A pair of thrilling draws provided a spark to a very bare weekend of football due to COVID-19 cases among clubs.

Melbourne Victory took a slender one-point lead at the top  the table after sharing the points with Macarthur before the “Original Rivalry” fixture with Adelaide United on Saturday. The lead is a slender single point and second-place Macarthur have a game in hand to leapfrog to the top.

Melbourne City and Western Sydney Wanderers played out a goals-galore draw yesterday.

Melbourne City – Western Sydney 3-3
Goals rained on Sunday night as the current A-League champions and the Wanderers were forced to settle for a point each.

The visitors started strongly with two early goals.

Greek-Australian playmaker James Troisi released a low shot from just outside the box into the bottom right (5’) before another Hellene, forward Dimitri Petratos, assisted Jack Rodwell who struck it in off the left post in the ninth minute.

City responded in kind with two goals of their own, the first through a deflected tap-in by defender Scott Galloway (16’) and the second from a corner where Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren scored via a header (36’).

City took the lead in the 60th when winger Marco Tilio released a powerful long shot from a similar position to Troisi into the right side of the goal.

The Red and Blacks found an equaliser when a brilliant through ball from midfielder Steven Ugarkovic was met by forward Keijiro Ogawa who knocked it past the advancing keeper, Tom Glover, in what proved the final goal of the game.

In addition to Dimitri Petratos and James Troisi, the Wanderers also started John Koutroumbis and brought Terry Antonis off the bench.

READ MORE: Victory set for clash with Adelaide United in COVID plagued round

Melbourne Victory – Adelaide United 1-1
Victory and Adelaide played out another spectacular and dramatic derby on Saturday evening with both clubs finding late goals.

Each side had plenty of shots but failed to make any of them trouble the keepers until reaching the final ten minutes of the match.

The home side’s striker Nicholas D’Agostino released a thunderous left-footed strike from range which sailed into the top-left corner, giving his club a late lead in the 84th minute.

The Reds found an equaliser with only minutes left in the match when winger Craig Goodwin met teammate Javi Lopez’ cross on the volley, guiding it into the bottom right corner (90+1’).

The away side were dealt a final blow when midfielder Isaias was sent off with a second yellow in the aftermath of their goal.

Adelaide fielded defender George Timotheou who played the entire match.

Victory manager Tony Popovic was complimentary of his side’s performance but lamented that his side were unable to convert their play into goals earlier.

“I thought we had a good performance, we pressed well, we played well, we just didn’t take advantage of those good moments that we had to get the lead when I thought we should have,” said Mr Popovic post-match.

The following fixtures were postponed from this weekend: Western Utd-Sydney FC, Western Sydney-Perth Glory, Brisbane Roar-Central Coast, Melbourne City-Macarthur FC and Wellington Phoenix-Newcastle Jets.

Homophobic abuse
The match was marred by homophobic abuse from spectators targeted at Adelaide left back Josh Cavallo.

The same player condemned the abuse in a post on his Instagram account wherein he urged young people who have suffered the same as him to not let it deter them.

“Hold your heads up high and keep chasing your dreams. Know that there is no place in the game for this. Football is a game for everyone no matter of who you are, what colour your skin is or where you come from,” Cavallo stated in his Instagram post.

Melbourne Victory released a club statement in response to the situation in which they promise to ban spectators for this kind of behaviour.

“Melbourne Victory sees football as a platform to unite fans no matter what background. Spectators found to have breached these standards will be banned from future matches. The club is working with the League, Stadium and Adelaide United to investigate the matter further,” the statement reads.

The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) CEO Danny Townsend said in a statement on Monday: “The APL was shocked and saddened to hear reports of homophobic bullying at last night’s Melbourne Victory vs Adelaide United A-Leagues match, directed towards Josh Cavallo.

“Our players, staff and fans have the right to feel safe on and off the pitch.

“There is no place for bullying, harassment or abuse in Australian football and we have  zero tolerance for this harmful behaviour.

We are working with both clubs to investigate the incident and will issue sanctions to any people found to be involved.

“We fully support Josh Cavallo and want to ensure he can focus on his football performance, rather than on vile abuse. We will continue to concentrate our efforts on creating safe and welcoming A-Leagues for all.”

Australian A-League Ladder (number of matches played in brackets)

1-Melbourne Victory:  14 (7)

2-Macarthur FC:  13 (6)

3-Western United:  12 (6)

4-Central Coast:  9 (5)

5-Melbourne City:  9 (6)

6-Sydney FC:  8 (6)

7-Adelaide United:  7 (7)

8-Western Sydney:  6 (6)

9-Newcastle Jets:  5 (5)

10-Perth Glory:  4 (4)

11-Wellington Phoenix:  4 (6)

12-Brisbane Roar:  1 (4)


Round 10 fixtures currently scheduled at the time of publication (times AEDT)

Macarthur-Western United:  19.45, Fri 14 Jan

CC Mariners-Newcastle Jets:  17.05, Sat 15 Jan

Adelaide Utd-Melbourne City:  19.45, Sat 15 Jan

Sydney FC-Brisbane Roar:  19.45, Sat 15 Jan

WS Wanderers-Melbourne Victory:  18.45, Sun 16 Jan

Perth- Wellington (postponed)