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Published 10th March 2012


FourFourTwo - A-League

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Updated: 1 min 36 sec ago

A-League Preview: Wanderers welcome Mariners in semi-final

2 hours 13 min ago
Tony Popovics Wanderers reached the AFC Champions League knockout phase on Tuesday, marking another significant step in their two-year history. The Parramatta-based club finished top of the A-League in their inaugural season, but fell at the final hurdle as they tried to complete the double - losing the grand final to the Mariners. Their chance at finals redemption against the Gosford outfit has presented itself in a home semi-final against Phil Moss men, who are ripe for the picking. The Mariners saw their own Champions League hopes ended away at Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Wednesday, and will have to recover from the deflating loss quickly in order to be firing to take on the red-hot Wanderers. Western Sydney have won their past three in all competitions, including 2-0 and 5-0 wins in continental outings, and will be fresher for their week off prior to their five-goal thrashing of Guizhou Renhe. Popovics squad also have not had to travel for almost two weeks heading to the fixture, while the Mariners will only have about 48 hours back on Australian soil prior to kick-off. The Mariners defensive tendencies might hinder their cause too, with the Wanderers scoring four goals in the final 15 minutes against Guizhou in a rampant finish. The second semi-final on Sunday pits Premiers Plate winners Brisbane Roar against Melbourne Victory. Mike Mulveys men have had the benefit of no Asian competition this campaign, and will enter the contest off a 15-day break. Conversely, Victory will have played four games in the time Roar have played one, and fatigue will certainly be on the mind of Victory coach Kevin Muscat. Despite their packed schedule, Victory have been in stellar form - unbeaten in five, albeit their 0-0 draw at Jeonbuk Motors spelled the end of their Asian campaign. Brisbane will head in favourites, though, as they have 3-0 and 1-0 wins over Victory so far in 2014.
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Bridges: Jets massively underachieved

12 hours 22 min ago
But he said the club’s season turned around with Clayton Zane’s appointment and the introduction of a new style of play. And he believes Newcastle could have done some damage had they reached the A-League finals. “We had a great run towards the end of season, we put a few games together,” Bridges said. “We gave ourselves a really good chance. But it was too little too late. If we had made finals we would have had a really good run. “Things really picked up and started to go right when Clayton came in. The way Clayton spoke to the players was a lot more simplified. “A lot more chances were created. The players wanted to break through a brick wall for him." Former Central Coast Mariners boss, Graham Arnold, will reportedly take the reins of the Jets early next week with support for Zane to be his No 2. The Jets finished in seventh place, two points off sixth-placed Adelaide United after recording 10 wins, six draws and 11 losses in the 2013-2014 campaign. It is the fourth season in a row that the Jets have missed the finals, with finishes of eighth, seventh and seventh since 2011. “We massively underachieved,” Bridges said. “The squad we had is sensational. Unfortunately due to injuries and the style of play it didn’t quite mix early on. “We just started to gel when (Joel) Griffiths and (David) Carney arrived. We all have to take a long hard look at ourselves. “We’re all to blame. We had a good blend of youth and experience. Griffiths and Carney made a huge, huge difference. It’s a bit disheartening.” Bridges made 13 appearances for Newcastle this season, scoring one goal and recording one assist. The former English Premier League star joined the Jets in 2009 and in total played 66 games and scored 12 goals for the Hunter club. Bridges last game of professional football was the Jets 2-0 win over Adelaide, after a 19-year career that started with Sunderland in 1995. The 35-year old said the decision to hang up the boots now was an easy one to make. “The time was right,” Bridges said. “I was ready for it. There’s more to life than football. I’ve had 20 great years. I didn’t want to go out on a low. I’m just pleased to be able to finish on a high after the past few results.” Bridges is currently finishing his B license and will stay involved with the Jets as coach of the club’s youth team and as a first-team assistant. He also does media work for Fox Sports and is part owner of a bar on Newcastle’s Darby Street. Although he recently passed his Australian citizenship test and plans to stay in Australia, he also harbours an ambition of one day managing his former club Leeds United. “I’ve found a home here in Newcastle,” he said. “(But) it’s a dream of mine to manage in the UK.”
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Central Coast Mariners bow out of AFC Champions League

