Wha..? Another goal…? OK, who’s winning now? Whatever your opinion on first-past-the-post v finals, that was a fantastic weekend of football.
OK. Right. Wha..? Another…? But I thought..? So who-s winning now? Whatever your opinion on first-past-the-post v finals, you can-t deny that was a fantastic weekend of football.
Saturday night in Perth brought the best out of both sides. Given the distance and their recent form, the advantage always looked to be with Perth Glory but Wellington certainly did their best to chuck all that football logic out the window.
Phoenix were arguable the better side in regulation time; they played with confidence and a belief that they could always go one better than their hosts.
Phoenix-s goals were full of class and swagger – Brown-s chest down to Greenacre and Muscat-s anti-fullback finish to put them in front.
Perhaps the one area that let them down, surprisingly, was in attack where Paul Ifill was given little space to create any real chances. He said as much at the end of the game but Glory were so quick to close the Phoenix striker down that their main attacking outlet was nullified.
That left Perth free to probe Wellington-s weaker areas, and the fresh legs of Scott Neville and Todd Howarth did just that, with Ben Sigmund off injured. After Smeltz-s creativity put Mehmet in – with a clean finish – the momentum swung Glory-s way, as the home side looked the faster finishers.
It seemed likely that Smeltz would be the one to inflict the pain on his former club, but Howarth rode that “this is our moment” belief that Glory developed in the latter stages of the season – and it could actually be enough to take them to a debut Hyundai A-League grand final.
Glory just have that look about them now, that they could just ride that wave all the way. That energy certainly does affect football teams on occasion – see Liverpool-s 2005 Champions League run – is the force now with Glory?
Not if Brisbane Roar or Central Coast have anything to do with it. If all second legs were so powerful we-d be walking in circles.
Roar go in front with a brilliant Broich free-kick/dodgy offside decision. Nichols finishes off a typical move with a smart finish and plays air guitar on the hoardings.
Then Zwaanswijk cuts the grass with a low-flying missile. Kwasnik places it into the far corner to send the Gosford crowd into impossible dreams.
Leave it to Henrique to burst their bubble yet again, but that didn-t stop the neutrals watching believing that this match might just go into that realm that only football can reach, that immediate unpredictability that the AFL and NRL can never match.
It-s easy to feel fatigued at the end of a season. Maybe your team didn-t make it, maybe you-ve got a grudge against one of the teams that did, or maybe your brain-s just had too much football in the last six or seven months.
But this weekend of finals football was like a defibrillator straight to the brain-s sporting cortex (it must exist – where else could you store all that utterly useless information?).
It was the round-ball equivalent of Twenty20. If end-to-end, consistently positive, attacking football that delivered 10 goals in just two games didn-t get you going, you must be clinically dead (or the sports editor on a major daily newspaper…).
And the best part? There-s still two more weeks to go.