A-League Week 20 round-up

Darrian Traynor

Orlando Engelaar's goal gave Melbourne Heart a fourth straight win but Sydney FC were the weekend's biggest winners, jumping back up to fourth place.

Friday February 21: Central Coast Mariners 1 - Wellington Phoenix 4

Four second half goals for Wellington kept the Phoenix in the finals hunt.

Saturday February 22: Newcastle Jets 0 - Sydney FC 2

Sasa Ognenovski and Alessandro Del Piero scored second half goals to give Sydney FC a win against Newcastle Jets at the Hunter Stadium. The three points were hugely important for the Sky Blues, especially on the road, and lift them into fourth place. The Jets stay outside the finals positions and are now four points short of sixth place. Mark Birighitti prevented a heavier loss with several key saves but he could not deny Ognenovski's header from Del Piero's corner on the hour, nor the Sydney captain's 73rd minute penalty. Next up for Sydney is a trip to Central Coast Mariners on Saturday March 1. Newcastle will have the difficult task of getting back into contention with a trip to Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday March 2.

Saturday February 22: Melbourne Victory 4 - Adelaide United 3

After trailing twice by half-time, Melbourne Victory scored three times in the second half to defeat Adelaide United at AAMI Park, despite a hat-trick from Cirio. Guy Finkler scored the Victory's first two goals, equalizing Cirio's first two, before Archie Thompson and Kosta Barbarouses put Melbourne ahead for good by the 75th minute. Cirio completed his hat-trick in the 83rd minute but it was not enough to bring the Reds back to level terms. The six-pointer saw the Victory back into third place while Adelaide were passed by Sydney FC. The Victory will play mid-week against Guangzhou Evergrande in the Champions League before a Melbourne Derby on Saturday March 1 at AAMI Park. Adelaide return to action on Thursday February 27 in hosting Wellington Phoenix at the Coopers Stadium.

Saturday February 22: Perth Glory 0 - Western Sydney Wanderers 2

Western Sydney Wanderers won its last A-League game before its Champions League debut with a clean sheet in Western Australia. Mateo Poljak and Tomi Juric scored to give the Wanderers three points against Perth Glory at the nib Stadium and keep a distance of four points between Melbourne Victory for second place. The win was an impressive one for Western Sydney as Ante Covic, Shinji Ono and Jerome Polenz were absent due to injury and suspension and the club's attention could easily have been on Ulsan Hyundai, whom the Wanderers host on Wednesday February 26 in the Champions League group stage. Western Sydney don't play again in the A-League until Sunday March 2 when they host Newcastle Jets at Pirtek Stadium. Perth have to go to Brisbane Roar on Friday February 28 in the hopes of avoiding last place now that they are level on points with Melbourne Heart.

Sunday February 23: Melbourne Heart 1 - Brisbane Roar 0

John van 't Schip's Melbourne Heart won its fifth game from six and fourth straight thanks to Orlando Engelaar's goal just after the hour at AAMI Park. Heart followed up its 5-0 rout of Wellington Phoenix with an impressive win over the competition's top team, though they did need a last minute Patrick Kisnorbo tackle on Besart Berisha to earn all three points. Heart's renaissance thus continues into March with a suddenly huge Melbourne Derby coming on Saturday March 1. Though they cannot yet get into a finals position, Heart can give Victory troubles, particularly after the latter get just days between playing in the Champions League in China. Brisbane host slumping Perth Glory on Friday February 28 at Suncorp Stadium with an eye toward adding more to the current four-point difference between the top and second positions on the ladder.

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