13 hours 43 min ago
A red card to substitute Brent Griffiths and Tsukasa Shiotanis subsequent free-kick, deflected home by Satoru Yamagishi in the 72nd minute, cost Phil Moss and his team second place in Group F, with J-League champions Sanfrecce progressing as runners-up behind FC Seoul. It was a cruel finish to a valiant campaign for Central Coast who, had they held on for a draw, would have booked an intriguing round-of-16 tie against Western Sydney Wanderers, the team that awaits them in the A-League semi-finals on Saturday evening. A defensive-orientated Mariners, having packed the midfield and with Mile Sterjovski isolated up front, succeeded in frustrating their hosts throughout the first half at EDION Stadium. Sanfrecce enjoyed two of their better chances as early as the third minute, before the visitors had a chance to settle into the contest. The openings fell to Naoki Ishihara from close range and then Hyung-Jin Park on the rebound, with Liam Reddy equal to the task on both occasions. In the seventh minute Toshihiro Aoyama was set up by Ishiharis lay-off at the top of box and had Reddy at his mercy, but could only shoot over the bar. Six minutes later it was Ishiharis turn to pass up a presentable opportunity, heading a half chance harmlessly behind despite giving the slip to Mariners centre-backs Eddy Bosnar and Zach Anderson. The visitors first glimpse of goal came in the 14th minute through Sterjovski, who hooked an awkward shot wide after some good work by Kim Seung-Yong. It took until late in the half for either team to threaten again. On 40 minutes Yamagishi advanced into the penalty area, reached the byline and cut the ball back dangerously, with no team-mate able to get on the end of the inviting pass. Three minutes later Shiotani stung Reddys palms with a pile-driver of a free-kick from long range. Sanfrecce went close again on 55 minutes, Park playing a good ball in behind the Mariners defence and Ishihara dragging a shot wide of the far post. Two minutes later and a rare counterattack from the visitors ended with Kim firing wide of the target from range. The hosts stepped up their efforts after the hour mark, Takahagi forcing an excellent save out of Reddy from a free-kick on 64 minutes. Three minutes later and Sanfrecce wasted their best chance yet, substitute Koji Morisaki bursting into the area and shooting wide of the far post with Reddy beaten. The pressure finally told in the 70th minute, when Griffiths, on for Bosnar only moments earlier, felled Ishihara just outside the penalty area with the forward through on goal. The substitute was shown a straight red card for denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity and his team-mates were made to pay when Shiotanis free-kick was deflected off Yamagishi and into the back of the net. Moss sent on Mitch Duke in search of a late equaliser, but the away side proved unable to worry Sanfrecce, who will now tackle the Wanderers on May 7 and 14 for a place in the quarter-finals.
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Ten-man Mariners crash out of ACL

14 hours 23 min ago
A red card to substitute Brent Griffiths and Tsukasa Shiotani's subsequent free-kick, deflected home by Satoru Yamagishi in the 72nd minute, cost Phil Moss and his team second place in Group F, with J-League champions Sanfrecce progressing as runners-up behind FC Seoul. It was a cruel finish to a valiant campaign for Central Coast who, had they held on for a draw, would have booked an intriguing round-of-16 tie against Western Sydney Wanderers, the team that awaits them in the A-League semi-finals on Saturday evening. A defensive-orientated Mariners, having packed the midfield and with Mile Sterjovski isolated up front, succeeded in frustrating their hosts throughout the first half at EDION Stadium. Sanfrecce enjoyed two of their better chances as early as the third minute, before the visitors had a chance to settle into the contest. The openings fell to Naoki Ishihara from close range and then Hyung-Jin Park on the rebound, with Liam Reddy equal to the task on both occasions. In the seventh minute Toshihiro Aoyama was set up by Ishihari's lay-off at the top of box and had Reddy at his mercy, but could only shoot over the bar. Six minutes later it was Ishihari's turn to pass up a presentable opportunity, heading a half chance harmlessly behind despite giving the slip to Mariners centre-backs Eddy Bosnar and Zach Anderson. The visitors' first glimpse of goal came in the 14th minute through Sterjovski, who hooked an awkward shot wide after some good work by Kim Seung-Yong. It took until late in the half for either team to threaten again. On 40 minutes Yamagishi advanced into the penalty area, reached the byline and cut the ball back dangerously, with no team-mate able to get on the end of the inviting pass. Three minutes later Shiotani stung Reddy's palms with a pile-driver of a free-kick from long range. Sanfrecce went close again on 55 minutes, Park playing a good ball in behind the Mariners defence and Ishihara dragging a shot wide of the far post. Two minutes later and a rare counterattack from the visitors ended with Kim firing wide of the target from range. The hosts stepped up their efforts after the hour mark, Takahagi forcing an excellent save out of Reddy from a free-kick on 64 minutes. Three minutes later and Sanfrecce wasted their best chance yet, substitute Koji Morisaki bursting into the area and shooting wide of the far post with Reddy beaten. The pressure finally told in the 70th minute, when Griffiths, on for Bosnar only moments earlier, felled Ishihara just outside the penalty area with the forward through on goal. The substitute was shown a straight red card for denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity and his team-mates were made to pay when Shiotani's free-kick was deflected off Yamagishi and into the back of the net. Moss sent on Mitch Duke in search of a late equaliser, but the away side proved unable to worry Sanfrecce, who will now tackle the Wanderers on May 7 and 14 for a place in the quarter-finals.
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Farina sacked by Sydney FC

18 hours 43 min ago
The 49-year-old reportedly had a deal to remain in charge next season, despite it having previously been claimed that he needed to secure a spot in the top four to earn an extension. But his failure to do so, followed by last Fridays 2-1 elimination final defeat away to Melbourne Victory, has sealed the fate of the former Australia boss. The club issued a statement on Wednesday confirming they had moved to dismiss Farina. Frank joined us as coach in a difficult period last season and has always given his absolute dedication and commitment to the club, chairman Scott Barlow said. Frank has shown great integrity and resolve in what has been often challenging circumstances this year. I would like to pay tribute to Frank for his professionalism and wish him well for the future. Farina took over from Ian Crook in November 2012, but could only take Sydney to seventh in the table in 2012-13. Former Central Coast Mariners boss Graham Arnold, who is reportedly in talks with the Newcastle Jets, is also likely to be on Sydneys radar.
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Frank Farina axed by Sydney FC

