second half.

Melbourne are three points above third-place Perth Glory, having played a game more, while Brisbane sit sixth, just two points ahead of United.

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.

Melbourne City clinched a narrow 2-1 derby win over Melbourne Victory on Friday to consolidate their place in second in the A-League, but Perth Glory remain hot on their heels after winning a thriller with Wellington Phoenix.

At AAMI Park, Florin Berenguer put City in charge with just eight minutes played, turning in from the edge of the box after Adrian Luna produced a remarkable flick to beat his man on the right flank and squared to the Frenchman.

They doubled their advantage 19 minutes from time in style, Jamie Maclaren netting after Craig Noone slipped Berenguer into the box and his back-heel set up the finishing touch.

Ola Toivonen gave Victory some hope when his free-kick was inexplicably allowed in by goalkeeper Tom Glover, who fumbled the effort over the line, but it mattered little in the end.

Glory remain just a point behind City with a game in hand after a gripping 4-2 win over Wellington, with all six goals coming after the 43rd minute.

Tomislav Mrcela opened the scoring with a close-range header, before Nicholas D'Agostino made it 2-0 just before the interval, finishing off a well-worked move in the penalty area.

D'Agostino netted again when nodding in Kim Soo-beom's left-wing cross, but the introduction of Gary Hooper appeared to restore some hope for Phoenix, as the former Celtic striker struck twice in eight minutes wither side of Tim Payne's dismissal for two yellow cards.

But Bruno Fornaroli prevented any late turnaround, curling home from just outside the area late on to wrap up victory in the Distance Derby.

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.

Perth Glory missed out on the chance to draw level with Melbourne City in the A-League ladder as their club-record six-match winning run ended in a goalless draw at AAMI Park.

The visitors had a perfect record throughout December and January but could not find a way through in Saturday's clash with City, who remain two points better off in second place.

Goals were expected in Melbourne, but it proved to be a tense affair, with City marksman Jamie MacLaren and visiting skipper Diego Castro wasting good first-half opportunities.

City dodged a bullet just before the hour as Joshua Brillante brought down Bruno Fornaroli in the box, but the initial decision to award a penalty was overruled by VAR for an offside infringement.

Erick Mombaerts' men survived another scare when a corner deflected off Curtis Good and onto the post, though there was no breakthrough goal as both teams failed to make a dent in the lead held by pacesetters Sydney FC, who are 10 points clear following Friday's win over Melbourne Victory.

In Saturday's other A-League fixture, Brisbane Roar found a way through five minutes from the end to snatch a 1-0 victory at Central Coast Mariners that lifts them up to sixth.

Mariners midfielder Daniel De Silva sent a header against the post with an hour played and Jordan Murray was denied by an impressive Jamie Young save 10 minutes later.

But the visitors came away with all three points - their first back-to-back away wins since March 2018 - as Corey Brown's shot ricocheted off Lewis Miller and crossed the line in the 86th minute.

Melbourne City have signed former Athletic Bilbao forward Markel Susaeta for the remainder of the A-League season.

City announced the transfer on Thursday following Susaeta's brief stint with Japanese giants Gamba Osaka, who the Spaniard joined in September.

Athletic great Susaeta – a one-time Spain international – is a coup for City following his 507 matches for the LaLiga side, where he sits fifth on the all-time appearances list.

Susaeta had planned to see out his career with Athletic but the 32-year-old left the Basque club at the end of the 2018-19 season, going on to play just 165 minutes of football for Gamba.

"I'm excited to be joining Melbourne City for the rest of the season and can't wait to get started in Australia," he said.

"I'm hoping I can help the group play the exciting, attacking football the club prides itself on and achieve the success the group has set out at the start of the season."

City director of football Michael Petrillo added: "We're incredibly pleased to have a player like Markel at Melbourne City.

"Markel is a player that is well suited to the style of game we have implemented under [head coach] Erick [Mombaerts] and a player who will add flair, potency and experience to our front third. 

"We have been tracking Markel for quite some time now so to be able to get him into the squad is testament to the club and its ability to attract a player of Markel's pedigree.

