Soccer: Plate and play-off places still up for grabs

By Terry Maddaford

Brisbane, the defending champions, are also in that four-team battle but know a win will be enough to cement their play-off berth. Photo / NZPA
Brisbane, the defending champions, are also in that four-team battle but know a win will be enough to cement their play-off berth. Photo / NZPA

Four into two won't go as two teams will find out when the last round of the A-League season plays out over Easter. The Premiers Plate is still up for grabs as are the last two places in the six-team play-offs.

Western Sydney Wanderers blew their chance of taking the plate - the symbol of supremacy after the 27 rounds of the regular season - when they were held 1-1 at home by Sydney FC in the penultimate round.

In a game in which nine yellow cards and one red were flashed, the Wanderers fought back from a goal down to snatch a point but in not claiming all three the Parramatta-based club missed their chance to claim the silverware.

Wanderers do, however, have the advantage going into the last round. They lead Central Coast Mariners by three points but with an inferior goal difference still need a point from their Good Friday clash with Newcastle Jets to claim the honours.

In previous clashes in their debut season with the Jets, and with both games played at home, Western Sydney lost 1-2 in round six and won by the same score in round 20.

As one of the four teams chasing the last two play-off spots, Newcastle will be keen to make the most of their home advantage and hope other results go their way. Sydney FC are another in that play-off mix. They play Brisbane Roar away on Thursday night. Sydney will be without red-carded captain Brett Emerton.

Brisbane, the defending champions, are also in that four-team battle but know a win will be enough to cement their play-off berth.

Perth Glory, upset 3-2 away winners against Melbourne Victory in their penultimate outing, are the smoky in the play-off race.

They have home advantage against Adelaide United who, despite being upset 0-2 at home by Central Coast, are assured of either third or fourth place.

Perth will be taking a close watch on All Whites striker Shane Smeltz' recovery after having 18 stitches in a facial wound. after a shocking incident in their win over New Caledonia in Dunedin.

The only interest for the Phoenix in their home game against the Victory will be in Jeremy Brockie's bid to claim the golden boot. He is one behind the Mariners' Daniel McBreen. Marco Rojas is a goal back in third.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a4 at 19 Apr 2014 22:42:14 Processing Time: 498ms