20 hours 2 min ago
Farina paid the price for Sydney FC's fifth-place finish in the A-League and early finals exit, with the club opting to terminate his contract. The 49-year-old reportedly had a deal to remain in charge next season, despite it having previously been claimed that he needed to secure a spot in the top four to earn an extension. But his failure to do so, followed by last Friday's 2-1 elimination final defeat away to Melbourne Victory, has sealed the fate of the former Socceroos boss. The club issued a statement on Wednesday confirming they had moved to dismiss Farina. "Frank joined us as coach in a difficult period last season and has always given his absolute dedication and commitment to the club," chairman Scott Barlow said in a statement. "Frank has shown great integrity and resolve in what has been often challenging circumstances this year. "I would like to pay tribute to Frank for his professionalism and wish him well for the future." Farina took over from Ian Crook in November 2012, but could only take Sydney to seventh on the table in 2012-13. Former Central Coast Mariners boss Graham Arnold, who is reportedly in talks with the Newcastle Jets, is likely to be on Sydney's radar.
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Petkovic named Sydney FC Player of the Year

Wed, 23/04/2014 - 12:36
Petkovic, who joined the Sky Blues prior to the start of the season, played every minute of every match and made a number of crucial tackles, as he developed a trademark for marauding runs from the backline into the attacking third. The Serbian also laid on two assists for the Sky Blues, as he set up Corey Gameiro’s goal in Adelaide and Matt Jurman’s equaliser against the Western Sydney Wanderers in Sydney FC’s 3-1 Sydney Derby victory. Petkovic said he was "honoured" by the recognition as he looked forward to next season having already committed to Sydney FC for another two years. “It has been a good year for me and I’m looking forward to hopefully winning the Championship next year and qualifying for the Asian Champions League,” he said. The Golden Boot award for the second successive year, went to marquee man Alessandro Del Piero who notched 10 goals, including the first goal of the 2013/14 A-League season. While Iraqi International Ali Abbas claimed two awards during Tuesday night's red carpet event - the Players’ Player of the Year and Members’ Player of the Year. Head Coach Frank Farina praised Petkovic for an impressive season. “He has been consistent and has shown a lot of commitment to the squad, he is a model professional," Farina said. Westfield W-League Players’ Player of the Year for the 2013/14 season went to midfielder Nicola Bolger while the National Youth League Players’ Player of the Year was awarded to forward Christopher Naumoff. Championship-winning Youth League Head Coach Steve Corica picked up the Chairman’s Award for taking out the National Youth League title in a comprehensive season that saw the young Sky Blues embark on a 10-match unbeaten streak, finishing four points ahead of second place. Click on the links below to see pics by Getty Images.
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Popovic hails Wanderers ACL triumph

Wed, 23/04/2014 - 12:06
A 5-0 win over Chinese visitors Guizhou Renhe saw the Wanderers finish top of a group that also featured J.League powerhouse Kawasaki Frontale and former continental champs Ulsan Hyundai. We lost the first game at home, so to turn it around in that fashion and get first place is a great result for this club... It is a fantastic achievement, said Popovic. To win four of five games since the opening game is a credit to us. The belief was still there (after the first game). The Wanderers were rarely troubled by an injury-hit Guizhou but it wasnt until the final quarter-hour that the home side took the match by the scruff of the neck with a four-goal salvo. We lost our way a little bit, Popovic said of the failure to capitalise on Shannon Coles early opener. The decision making wasnt great, and we got a bit casual, got a bit complacent. Once we scored that second goal you could see the players relaxed. The ball movement was back and in the end it could have been anything. But maybe scoring an early goal makes the players complacent. In the end it was a professional performance. The Wanderers will now take on the runner-up in Group F where A-League rivals Central Coast Mariners are still in contention alongside FC Seoul, Beijing Guoan and Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Popovic remains unperturbed about next months opponent in the two-legged Round of 16. Whoever we play now we know that we are a chance, he said. We are learning how to control a game better, we are learning all the time with each match.
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Roar of entertainment awaits Victory

