A-League week 24 round-up

Brisbane Roar secured the Premier's Plate for the second time in four seasons thanks to a late goal from Luke Brattan.

Friday March 21: Adelaide United 3 - Sydney FC 1

Adelaide United thumped Sydney FC in the weekend's opening game to jump clear of the Sky Blues and into a finals position. The 3-1 result at the Coopers Stadium came thanks to goals from Fabio Ferreira, Cirio and Bruce Djite, the last of which restored a two-goal lead in the 88th minute. Matt Thompson's 74th minute goal for the visitors gave a flicker of hope but Sydney yielded Djite's late goal and succumbed on the road, falling to seventh place on goal difference. The Reds will skip across the ditch for a date with recently beaten down Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Sunday March 30. Sydney will try to get back into the finals at Melbourne Victory on Saturday March 29.

Saturday March 22: Newcastle Jets 5 - Wellington Phoenix 0

In a huge game at the margins of finals positions, Newcastle Jets humiliated Wellington Phoenix 5-0 at the Hunter Stadium on Saturday. Adam Taggart scored twice in the second half while Emile Heskey, Joel Griffiths and Michael Bridges also notched goals for the Jets. With a chance to make a move on the finals, the Phoenix were routed on a difficult pitch in Newcastle, bowing out of the game wondering if a top six spot will now be possible. For the Jets, all three points and major bump in goal difference push them clear of Sydney FC for the sixth and final postseason slot. With a game at Perth Glory on Sunday March 30, Newcastle can put some weight behind its finals bid. Wellington host Adelaide United on Sunday March 30 in what could be its last chance to reach toward the finals.

Saturday March 22: Brisbane Roar 1 - Melbourne Victory 0

Though it was the lowest scoring game of the round, Brisbane Roar's late 1-0 defeat of Melbourne Victory at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday presented the A-League with its regular season champion. For just the second time, and first since 2010/11, the Roar won the premiership, this time thanks to an injury-time winner from Luke Brattan. The 92nd minute stunner left Brisbane thirteen points clear of second place (though Western Sydney Wanderers brought the deficit back to ten points before the weekend was over), which was enough to claim the Premier's Plate in front of home fans. By losing out on even a single point, and coupled with Western Sydney's win on Sunday, the Victory drop to third place with three weeks left. The Roar have a quick turnaround and will host Melbourne Heart on Friday March 28. The Victory play the next night at AAMI Park against Sydney FC.

Sunday March 23: Melbourne Heart 1 - Central Coast Mariners 2

Orlando Engelaar scored from midfield but Melbourne Heart lost at home to Central Coast Mariners on Sunday. Seung-Yong Kim scored the equalizer in first half injury time before Bernie Ibini put in the match-winner in the 77th minute at AAMI Park. Though still mathematically possible, the surprise run from Heart after John Aloisi's ouster looks increasingly unlikely to yield a finals position. John van 't Schip's squad are seven points shy of sixth place with just three games left. The Mariners, meanwhile, are now level with Melbourne Victory on points and goal difference, and are only slotted in fourth place based on goals scored. Central Coast will welcome Western Sydney Wanderers to Gosford on Saturday March 29 with second place on the line. The Heart have a trip to Brisbane on Friday night to play the newly crowed premiership winners.

Sunday March 23: Western Sydney Wanderers 3 - Perth Glory 0

Western Sydney parlayed momentum from the Champions League into a rout of Perth Glory at Pirtek Stadium. Sunday's game saw Jerome Polenz score just before halftime and second half goals from Mark Bridge and Tomi Juric to seal the important victory for the visitors. Perth, who sit on the bottom rung of the A-League's ladder, were blanked for the second straight time against the Wanderers. The Glory will host Newcastle Jets on Sunday March 30 in a game that has little at stake for the home side except a spoilers role and the possibility of escaping the wooden spoon. Western Sydney travel to Central Coast Stadium for a huge game against the Mariners on Saturday March 29.

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