Captain’s knocks, new faces and match-winning braces: The A-League players who were the difference in Round 19

Round 19 was an interesting weekend of football with no draws, 19 goals in six matches, two five-goal games on Sunday and for the third consecutive week three teams kept a clean sheet.

In the three games where a team claimed three points, the winning team had less possession than their opponent.

Take a look at who made a difference.

Macarthur FC

Bernardo Oliveira scored two goals that came ten minutes apart, early in the second half.

The 19-year-old broke the deadlock in the 47th minute, in what was a finish that he made look easy, thanks to a marauding run down the right-hand side by former Melbourne City player Raphael Borges Rodrigues, who caused havoc for the City defence.

The future star showed his class with a clinical finish in the 57th minute with a curling shot that hit the post and ended up in the back of the net. Credit to Ulises Davila for the assist, but the young talent still had plenty to do.

What’s great about him is that he’s so level-headed: “Good to be winning this game and actually got to celebrate it tonight. The first goal was great from Raphael. We obviously want to keep going.”

Melbourne City

Alessandro Lopane did his utmost to try and get City back into the game in a gutsy performance coming off the bench in the 67th minute when the deficit was two goals.

The young prospect created three chances and was unlucky not to score in the 79th minute as his shot hit the post, due to a brilliant save by Bulls goalkeeper Filip Kurto.

Western United

Josh Risdon was everywhere; he put in a real captain’s knock, as the right-back never shirked a contest and was the player who was in the right place when it counted.

The 31-year-old provided the assist for the goal that broke the deadlock through youngster Noah Botic with a defence-splitting pass.

He summed it up succinctly post-match: “It was positive to put on a pretty good performance today. I’m happy to get an assist.”

Perth Glory

Darryl Lachman led from the front for the Glory, as the score would’ve been worse than 1-0 without his intervention.

The Dutch defender was at his best when it mattered and showed all his experience and guile.

Newcastle Jets

Ryan Scott made three crucial saves to keep the Jets in the game; the first two were a double save from point-blank range in the 40th minute from Mariners midfielder Max Balard.

The Jets goalkeeper kept the deficit for the home side at one goal with a great save against Mariners left-back Jacob Farrell in the 77th minute.

Central Coast Mariners

Josh Nisbet was rewarded for his persistence when he broke the deadlock in the 75th minute, with a clinical finish on his left foot; you wouldn’t have known that he’s right-footed!

The 24-year-old broke the drought, scoring his first goal of the season and proved his worth to the Mariners team, in a game that was lacking a goal.

As per usual Nisbet was perceptive in his post-match comments: “Thankfully we got the goal and we got the clean sheet today. It shows the character.”

Western Sydney Wanderers

Zac Sapsford was responsible with the only goal of the game scored by the Wanderers with his shot deflecting into the back of the net through Sky Blues centre-back Jake Girdwood-Reich in the 72nd minute.

The 21-year-old substitute proved his worth; as well as being involved in the goal, he created three chances and was unfortunate not to score from a header in the 93rd minute, which was brilliantly saved by Socceroo goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne.

Sydney FC

Fabio Gomes scored a brace and it could’ve been more.

The Brazilian cooly slotted the ball into the back of the net from the penalty spot in the seventh minute, to make it 2-0.

Clearly, he has been working on his pressing, which brought about the fourth goal of the game for the Sky Blues due to a calamitous error by the Wanderers defence and goalkeeper Daniel Margush in the 59th minute.

Wellington Phoenix

Ben Old scored twice in what was a great performance, in a game where the Phoenix midfield displayed his potential.

The Kiwi international broke the deadlock in the 34th minute with a superbly timed run and inch-perfect pass from Tim Payne.

In the 69th minute, Old may have scored another goal, if not for Phoenix substitute Oskar van Hattum getting a touch, just before the ball crossed the line.

The 21-year-old scored a crucial goal in the 78th minute, as it gave the Phoenix what proved to be an unassailable two-goal lead.

Adelaide United

Harry Van der Saag took to his attacking role well, even though he usually plays as a right-back.

The 24-year-old was there when the Reds needed him to be as he won a penalty in the 59th minute after drawing a foul from Phoenix skipper Alex Rufer. The resultant penalty, which was scored by Luka Jovanovic made it 1-1 in the 60th minute and gave Adelaide United some hope.

Brisbane Roar

Marco Rojas produced when he had to in what may prove to be an important win for the Roar.

The ‘Kiwi Messi’ scored a brace, with both of his goals scored with his head; he broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute following an effort from Thomas Waddingham that was saved by Victory goalkeeper Paul Izzo.

His second goal was scored in the 56th minute, thanks to a pinpoint cross by Keegan Jelacic, which made the score 2-1 in favour of the Roar.

The NZ international showed why he’s so highly thought of post-match: “Happy and grateful to have started the game.” He also said in relation to Victory: “I have a lot of respect for that club.”

Melbourne Victory

Zinedine Machach got Victory back into the match with an equaliser in the 35th minute with a great run and a clinical finish, which made the score 1-1.

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