"His outstanding record at Athletic Bilbao speaks for itself and his experience in LaLiga and Europe will lift the whole squad as we look to continue our push towards the latter stages of the season."

City are second in the A-League this season, 11 points behind leaders Sydney FC after 13 matches.

Melbourne City twice hit back to earn a draw at Brisbane Roar in the A-League on Saturday.

Bradden Inman opened the scoring for the hosts after 34 minutes and again put the Queenslanders in front following Craig Noone's leveller.

But Nathaniel Atkinson fired in a wonderful, 20-yard equaliser three minutes into the second half to move Melbourne 11 points behind runaway leaders Sydney FC.

Third-placed Perth Glory registered their fifth successive win with a convincing 3-0 defeat of Adelaide United.

Joel Chianese opened the scoring with a lovely turn and finish after 25 minutes and Bruno Fornaroli doubled the Glory's advantage with a shot that deflected in off visiting skipper Michael Jakobsen.

Substitute Chris Ikonomidis rounded off the scoring by getting the better of Adelaide goalkeeper Paul Izzo and tapping into an empty net midway through the second half.

Wellington Phoenix are fourth with goals from Ulises Davila and Liberato Cacace giving them a 2-0 win over Western Sydney.

Ten-man Melbourne City held on to defeat Western United 3-2 in the A-League at AAMI Park on Friday, surviving a tense finish after conceding two penalties in quick succession.

It was one-way traffic in City's favour in the first half, with the opener coming after just five minutes as Jamie Maclaren stabbed in on the line after Jonathan Aspropotamitis had deflected Florin Berenguer's shot onto the post amid appeals for handball.

A lovely Craig Noone delivery then found Adrian Luna, who volleyed in nine minutes before half-time, and it was three before the break as Filip Kurto charged from his goal and comically missed the ball, gifting Maclaren his second.

But a similarly rash decision from the goalkeeper at the other end kept United in the hunt, Dean Bouzanis bringing down Joshua Cavallo and unable to stop Besart Berisha from the spot after 75 minutes.

And the visitors had another penalty just a minute after the restart as Harrison Delbridge blocked Dylan Pierias' pass with his arm.

The referee consulted the pitch-side monitors following a VAR review and sent Delbridge off, before Alessandro Diamanti scored from 12 yards, but City preserved the points.

The home side had confirmed the match would go ahead just over an hour before kick-off, having monitored the air quality at the stadium, with bushfires raging across Australia, including in Victoria.

The players wore black armbands and observed a minute's applause, while the clubs donated money to the disaster appeal.

A-League leaders Sydney FC played for 65 minutes with 10 men but rallied to beat second-placed Melbourne City 2-1 on Sunday.

Kosta Barbarouses struck late on to extend Sydney's advantage at the summit to nine points, settling a more sedate second half after a gripping first period that featured two goals, a red card and a missed penalty.

That frantic spell was kickstarted by the City opener in the 22nd minute as a short corner from the right saw Craig Noone send a cross towards the back post to Connor Metcalfe, who thundered a header past Andrew Redmayne.

Sydney quickly suffered a second blow when Rhyan Grant was sent off for an awful studs-up challenge into the shins of Nathaniel Atkinson, which was initially punished only with a yellow card before the referee reassessed the incident on the pitchside monitor.

However, the hosts were level following a scramble in the area when Tom Glover failed to deal with a deep free-kick, allowing Adam Le Fondre to finally slam past Harrison Delbridge on the line.

Noone missed a huge chance when through one-on-one at the other end, before Le Fondre was granted the opportunity to double his and Sydney's tally from the penalty spot.

But Glover's right leg blocked a powerful 12-yard drive after Delbridge was punished for halting Milos Ninkovic's tricky run into the City area.

Sydney were subsequently on the back foot for much of the second half, yet Scott Galloway allowed Barbarouses to cut inside and shape a fine left-footed finish into the bottom-left corner with six minutes remaining to secure a ninth straight home league win.

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