Wed, 23/04/2014 - 11:50
The Roar and Victory have clashed three times already this season, with the Victory winning the first encounter 1-0 and the Premier’s Plate winners taking the next two games 3-0 and 1-0. Both sides like to play attacking, possession-based football and have been influenced by former coach and now Socceroo boss Ange Postecoglou. “In my opinion since I’ve played at the Roar the games against Victory have consistently brought great encounters and I expect this one to be another,” Smith said. “I feel both teams play an attractive brand of football, so I expect it to be quite open.” Victory defeated Sydney FC 2-1 to progress and face the Roar after Gui Finkler’s late winner on the weekend, but are coming off Tuesday's 0-0 draw away to Jeonbuk Motors in Korea which say them bow out of the AFC Champions League. Smith said of the Victory- Sydney clash: “It was an entertaining game where both teams had their periods of play in the match. “It was end-to-end finals football and Gui took his chance to send Victory through. “Gui is in good form and playing well, he is one of a number of players playing well for Victory as the moment which will make the game a great contest and spectacle for the A-League and its fans. “It’s finals football, a one-off match and watching the games at the weekend has given me a buzz that I can’t wait to play next weekend.” Brisbane suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat to the Mariners in the last round of the regular season but Smith said his team has recovered from the loss and prepared well leading up to the Victory clash. “Although we lost we are relatively happy with our performances over the past three matches and with winning the league already,” the defender said. “All the players are fit and putting their hat in the ring to play. These are the games players want to play in.” Smith said the Roar won’t be changing their game-plan when they tackle the Victorian side at Suncorp Stadium. “I think we’ve proven both home or away this season that we will continue to play our style of football despite the strategies of other teams. “We are aware of their strengths and style, so will try our best to nullify them and implement our game as best we can. “It’s always nice playing at Suncorp and of course in front of our great home fans. Hopefully we can put in a good performance for them.”
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Melbourne Victory bow out of ACL

Wed, 23/04/2014 - 00:02
Only a win away from home would have sufficed for Kevin Muscat's undermanned team, who did brilliantly to deny their hosts at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium, but proved unable to mount a significant threat at the other end of the pitch. Defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande topped Group G on 10 points after beating Yokohama F Marinos 2-1 in China. Jeonbuk joined them in the round of 16 as runners up, having finished level with Victory on eight points but, crucially, with a goal difference one better than their Australian opponents. Winning in South Korea proved to be one step too far and a somewhat cruel end to an impressive campaign in Asia from Muscat's team, who are yet to progress from the group stage after four attempts in the competition. Their attention now turns to Sunday's A-League semi-final against premiers Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium. Victory, missing several players, went into the game very much the underdogs against a team sitting second in the K-League. But the visitors, despite enjoying plenty of possession, threatened only sporadically in the first half. Lee Seung-Ki was the first Jeonbuk player to truly test Nathan Coe with a shot from a central position just outside the penalty area after Jesse Makarounas gave away the ball in the 18th minute. Less than 60 seconds later Leonardo flashed a shot over the bar from close range, and a few minutes after that some good work by the Brazilian down the left flank led to Hyuk Jung slamming a shot high above Coe's goal. The last best chance of the opening half fell to Jung, whose shot from the edge of the area was parried behind by Coe after a clever Jeonbuk corner. Going in level at the break came at a price for the visitors, who lost Makarounas and Scott Galloway to injury in quick succession late in the half, to be replaced by Kosta Barbarouses and Jason Geria respectively. Jeonbuk had already been forced into a change of their own, with Gyo-Won Han coming on for Nam-Il Kim. Leonardo continued to be a threat early in the second term, getting in behind Geria to send a dangerous pass across the face of goal on 56 minutes, before testing Coe from range two minutes later. The task became harder still for Victory in the 69th minute, when Adrian Leijer succumbed to a foot problem, requiring Adama Traore to move across to the centre of defence and prompting the introduction of Dylan Murnane at left-back. Despite the disruptions, the away team continued to defend doggedly, denying Jeonbuk time and space and producing a number of desperate tackles to snuff out shooting opportunities. Their only real chance of the second half fell to veteran forward Archie Thompson, who, despite appearing to be in an off-side position, forced goalkeeper Soon-Tae Kwon to tip a toe-poked effort over the bar. Minutes earlier Jae-Myung Lee was perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty when he handled the ball inside the area, a soft free-kick having already been awarded in the defender's favour for a push from Barbarouses. Jeonbuk Motors 0 Melbourne Victory 0
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Wanderers storm into ACL knock-out stage

Tue, 22/04/2014 - 22:51
A flurry of late goals in the final 15 minutes added to Shannon Cole's early opener and, though the visitors provided some resistance, qualification for the home side was rarely in doubt. A youthful Guizhou side contained few first-team regulars with a lengthy list of notable absentees headed by the suspended duo of experienced Bosnia-Herzegovina international Zvjezdan Misimovic and Chinese veteran Sun Jihai. The equation was simple for the Wanderers, who needed just a point to progress while they could even advance if beaten, provided the other Group H match between Kawasaki Frontale and Ulsan Hyundai ended in stalemate. Any nerves felt by the home side were soon eased as Cole netted after just six minutes. Left fullback Antony Golec was allowed far too much latitude and his dribble into the penalty area ended with the ball reaching Cole, who guided a volley in off the post. However, the early portents proved deceptive and there were few gilt-edged openings in the first half for the home side, while for Guizhou there was little meaningful progress in attack until the half-hour mark when they won a succession of corners. There were shots from Labinot Haliti, and some dangerous moments from Kwabena Appiah, but the best chance of the opening half came from the visitors in the final minute as captain Qu Bo adroitly ran onto a ball before flashing his shot narrowly wide. The Wanderers had far more possession but struggled to truly assert their authority on the contest, and it wasn't until the midway point of the second half that the visiting goalkeeper was stretched, as Fan Yunlong pushed Tomi Juric's header over the crossbar. However, the Wanderers finally cracked the resistance with a four-goal flurry in the final quarter-hour. Haliti latched onto a wayward defensive pass to easily finish past an exposed Yunlong. Then substitute Aaron Mooy swept home from the penalty spot after the visitors were found guilty of an unnecessary push in the penalty area. The goal of the match went to Shinji Ono as the Wanderers crowd favourite hit the sweetest of shots into the roof of the net from the edge of the penalty area. There was still time for Nikolai Topor-Stanley to find the net with a close range finish as the Wanderers locked up first place in the group. In Japan, Kawasaki Frontale defeated Ulsan Hyundai 3-1 leaving the Japanese second behind the Wanderers. Western Sydney Wanderers 5 (Cole 6', Haliti 75', Mooy 81' pen, Ono 85', Topor-Stanley 88') Guizhou Renhe 0
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Lowe: Glory brave to appoint me

