‘Hard to stay upright’: Dive mars A-League, Sky Blues in strife, Ange’s lasting legacy

It wasn’t quite as bad as a toddler’s temper tantrum, but Kusini Yengi’s attempt to win a penalty by going down under a Roderick Miranda challenge in the Adelaide United-Melbourne Victory game was, mainly, greeted with the scorn it deserved.

Certainly referee Adam Kersey was in no doubt: Yengi had belly flopped to the turf when he had felt the slightest bit of contact in a bid to con the official. The dive earned a yellow card.

The young striker’s gangling style, his power and direct running certainly caused Victory plenty of problems, but if he is to make the most of his attributes he will have to stay on his feet; it’s hard to score when you are sprawled on the ground.

His manager, Carl Veart, defended him, but that’s not surprising given Veart is a member of the strikers’ union – the former Sheffield United, Crystal Palace, Millwall and Socceroos frontman was a more than handy goalscorer.

Outlook darkens for injury-smashed Sky Blues

Steve Corica is staring down his biggest challenge since taking on the coaching job at the A-League Men’s heavyweights after a confidence-shredding defeat on Sunday.
Sydney’s 2-0 defeat to the Central Coast Mariners continued what has been Sydney’s worst start to a season since 2010-11, when they went winless through their first 10 matches of that campaign.

Foreign bodies light up the league

If you get your import signings right, everything else should flow from that. But it doesn’t always work out that way, as every club has hired numerous overseas players who have bombed.

After several seasons of trying and failing, it seems the Newcastle Jets might have got it right this time.

Three of their imports – Georgian international striker Beka Mikeltadze, Cameroonian international Olivier Boumal and Brazilian attacker Daniel Penha – delivered in scintillating style in their Friday night game when the Jets demolished Wellington Phoenix 4-0 at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Olivier Boumal is starring for the JetsCredit:Getty Images

At 32, Boumal, who has played at a high level in Greece and Japan, is the veteran of the trio. But Penha, who is on loan from top Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro, is only 23, while Mikeltadze, who appeared in his native country as well as Cyprus, Greece and Russia before coming to the Hunter Valley, is just a year older.

The interplay between them, the way Mikeltadze dropped deep to provide a link to the attacking midfielders and the intricate skills of Penha augur well for the success-starved Jets, whose only grand final win came back in 2008.

The school of Ange

Ange Postecoglou is Australia’s most revered coach, his triumphs with the Brisbane team dubbed Roarcelona passing into the domestic game’s legend.

But he has also been a major influencer of coaches, with a number of former A-League players and assistants becoming graduates of the so-called “school of Ange”.

Kevin Muscat, the ex-Victory skipper, is probably the best known and he succeeded his former boss at Yokohama F. Marinos earlier this year, finishing second in the just-concluded J-League.

John Hutchinson, the ex-Central Coast captain, worked with Postecoglou at Yokohama, too, and he was in the news this week when he was appointed head coach and technical director of El Paso Locomotive FC in the USL, the American competition one grade below the MLS.

Now Arthur Papas has become the most recent successful former pupil to show the benefit of working with Postecoglou as he reshapes the Newcastle Jets. Papas worked with Postecoglou for almost two years in Japan and Papas is putting the lessons he learned from Postecoglou to excellent use.

Victory women take derby honours

In A-League women’s, Melbourne Victory continued their winning start to the season by edging out home-town rivals Melbourne City 2-1 on Sunday.

Catherine Zimmerman celebrates a goal with Victory teammatesCredit:Getty Images

City took the lead in stoppage time of the first half through an own goal, but Catherine Zimmerman equalised in the 65th minute. Lynn Williams gave Victory the lead five minutes later and City were unable to fight back despite Victory’s Amy Jackson being handed a red card late in the game.

Williams came into the side for the Melbourne derby to replace Kayla Morrison, who injured her knee during Victory’s 5-1 opening round win.

Tough crowd

Not too many fans turn up to watch them, but that hasn’t stopped Western United and Macarthur, the A-League’s two newest franchises, from having plenty of success.

United’s home games have drawn crowds of 8120 (but that was their season-opener against Victory) and 3013, while Macarthur have pulled 1188 and 3014.

United, playing on the vast expanses of Geelong’s GMBHA stadium, saw off Brisbane Roar 1-0 on Saturday afternoon to temporarily go top of the league. They were trumped by Macarthur later in the day after the latter had beaten Western Sydney Wanderers 2-0, to themselves go top of the table.

Building a fan base and loyalty is no easy task but given their results, maybe they can argue that the “12th man” impact of the crowd is not so vital. Western’s chances of gaining more traction will certainly be improved if they do build their much-promised stadium in Tarneit.

Cook’s glorious saves

Cameron Cook is a goalie on the rise.Credit:Getty Images

Perth Glory shot-stopper Cameron Cook has just turned 20 and made his debut less than a month ago, but he has belied his inexperience in a couple of recent games in Melbourne, making some excellent saves against both Victory and City. He managed to hold out against the champions until Nathaniel Atkinson’s 88th minute winner in the opening clash of round four last Wednesday and is another Australian shot-stopper of promise.

Goal of the round

Any of Newcastle’s four against Wellington could be selected, so stylish were the Jets in their close control, intricate movement and precision passing that tore the Kiwis apart. Give it to Brazilian Penha, who got the last after a delicate passing move gave him the chance to shoot past a despairing Ollie Sail.

Daniel Penha’s goal caused much excitement among Brazilian followers.Credit:Getty Images

Quote of the round

“When you’re 100 kilos running as fast as you can and you get touched in the back, it’s very hard to stand up … Very hard to stay upright when you’re as big as he is and such a top-heavy guy as well.“
Adelaide coach Carl Veart defending Kusini Yengi against diving allegations.

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