Tue, 22/04/2014 - 20:12
Glory confirmed the appointment of the 52-year-old Englishman at Tuesday’s press conference, which came as a surprise to many, including Lowe himself, after the club shortlisted two foreign coaches and enquired about Graham Arnold's availability. The decision came after Lowe managed only four wins and four draws from 17 games having taken over from Alistair Edwards in December, also overseeing a poor 10-game winless run amid talk of player unrest. “I heard Frank Farina say it’s not a popularity contest. It isn’t,” Lowe said. “There will be people who are happy and there will be people who are sad. When Sir Alex Ferguson was at Manchester United, there were people that were happy and people who were sad. It’s football. “There’s only two things I can guarantee will happen while I’m at this club, one is I’ll get criticism, two is I’ll get the sack. I hope that’s a long way down the road.” Remarkably, Lowe admitted he was surprised to get the nod, after Glory’s global search which saw the club receive more than 50 applications from Brazil to Spain. “I’m surprised. I’m not high profile, but I’ve got qualities which will allow me to do well,” Lowe said. “We’re unfortunate enough to have gone through a difficult time which will hold me in good stead.” Lowe added: “I think it’s brave of them to give me the job. Now it’s down to me to be brave to do what I need to do.” Glory CEO Jason Brewer said it would have been easier for the club to appoint a foreign coach, but felt Lowe could lay the foundations to bring stability and long-term success. “Never at any time did we want a band-aid solution,” Brewer said. “It would have been an easier decision to bring in a high-profile European coach. “No doubt, people would have looked at that with words of support. It’s not about immediate success, it’s about getting the foundations right.” On the club’s global search which ultimately landed Glory a coach on their door-step, Brewer added: “We can’t go on as a club making the mistakes we’ve made in the past. “We’ve got to learn from situations we’ve been in. It was a thorough process. “We had well over 50 applicants, we used an external group, ex-players and it was well publicised we used TV pundits as well.” The new Glory boss insisted he would aim to improve the squad, promising to play an expansive and entertaining style, although he was coy on the futures of out-of-contracts veteran Shane Smeltz, Steve McGarry and William Gallas. “You’ve got to get footballers. That’s the type of coach I am,” he said. “I like guys who can play the game. We need to be energetic, competitive, quick ball-playing side.” Brewer added expectations needed to be moderated under Lowe after 2013-14’s eighth-place finish. “It’s about taking it one step at a time, not rush in and raise the expectation that we’ll be title contenders next year,” Brewer said. “We’ve got to be realistic, we’re coming from a low point at the moment and we need to take a steady rise.”
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Passionate Lowe appointed Glory coach

Tue, 22/04/2014 - 18:24
The 52-year-old Englishman won the race for the position after taking over as interim coach following the sacking of Alistair Edwards in December. Lowe only managed four wins in 17 matches in charge, including a dismal 10-game winless run. He eventually steered Glory to eighth spot with two wins in their final three games. During his time as interim coach there was talk of player unrest, with William Gallas and assistant coach Andy Ord involved in a heated incident after a 2-0 home loss to Western Sydney Wanderers. However, CEO Jason Brewer said Lowe was the right man to continue the club's youth focus. “Kenny Lowe is the best fit for this club in terms delivering on the club's strategy and achieving success for all involved and associated with the club, both on and off the pitch.” Brewer said today. “He is one of the most qualified coaches in the country, with his AFC Pro License, and he is by far the best youth development coach in Australia, nobody knows the talent that we have in this state better than Kenny Lowe. “Kenny’s appointment comes after an extremely focused and intense process and I’m positive that we have made the right choice. Brewer said Lowe was by far the most prepared for the job of all the candidates. “When he first came in as interim head coach, he already had analysed every game overthe past two seasons, he already knew which players he thought the squad needed and he already had an idea on what type of improvements the footballing department needed to ensure long-term success. “Another key point of difference with Kenny is that he’s passionate. “We hadcandidates that matched Kenny’s talent, but none matched his passion, and I believe that is what we need more of in this club. Every player, coach, admin member and volunteer must match the passion of the supporters and members for this club to be great again. That’s what we need to pride ourselves on.” Lowe’s appointment is the first change of many planned for the club’s football department during the off-season, with a number of key changes to me made in areas such as strength and conditioning, player requitement, coaching recruitment, player rights and player welfare as well as strengthening the current medical department. In February, Brewer confirmed to FourFourTwo the club had begun a global search for Edwards’ permanent replacement. “We are running a formal six-step process with a specialist sports recruitment group who have offices throughout the world and experience in football making all sorts of appointments,” Brewer told FourFourTwo at the time. “We’re accountable to people so we’ve got to make sure we’ve got the candidates. The right candidate may well be Kenny Lowe, he ticks a lot of boxes. “Irrespective of results, some of the things he’s been doing off the pitch, in the change-rooms and on the training ground, have been exactly what we wanted to see. He’s also identified some of the shortfalls in the football department so he’s adding a lot of value.” Brewer also confirmed to FourFourTwo last week they had made enquiries about Graham Arnold’s availability following his sacking in Japan but he reportedly has ruled himself out."
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Lowe poised for Glory job

Tue, 22/04/2014 - 17:26
Glory will make a ‘major coaching announcement’ at 5pm AEST today, with all indications the 52-year-old Englishman has won the race for the position. Lowe took over as interim coach following Alistair Edwards’ sacking in December, but only managed four wins in 17 matches in charge. The caretaker’s reign included a dismal 10-game winless run which initiated fears of the club’s first-ever wooden spoon, before he steered them into eighth spot with two wins in their final three games. There was also talk of player unrest under Lowe, with William Gallas and assistant coach Andy Ord involved in a heated incident after the dismal 2-0 home loss to Western Sydney Wanderers. In February, Glory CEO Jason Brewer confirmed to FourFourTwo the club had begun a global search for Edwards’ permanent replacement. “We are running a formal six-step process with a specialist sports recruitment group who have offices throughout the world and experience in football making all sorts of appointments,” Brewer told FourFourTwo at the time. “We’re accountable to people so we’ve got to make sure we’ve got the candidates. The right candidate may well be Kenny Lowe, he ticks a lot of boxes. “Irrespective of results, some of the things he’s been doing off the pitch, in the change-rooms and on the training ground, have been exactly what we wanted to see. He’s also identified some of the shortfalls in the football department so he’s adding a lot of value.” Brewer also confirmed to FourFourTwo last week they had made enquiries about Graham Arnold’s availability following his sacking in Japan but he reportedly has ruled himself out. More to follow.
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Pics: Brisbane Roar training

Tue, 22/04/2014 - 13:23
Two time Premiers (2010-11 and 2013-14) and twice Champions (2011 and 2012) Roar will be hoping that Sunday brings them one step closer to more silerware. To lift another trophy the Queensland club will first have to get past Melbourne Victory in a sudden death semi-final at Suncorp Stadium, after Kevin Muscat's men saw-off fellow finalists Sydney FC. Click on the links below to see the pics by Getty Images.
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ACL preview: Western Sydney Wanderers v Guizhou Renhe

Tue, 22/04/2014 - 10:30
Head-to-head: Played: 1, Wins: Wanderers 1, Guizhou 0, Draws: 0 Previous encounter: Guizhou 0-1 Wanderers, March 12 2014 Form: Past five matches: Wanderers: WWDLL Guizhou: WLLLW The Game: A point against Guizhou Renhe would guarantee Group H leaders Western Sydney a place in the AFC Champions League last 16. Tony Popovic's men enjoyed the weekend off, having finished second in the A-League to be straight through to the semi-finals. Guizhou are playing for pride and cannot qualify, but ended a three-game losing run in all competitions with a 2-1 win at Henan Jianye on Friday. With the head-to-head record unable to separate the Wanderers and second-placed Kawasaki Frontale, overall goal difference would be used if Popovic's side lose and Ulsan beat the J.League side. At +1, the Wanderers are a goal better off heading into the final matchday. The big issue: Wanderers – Western Sydney would undoubtedly have been grateful for the rest on the weekend, but Popovic still has decisions to make with a clash against Central Coast awaiting on Saturday. He has rotated his squad throughout both the domestic and continental campaigns, so expect more of the same. The Wanderers' planning has been meticulous and they have utilised the strength of depth at their disposal. Guizhou – with little to play for and more important matters coming up in the Chinese Super League, questions remain over just what Lei Gong does with his team. He has nothing to gain by bringing the likes of Bosnian number 10 Zvjezdan Misimovic to Australia ahead of a winnable league game at Changchun Yatai on Saturday. They were largely unable to trouble in the Wanderers in a 1-0 loss earlier in the campaign, and there is little reason to expect otherwise this time around. The game breaker: Shinji Ono – the 34-year-old former Japan international remains a key player for the Wanderers, and his ability to make a serious impact in the attacking third could be decisive. Just how big a role he plays ahead of an A-League semi-final is unknown, but Ono – even if only off the bench – can split defences and set up team-mates. Guizhou must deny the masterful midfielder space or he will hurt them. Prediction: Wanderers 2-0 Guizhou While Popovic's men have plenty to play for and are fresh, Guizhou are the complete opposite. A point would do and Western Sydney would settle for a draw, but they are likely to have enough possession to do some damage in the attacking third. The Wanderers have made flying starts in almost all of their Champions League games so far, and another would put them a long way towards the knockout stages. With the likes of Ono, Tomi Juric and Mark Bridge potentially in attack, they can afford to ignore the other game in the group and should be good enough to claim all three points at home, regardless of who Popovic starts with.
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ACL preview: Jeonbuk Motors v Melbourne Victory

Tue, 22/04/2014 - 10:20
Head-to-head: Played: 1, Wins: Victory 0, Jeonbuk 0, Draws: 1 Previous encounter: Victory 2-2 Jeonbuk, March 12 2014 Form: Past five matches (in all competitions): Victory: WWWDL Jeonbuk: WLWLD The Game: Group G is poised fascinatingly going into the final matchday. All four teams are on seven points each, with Melbourne Victory sitting third due to their goal difference of zero. Guangzhou Evergrande and Jeonbuk are first and second respectively, both with a goal difference of plus one. Yokohama F Marinos, on negative two, are fourth. The equation is simple for Victory - win the game in Korea and advance to the round of 16, regardless of the result in the other match between Evergrande and Marinos in China. The big issue: Jeonbuk – The hosts must be wary of Victory's pace in attack, particularly on the counter, which was how Kevin Muscat's team equalised through Kosta Barbarouses late in the teams' first meeting at Etihad Stadium in March. A Jeonbuk defence which includes former Central Coast Mariner Alex Wilkinson may have to drop deep to prevent Victory's pacy forwards getting in behind and to discourage the visitors from playing quick balls over the top. Victory – The biggest challenge for Muscat and his coaches in recent weeks but more important now than ever is team selection. Inspirational captain Mark Milligan is suspended for this game, while Guilherme Finkler, the match-winner in Friday's elimination final against Sydney FC, is ineligible. James Troisi and Barbarouses played their third game in seven days against the Sky Blues and could be rested on Tuesday, with Connor Pain, Andrew Nabbout and Jesse Makarounas all likely to come into the starting XI. Archie Thompson should back up from Friday's game and play again, having missed the 2-0 win at home to Evergrande last Tuesday due to a family bereavement. The game breaker: Having been dropped earlier this season, goalkeeper Nathan Coe has been in brilliant form since returning to the Victory starting XI, and produced some crucial saves to deny both Evergrande and Sydney in the last two games. Victory are likely to find themselves under pressure in such a vital game away from home, and the last line of defence may well be tested extensively again. More heroics may be required for the club's Asian adventure to continue. Prediction: Jeonbuk 2-1 Victory Muscat's side have defied expectations to still be alive in the ACL while also progressing in the A-League finals, but their excessive workload may finally catch up with them against a team sitting second in the K-League and still fresh at the start of their season. Victory's less experienced players were unable to handle Marinos away from home on matchday four and, unfortunately, we're tipping them for a painful stumble at the final hurdle of the group stage.
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Roux: Mariners braced for perfect Storm

Mon, 21/04/2014 - 17:10
But Central Coast fullback Storm Roux is confident they can get the job done. The Mariners edged Adelaide United 1-0 at home on the weekend to book a finals meeting with the Wanderers in Parramatta on Saturday. Just three days earlier they travel to Japan to play Sanfrecce in their final Asian Champions League Group F tie. A win over the Japanese side will book them a place in the next round. Roux played the full 90 minutes against the Reds in a heated encounter at Central Coast Stadium, where Bernie Ibini’s second-half strike proved the difference. “They are a tough team,” the 21-year-old said. “They are very good at keeping the ball. To get the win is a great feeling. We were under the pump a bit at the end, but I think that’s going to happen when you want to keep the lead and they keep pushing. “Now hopefully we do the same in Japan and come back ready for Western Sydney.” The Mariners suffered a setback to their champions league campaign last week when an injury-time own goal by John Hutchinson gave FC Seoul a late 1-0 win. But the Gosford outfit have been in good form in recent weeks and Roux - who joined the club last year from Perth Glory and has made 23 appearances this season - believes they can bounce back. “Yeah of course it was disappointing,” the Kiwi international said. “We can take a lot of confidence out of our recent performances and we know we have to deliver against Western Sydney. “Personally, it’s been a great season for me. My goal was to get as many games under my belt as possible and I’ve done that.” Roux has played in four Asian Champions League matches and said the Mariners are very motivated to go through to the next round. “It’s massive, we need a win over there (in Japan),” he said. “To come this close in getting to the next round, the boys really want it. “Of course it’s always going to be tough with the travel, so we do everything we can to recover properly and be ready for each game.”
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Rooney on verge of I-League title triumph

Mon, 21/04/2014 - 12:44
The club leads the competition - one point ahead of rivals East Bengal and with just two matches remaining. A win against Dempo SC on Monday will clinch the title, an impressive feat considering the club was only formed last year. It has been a successful season for Rooney who is keen to extend his stay on the subcontinent. The former Newcastle Jets forward, who joined Bengaluru in August 2013, said the team was positive heading into the clash against Dempo. “We’re confident, we’ve been playing well lately” the 25-year-old said. “We know it’s going to be a good battle because Dempo are a good, strong squad with a lot of good players. I’m sure if we play to our ability we’ll get the result.” Monday’s match will pit Aussie against Aussie with Melbourne-born Arthur Papas coaching a Dempo squad including Simon Colosimo and Tolgay Ozbey. Rooney, in his second stint in India after a short spell with Salgaocar in 2012, scored Bengaluru’s first-ever goal in the I-League last September. “When I first came here there were no expectations of finishing in the top half,” he said. “It was just get out there, get some good results for the club and that. What we’ve done is a big achievement.” Rooney has scored nine goals in 20 appearances for the Bangalore-based side, which has won 12, drawn five and lost five of its matches. “I’ve done well, I’ve had a decent season personally-wise,” he added. A Blacktown City junior, Rooney played for Sydney FC’s youth team before joining the Jets in 2008. He made 29 appearances and scored three goals for the Jets over a three-year period, before being released in 2011, and is now keen to extend his stay in the I-League. “I’m not 100% sure what’s going on but hopefully I’ll stay on, I’ve enjoyed my time here,” he said. In-form Rooney has been injury-free of late admits another crack at the A-League does appeal. “I’d obviously love to go back and play in the A-League,” Rooney said. “I had a pretty injury-filled run when I was there. Touch wood I have been good with injuries and I have played a lot of games in a row. “Pretty much after I had my knee reconstruction at Newcastle I haven’t stopped playing. “I’ve been to Indonesia, back to Blacktown, then to India, back to Blacktown and India again. I’ve had a good run of games without any injuries.” * Bengaluru FC clinched the I-League title in their debut season courtesy of a 4-2 away win over Dempo Sports Club. Rooney got them off to a dream start, scoring in the second minute.
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Moss slams finals schedule

Sun, 20/04/2014 - 00:36
A Bernie Ibini goal with 23 minutes left on the clock was the lone strike in an entertaining match which saw Adelaide dominate possession but also saw the Mariners with enjoy their own moments of positivity in attack before they got the result to put them 90 minutes away from back-to-back grand final appearances. The Mariners now face a short turnaround before they play Sanfrecce Hiroshima on Wednesday in the AFC Champions League prior to meeting the Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday in Parramatta. A diabolical travel diary, coupled with the fact the club could not get the best available flights, will result in the A-Leagues reigning title-holders side travelling for almost three days in total over the course of the next week before arriving in Sydney barely 24 hours before their semi-final against the Western Sydney Wanderers. Obviously not happy, said Moss, whose side will not get to Hiroshima until Monday morning following a flight to Tokyo on Sunday and an overnight stay. I think these things need to be thought through more for two reasons, player welfare and the product, I think both those things are put in jeopardy when you have to get off an overnight flight from Asia and you dont have time for a session and you have to back up and play a grand final qualifier the next day (Saturday.) Moss conceded he has been given an explanation, even if he is not happy with it. Damien de Bohun (A-league boss) has been great he has given me his time this week, we have talked it through. He has given me the reasons, I still think its avoidable and its something that has to be seriously looked at for the future because the ACL has taken Australian football ahead in leaps and bounds. We have to respect that competition but we have to respect the (A-League) teams that are in it and give them every chance of been successful in both competitions. A 24 hour turnaround from flying in from an overnight fight to playing in a grand final qualifier is not acceptable. Damien said to me it was ground availability so Pirtek Stadium must have a rugby league game on the Sunday, but Ive heard whispers in the corridors that there is no game of rugby league on Sunday so I dont know, you would have to ask the decision makers. The Parramatta Eels NRL side, the other tenants of the Wanderers home ground, dont have a game on Sunday making the move all the more puzzling with rumours circulating that is was a Brisbane Roar request to play on Sunday which bumped the grand final replay to the Saturday timeslot. Aside from the scheduling controversy a proud Moss was happy with the tactical adjustments his side has made over recent weeks and was also pleased with how his game plan forced Adelaide into changes. Our principles of our defensive structure havent changed at all, its just at times Monty (Nick Montgomery) defends a little bit deeper, said Moss of the Mariners back five of recent weeks. I thought Monty was again outstanding tonight, his experience really shone through and the way he lead the team was magnificent. But at times tonight when they changed their tactics and played with no out-and-out number nine we have to change and having that adaptability and flexibility is testament to our players. A pleased Moss noted. When a team like Adelaide comes to Gosford and changes their tactical plan for the first time this season I think it shows how much respect our squad has got amongst the league. For Josep (Gombau) to come here and feel that he had to do that is a massive complement to our team. Moss confirmed the Mariners will travel with 18 players to Japan for the Sanfrecce Hiroshima match with Matt Simon and Montgomery unavailable due to suspension whilst Marcel Seip and Tom Slater are out injured.
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